“Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.”
– from the Google webmaster guidelines 1
How words affect your webpage ranking
This deceptively simple sounding guideline has two parts. Both parts have enormous impact on how people will find your website and how your website will rank in search engines.
Let’s examine this guideline in detail…
“Think of the words users will type to find your pages”
Think of words users would type to find your pages –
This is referring to what is commonly called “key words”. It is important to think of them because an understanding of what words people use to find the information or
services your website offers will also help you clearly and accurately describe your site.
Well let’s start with a simple example. It is very easy to know what words people will use to search for your services if you are a hotel in Chicago.
Most people who looking for a hotel in Chicago will use the words “Chicago” and “hotel”. They might type into a search engine the phrase “Chicago hotels” or “hotels in
Chicago” or “cheap hotel in Chicago” or “hotel near the airport in Chicago”.
Each of those examples include the two words “hotel” and “Chicago”. When the manager of a hotel in Chicago is thinking about “the words users will type to find” their
hotel website, the words “Chicago” and “hotel” should be high on their list.
“Make sure that your site actually includes those words within it”
The website of a hotel in Chicago should have the words “hotel” and Chicago” in it. This may seem like common sense, but businesses very often do not have important
words on their websites.
Imagine that the hotel in Chicago prides itself on how hip and modern it is. To represent this “hipness” the webmaster creates an ultra modern and minimalist home page
that is very slick and streamlined. There is just a photo of their lobby and their clever looking logo. At the bottom of their home page it states – “The hip and cool
place to stay downtown”.
In the above example, there is no text that a search engine would use to knw that the webpage was describing a hotel in Chicago! A search for “chicago hotels”
may not include that website in its results.
To ensure that website is found for search terms like “hotel” and Chicago” they must add those words to the site.
If they changed the text from – “The hip and cool place to stay downtown” to “The hip hotel of downtown Chicago” then it
would improve it’s rankings for the keywords “chicago” and “hotel”.
Business name and address
One very common example of this is when a business uses their name only in images such as the logo. Often a business name and address are found in an image rather than text.
It is not uncommon to find a small business website that never once uses their business name in text anywhere on the site.
You should check your site for this.
- The main way a search engine determines what a website is about is the words used within it.
How to determine if your website is following this guideline
To get an idea of what words a search engine is seeing to judge your site use our seo
tool which will show you not just the words of your website, but also the amount of times key words are used and their percentage of your page text.
If you notice (using the Chicago hotel example) that you do not use “Chicago” and “hotel” many times on your page you may consider finding more opportunities to use
those words. Instead of saying “our hotel is super” say “our hotel is the best in Chicago”. It is important however that you keep the language of your website natural.
There is no need for a webmaster to repeat the words over and over or to create a un-natural sounding paragraph.
Does the website use key words in the text?
If you sell shoes in Toledo are the words “shoes” and “Toledo” used on your site? Check, you might be surprised by what you