When designing and building a website they’re many items you should take into consideration, aside from the basic structure and usability. One fundamental that strongly needs to be considered is the use of keyword rich keywords throughout the website both in the actual copy of the website and in the Meta data. The more relevant the keywords are to your website, the better your natural (free) search results will be from the search engines like Google and Yahoo and the higher your conversion rate will be.
Keyword research is finding the keywords that people are using to find websites and then incorporating that information into your website (via the actual content on the site and the meta data), so the “spiders” pick you up. Free tools, like the Google Keyword Tool are a great way to start to see what keywords people are putting in to get results and find what they are looking for.
But there is a catch (Isn’t there always). The more generic a term, the more competition you are going to have. For example let’s say your website is selling hats. The keyword “hats” came up with 68.2 million search results indexed when you typed it into Google. So if you target the keyword “hats” you will most likely have a tremendously hard time getting found.
Here is a solution. Target keywords which are more long tailed and not as highly competitive. Let’s assume that your website is selling “Yankees World Series Champion Hats”. Maybe you even have a specific page on your website dedicated to just that. When you type that into Google there are only 496,000 pages found and indexed. Still a big number, but not 68.2 million like the results you get when you search for just “hats”. Now this is a good keyword to optimize for, since it has a higher relevance, and more likely have a higher conversion rate.
This is called a “long tail keyword”, where instead of using 1-2 word phrases when optimizing your website, you use longer, 3+ word keywords. This will put you in a niche market and will most likely increase your conversion rate as you are now drilling down on a more specific product you have to offer and will in turn get a more specific target audience. Everyone may sell hats, but not as many of them sell Yankees World Series Champion Hats. This is where you become valuable to the search engines as they now consider you an asset to the user’s overall experience.
Keyword research and using long tail keywords for optimizing your website will not generate traffic overnight, but can be extremely effective in building up your traffic and ranking over time, which can in turn lower your bounce rate and increase your conversion rate.