A company’s digital presence should be one that provides a wonderful user experience. Beautiful design, creative content, and easy navigation are key, but none of this means anything if potential customers or clients can’t find you online. An effective keyword strategy is vital if you want to have a successful business; all of the investment you’ve put into your digital presence will be for naught if people don’t know you exist.

Search engine optimization (SEO) and keyword strategies may seem like those daunting math problems you had to tackle in high school, but once you know certain tricks you’ll get the hang of it in no time. Below are three known and effective tools of the trade to get you started with optimizing your keyword strategy.

3 Tips for developing a Keyword Stratgey

1. Do your keyword research

Brands often make the mistake of choosing keywords based on how they see themselves instead of how the customer sees them. It’s time to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, specifically your client base. If you were a customer looking for the services and goods your company provides, what words would you type into a search engine in order to find them?

Test keywords and phrases and analyze the results. Are the sites that come up similar to yours? Or are they way off the mark? If your keyword searches aren’t bringing up results that relate to your company or products, keep modifying them.

It’s also a good idea to see what keywords and phrases your competitors are using. Look for words and phrases that are repeated in headlines, page titles, and within the first paragraphs of articles and blog posts. If there are keywords that stand out and seem efficient, these are a good start for building your own keyword strategy.

2. Avoid vanity and single words

A good rule of thumb is to build your keywords and phrases around what makes your company special. You don’t just sell ice cream, you sell “local organic small batch ice cream.”

People tend to search for phrases instead of words, so don’t expect the focus word of your company to be able to stand alone. If your company sells ice cream, simply peppering your site with the word “ice cream” is not going to help you show up in search engine results.

Unless your site is already ranking in the top Google search results, using single and vanity words is not a very good keyword strategy. All of your competitors and companies that are within your field will have vanity words on their website.

Vanity keywords are terms that are highly searched and you’d love to rank for, but are either too broad, don’t convert, or already locked-in by websites with big authority. If the keyword that represents your company is something like “ice cream,” chances are Wikipedia and Yelp have already nabbed the top spots on the search engine results page (SERP) and you’ll need to step it up a bit to make your website stand out.

3. Be consistent

Choose your theme and stay within it. Even if some of your blog content contains broader topics, find ways to weave in your keywords and phrases.

Consistency also means integrating your top keyword phrases into all areas of your website and social media pages. Your main headlines, subheadlines, URLs, and content (especially the first paragraphs) should contain your most relevant keyword phrases. Of course, this is why it is important to have a handful of keywords and not just one; how boring would your site be if it just said “ice cream” everywhere?

Google and other search engines also weed out spam sites, which is another reason to be consistent and yet diverse.

Once you have your strategy in place, have fun with it! Content does not have to be boring. Remember, your bottom line is user experience so that you can convert people into paying customers. It’s not enough for people to find your site — they have to find it and like it, too.

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