When someone wants to find something on Google (or on some other search engine), they type a word or a phrase into the search engine and they get a list of websites that the search engine feels is relevant to that word or phrase.
For example, I’ve searched “Orlando real estate agent” to get a list of real estate agents in and around Orlando.
Websites don’t just appear by magic in those search results.
Search engines scan all websites to know what each website is about. Then the search engine files the site appropriately so that it only appears in search results when specific words or phrases are typed in. A website about Orlando real estate professionals should appear when someone searches with words relating to Orlando and to real estate agents. Search engines call these words and phrases “keywords“.
Search engines just use robots to scan websites, not real people. So these robots just look at all the lines of code that make up your site and they make their best robotic guess about what your website is talking about. They might do a pretty good job but they might not file you exactly where you want your site to show up.
For example, if people are Googling a phrase like “Buy a home in Orlando”, and you want your website to show up when someone searches that phrase, you need to build your website in such a way that it tells the search engine robots that your site is all about that phrase.
If you haven’t used the right combination of words, the robots won’t understand where to file your site. You need to be specific about the keywords that you want your website to be searchable for or your site will end up appearing lower down in searches or for completely different phrases.
Example: Let’s say that you are a real estate agent in the nice, friendly town of Sunnyville. If your clients use the phrase “Sunnyville real estate agent” when they’re searching for a real estate professional in Sunnyville, you will probably want to use that keyword on your website so the search engine robots will know that you want to your website to be found when someone searches that phrase.
If you don’t use that exact phrase in your website (maybe you use “real estate agent” and “Sunnyville” elsewhere on your site), but one of your competitors uses the exact phrase “Sunnyville real estate agent”, the robot that scans their site will file them higher on the list than you. That means your competitor will appear higher in the search engine results than you when a potential client types in “Sunnyville real estate agent” into the search engine.
So your first job is to figure out what keywords you want your website to be searchable for. I’ll show you how to do that in tomorrow’s blog post. Once you’ve discovered what keywords you want your website to be searchable for, the next thing you have to do is strategically use those keywords so that the search engine robots can easily understand what your site is all about, and so the robots can file you correctly.