When You Give Google a Keyword: WordPress Content Creation Series

Today we examine keyword creation and what Google is going to do with them. Google has a complex algorithm that drives the result lists it provides when we do a search, trying to deliver the results we want. No one outside of Google knows what is in the algorithm, but this article will touch on the basics figured out by through examination and consideration by people whose jobs revolves around Google results lists.

Let’s start developing our keyword words and phrases list. From this list, we will also discover the tags and categories we can use in WordPress. Below is an example of the start of a keyword scheme for a yarn store in my town.

In the left column, I wrote down a few of the primary keywords that people might use in a Google search bar to find a yarn store. Think about what makes your work unique and what part of your mission statement could be pulled into this list. For example, if I wanted my store to be known for high end yarns, I would list some of those brands as primary keywords.

Along the top of the chart, list your town and list some natural sentence structures that people might use. List activities, list events, list secondary keywords and list brand names of yarn…I’ll explain the last in a moment.

Long Tail Keyword Phrases

Now fill in the middle of the chart, combining each axis. In the example above, that gave me “knitting in Columbia” and “knitting supplies.” But I feel that “lessons in Columbia MO” is incomplete and should be “knitting lessons in Columbia MO.” And you can imagine that “needles in Columbia MO” won’t group you with the kinds of searches you want, right? Work through this so that each box has one or more longer phrases that actually sound like something a customer or reader might type into a Google Search bar.

Do you understand the difference between Tags and Categories in a WordPress post? Categories are the general terms used to organize your website. In my example, the categories would be the one-and-two word phrases in the chart. The tags are the longer phrases I developed in the middle of the chart, including the phrases that combine 3-4 of the words on each axis. I would really want to rate for “High End Yarn Brand and High End Needle Brand in Columbia MO.” And if the post I was using touched on every aspect of this phrase, I would use this as a tag.

The last example is a very targeted long tail keyword. It is triggering Google to index your website for two in-demand product lines as well as a location. A similar, more interesting long tail keyword could be “High End Yarn Brand and the Fancy Shawl I knitted in Columbia MO.”

Google will try to index your website’s content, title, image alt-texts, and tags. Google is also indexing proximity of the words in your content, so writing about this High End Yarn Brand in conjunction with your location, your knitting habits, where you knit, who you knit with, will all help boost your post. Write naturally and don’t try to rig the system, because this is all the algorithm does, day in and day out, and it can figure out you are trying to trip it up. It will rate you down for it. And maybe even put you on a blacklist!

So develop a robust tag library, have fun with it. Use it consistently when you are writing your posts and pages. You will build a motivated customer or reader base who is in tune with what you provide.

Join us once a month at The Hatchery for a WordPress MeetUp in Columbia, MO. We discuss topics such as this one as well as help each other with technical issues. Don’t live here? There are WP meetups all over the world!

* With apologies to fans of “When You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff.

**This article will be cross-posted to Columbia WP Coach and available there on February 1st.