When it comes to business, one of the most important decisions you make is the focus keyword for your website's homepage.
Okay, maybe that's a bit of hyperbole, but the decision is important.
And while I'm usually not a fan of changing strategies once you commit, you can certainly change the focus depending on how things go.
But a key point to make early is that when you choose a focus keyword for your homepage you're making it for the long-term. We're talking years.
For one, that's how long it takes to achieve a top ranking for a general term.
For two, every time you change you're starting, not necessarily from the beginning, but pretty close to it.
Step #1. What Do You Sell?
It's obviously a simple question, but it's often overlooked when it comes to the target keyword for your website and its homepage.
You want to break this down to the most simple term.
What you sell. What you do. What you provide.
However you want to look at it.
My dentist, for example, provides dental services in the city where I live, Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
That's pretty simple.
The breakfast diner where I sometimes eat provides fast breakfast food in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
The software development company that provides iOS development for app design firms.
Break down what you sell into the simplest terms possible. Don't try to cover too much. Focus on the core of what you do.
Step #2. What Are People Searching For?
Now it comes time to match what you do to what the customer is searching for. What I mean by this is that sometimes how you refer to your product is not how your customer refers to it.
For example, my dental office may feel they provide "dental services", but for me I would search for something like "family dentist".
Who is right?
Both are right, but when it comes to the online search world the customer or the searcher is right.
You can also check with Google's Keyword Planner.
It looks like "dental services" has between 1k-10k searchers per month. "Family Dentist" has 10k-100k.
When targeting a keyword you want to use what your customers are searching for.
Step #3. What Is The Competition Like?
Next, you want to look at the competition.
There are different considerations for this part of the effort.
First, search for the term. You should see your top competition. In the case of the dentist, you should see other dentists in your area.
Second, search for similar terms. See if your competition is targeting different terms. Maybe they don't realize what the most searched for term is and they're not targeting it.
Third, you want to gauge your chances of passing the competition by. Targeting the right keyword can help. But brand recognition is a big one. You may be a new brand while your competition is 10+ years old. That will leave a steep climb, but it may be possible to catch them.
Step #4. Is The Keyword Long-Term Viable?
Next, do your best to determine if the keyword will still be used 10+ years from now.
With a term like "family dentist", it will probably still be around in 10 years.
But say you're selling Tickle Me Elmo dolls. That might be the hot keyword now, but in 10 years it probably won't be around.
It might be better to focus on "Kids Toys" or "#1 Selling Kids Toys" or something like that. Much more likely to be popular in 10+ years.
The reason you want it to be long-term viable is that it will take long-term work to reach a top spot and you don't want that work to be in vain when the trends change.
Step #5. How To Implement
The most important places for the target keyword to be are:
- Homepage title tag
- Homepage header
With the title tag, I'm a fan of using your brand and the target keyword in a way that will make sense for the customer.
I don't like trying to stuff keywords or make them sound awkward. I want the customer to see it and instantly know what you do and who you are and possibly where you are located.
The same is true for the header. When they click you want to reinforce who you are and what you do and possible where you are.
So the title tag for the dentist might be:
ABC Dental: The #1 Family Dentist in Eau Claire, WI
The header on the homepage may just say:
The #1 Family Dentist in Eau Claire, WI
The logo would let them know who you are. You may not even need "The #1".
Choosing the right keyword for your business homepage is important. The #1 mistake I see companies make is not knowing who they are. So you want to understand who you are, what you sell and stick with the term you identify. The more you switch terms the higher the struggle will be to rank for a term.