So, what are search terms, tags and keywords? Why are all Internet optimisation specialists so obsessed by them and why are they so very important?
Well, to some extent, ‘search term’, ‘tag’ and ‘keyword’ are interchangeable descriptions of the same thing as they are all textual ‘sign posts’ that tells Search Engines exactly what the material being shown on a web page (whether an image, video or text) is all about.
For most of us Search Term is the best phrase to use for these ‘sign posts’ because it is apt in a way that has been lost by ‘keyword’, as the Internet has become more sophisticated. Tag, meanwhile, is a term most often used within Internet publishing platforms (such as WordPress) – albeit that a Tag is more or less the same as a search term!
In any event, a search term is the word or phrase that someone would use to search for something on the Internet.
So, if you wanted to go on holiday to Greece, for example, then you may well put into Google, or the search engine you use, something like ‘beach holidays in Greece’ – which is a search term. Or perhaps you may want to buy some shoes in which case you may do a search for ‘ladies walking boots’ or ‘mens brown suede shoes’ – either of which is a search term.
In theory anything can be a search term.
After all, you could just put into Google, for example, ‘shoes’ or ‘holidays’ – single words. They are still search terms although increasingly people do not use single words because they are not precise enough to help them find exactly what they really want.
You will certainly get lots of search results, for example, if you use a single term such as ‘property’ but you will end up with a huge amount of content that you do not want, encompassing every type of property from factories and hotels to castles, flats and farms. So, you are more likely to put ‘property in London’ or, better still, ‘3 bedroom mews house Chelsea’ to try to narrow down your search and exclude anything irrelevant to you.
In fact, increasingly, search terms are understood to be terms that have a minimum of two words in them and, more commonly, three. Often they will be even longer, in which case, although they are still search terms, they are known as ‘long tail’ search terms i.e. ‘3 bedroom mews house Chelsea’.
Understanding search terms, how people use them and exactly what for – is critical for anyone working on the Internet. If you know precisely what search terms people are using then you can angle everything you do on the Internet so that you precisely appeal to your relevant target market.
How do you do this?
Well, by making sure that your web site and articles target the search term results that your target market are searching for.
So, if you are selling ladies brown suede shoes then you will want your web site to be (ideally) on Page 1 Position 1 for the search engine results of any search undertaken by people for the term: ‘ladies brown suede shoes’. That way, if you can position yourself high on the search result rankings, you will receive traffic on your site and thereby (if your site is set up properly!) make sales.
Well, that is something that we go into in detail in The Laptop Entrepreneur because there are very easy and fool proof ways of finding out exactly what search terms people use to find things on the Internet – together with how often they are used. Indeed, excellent tools exist to help you with Market Samurai being a fine example of a user-friendly resource used by many web marketing professionals.
Certainly, knowing what people are searching for and what search terms they use and that the search terms have a viable amount of commercially relevant traffic is, obviously ‘gold dust’! With this knowledge you can target all your promotional work to attract the ‘traffic’ that you need to make your business work – with using the most effective search terms in your web pages absolutely essential…
Nick Snelling is co-author of The Laptop Entrepreneur available in Print or as a book on Kindle or e-book: the book that shows you how to make a living on the Internet. Nick is the author of five books, a copy writer and runs Culture Spain an authority site about ‘all things Spanish’.
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