Keywords are the foundation of web success.

They’re what frames an entire site – its content, its layout, its imagery and even its navigation – and they’re the ruler by which results are judged.

Unfortunately, too many people choose the wrong keywords for their website from the get-go. This sets the site up for failure, cutting into the number of leads, sales and revenues it can produce significantly.

Think of it this way: if you built a house, but the foundation was full of cracks and holes, would it be very sturdy? Would you want to invest in it? Would you be comfortable living there? Of course you wouldn’t!

The same goes for keywords.

With the wrong keywords in place, your site has no foundation on which to build, and ultimately, it’s doomed. It won’t bring your new leads and customers, it won’t deliver more sales and revenues, and it won’t serve up the results you and your bosses are looking for.

See if You’re Targeting the Right Keywords

I’ve got you worried now, don’t I?

Well don’t fret. Just because I said a lot of people pick the wrong keywords doesn’t necessarily mean you and your colleagues did, too.

To help you evaluate your current keywords and phrases, I’ve put together some important questions. Go through these with your marketing or web team, and see how your keywords and phrases are measuring up:

Are you getting good results?

The first indicator that you chose the wrong keywords lies in your results: the number of visits your site is getting, the number of leads it’s producing, and the number of sales it’s garnering.

If those numbers and stats aren’t where they should be (or where you want them to be), a shift in keywords may be in order. At the very least, it’s worth a shot. If your web performance improves, it was probably your keywords to blame.

How focused are your keywords?

To be truly effective, a keyword can’t just be a single, general word; those are too competitive, and they just don’t deliver the qualified traffic you want.

Think of it this way: are you going to get better, more ready-to-buy leads from a search of “beige leather sofa” or just plain old “couch?”

The “beige leather sofa” searchers are obviously much closer to purchasing. They already know what color and fabric they want! The searchers for “couch” may simply need a photo of a couch for their presentation or something completely unrelated to your site.

On top of that, the generic term is going to have much more competition. Thousands and thousands of other sites out there will be vying for the top spots on it, making it even harder to rank for and gain traction on.

Ultimately, your best bet is always a more targeted, focused keyword that really speaks to a specific customer.

Are you incorporating your geographic area?

Not all your keywords should have your geographic area in them, but a good chunk of them should – especially if you have a physical store or office location where customers are expected to come in.

Adding a geographic element to your keywords makes them more targeted, so the customers you attract online are more qualified, ready to buy and in your exact geographic area. Additionally, it makes the terms less competitive.

Take our company for example, do you think there are more people out there competing for “web design company” or “Fort Worth web design company.” The Fort Worth-specific one is definitely less in-demand, therefore it’s less competitive and easier for us to rank high for. It’s a win-win!

Did you remember variations?

For your main keywords – the ones you really, really want to rank for – make sure you’ve got some variations in the works. I don’t just mean switching words around, like “Keller marketing company” and “marketing company Keller,” or adding an “s” or “ing” to the end of your terms.

I mean adding value to those keywords – incorporating adjectives, adverbs and other words that amp up those keywords and make them even more targeted.

Say you want to rank for “red bicycle.” Some great variations would be “affordable red bicycle,” “red Schinn bicycle,” “red boys bike,” or “red mountain bike.” By adding these extra words in, you’re able to better target your keywords toward qualified leads, and you cut down on the amount of competition you have on the web. Both of these lead to more sales in the end.

How Were Your Keywords?

So, how did your keywords measure up?

If they weren’t so great, don’t worry. Many of these changes are easy to implement. Once you pick new keywords, be sure to work the new keywords into your web content, your meta and alt tags, your blogs and your PPC campaigns.

Then, don’t forget to resubmit your sitemaps to Google, and start using those keywords in social media and other updates, as well. This will help populate the web with your new, more powerful phrases.

Want more guidance on choosing keywords or managing your site’s leads and prospects? Check out our insider tips below.

Author Info

Brad Parnell
Founder & CEO

Brad is the Founder & CEO of Steadfast Creative, leading the team in exploring new ways to solve creative problems and bringing direction and vision for the company. His passion is building relationships, providing solutions and empowering his team to send new ideas out into the world. With over 10 years of agency experience serving local and national brands, he is focused on results for his clients and team. Outside of  work, Brad serves on the board of directors at his local Chamber of Commerce and loves giving back to the community and spending time with his wife and kids.