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A Lesson on Keywords and Keyphrases

Perhaps you've heard of keywords, but you probably don't know what they are, how to find them, or how to use them. Don't worry—we've got you!

Keywords are words and phrases people use to search for information online. As a business, your goal is to identify keywords relevant to your offerings that your target audience is likely to use in their searches.

Why use a phrase?

Because there are only so many words and brands competing with similar products worldwide, it's impossible to differentiate yourself and use keywords without a phrase. 

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Examples of a keyword and keyphrase

Keyword: açaí 

Key phrase: best açaí bowl Waikiki

If the keyword you are optimizing for is açaí, you have to remember that in the digital age, you are competing with websites and social media accounts worldwide, not just your neighbors.

Do a simple experimentation search on Google for açaí. You will receive everything from information about the ingredient's health benefits to its origins, where to buy mix to make at home, and food establishments worldwide selling açaí. It's also safe to say that unless you've been around for a long time and have a top-optimizing website, you will never appear on a search result's first, second, or even third page if you use such a board keyword.

If you now search for the best açaí bowl in Waikiki, you will instantly be shown only places in Waikiki where you can get an açaí bowl. Your search results will now be based upon reviews, paid ads, ranking on review sites, links from alternative websites, and potentially the way you labeled your images. 

From the example above, you see how using a phrase rather than a word is the most direct way to narrow down your brand in search results. The same rationale applies to social media. You have to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers. If they seek a product like yours to buy, what will they search for? Probably as specific as possible, to be honest. 

Website vs. Social Media Keywords:

You've hit the nail on the head here.  People's search intent differs between platforms:

Website Keywords: 

People on search engines like Google tend to use more specific, longer phrases to find information (e.g., "best smoothies on Oahu"). Focus on keywords with commercial intent, indicating a desire to purchase or learn more about a product or service.

Social Media Keywords: 

Social media users often use shorter, more conversational phrases or hashtags to discover content (e.g., "pink smoothie recipe"). Here, the focus might be brand awareness, engagement, and community-building.

hand working on computer

Keyword Selection

Okay, so now we get into selecting the best key phrases for your business. The first step is a simple brainstorming session, as I mentioned above: What will your customers search for on a search engine or social media that could lead them to you? Write a list. You can then take these words into Google's free Keyword Planner to see how they rank.

Keyword Research Tools: 

Free and paid tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs can help you discover search volumes, competition levels, and keywords.

Competitor Analysis: 

See what keywords your competitors rank for and consider variations on those terms.

Audience Research: 

Think about the problems your products or services solve and the language your target audience uses to describe those problems.

Keyword and key-phrase ranking:

PlanIt's very wise web developer once told me to "look for the unicorn." I've never forgotten that advice. You are looking for that rare key phrase, and ideally, 2-5 of them have high search volume but low competition.

This means that potential customers are utilizing that phrase on Google, but not many businesses have selected it as their keyword, so you are more likely to show up closer to the front of the pack. Remember, a search engine will also be taking social media platforms into account, so using those exact phrases on your profiles, descriptions, alt tags, and hashtags will help.

The one place I'd say not to repeat a search engine keyword in your social media is anything with "near me" or "by me" because you're often not using GPS on social media. Without a location, the "near me" means nothing.

Now, to get into the nitty gritty of things....

Testing and Selecting Keywords:

- Start with a Broad List: Use keyword research tools to generate a comprehensive list of relevant keywords.

- Consider Search Volume & Competition: Prioritize keywords with decent search volume but manageable competition.

- Refine for Specificity: Tailor your keyword list to different website or social media content sections.

- Track Performance: Use website analytics and social media insights to track the performance of your chosen keywords and adjust your strategy as needed.

Integrating Keywords:

- Website: Integrate keywords naturally into your website content (titles, meta descriptions of pages, headings on webpages, body text on webpages and blogs, image titles). Remember the image alt text!

- Social Media: Use relevant keywords in your social media captions, profile descriptions, and hashtags. Remember the image alt text!

Photo Labeling:

You're right about the science behind image labeling! Search engines rely on alt text to understand image content.

Here are some tips:

- Accurate & Descriptive: Use concise language describing the image content.

- Keyword Integration: Include one or two relevant keywords, but prioritize precise description.

- Lowercase & Underscores: Use lowercase letters and underscores ("_") to separate words and phrases.

- Hyphens Within Phrases: Use hyphens (-) within keyword phrases (e.g., "eco-friendly-swimwear").

Keywords vs. Hashtags:

Keywords are integrated into website content and backend data and used across various platforms. They help search engines find your content.

Hashtags are primarily used on social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. They categorize your posts and help users discover content through searches within those platforms.

Do you still have questions? Please email us or join our email list to receive a copy of our new Ecopreneur business handbook!


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