It’s been estimated that as much as 70 percent of all online sales start with users visiting a search engine. Optimizing your site with keywords can make sure you get your piece of that pie. By staying abreast of the most popular keywords in your industry and placing them throughout your site, you can help ensure you get your share of shoppers.
The first step in any keyword optimization effort is to determine what keywords are relevant to your business. Obvious suggestions include the names of your products, the categories of products you sell and the brand names you carry.
Just analyze the items that you sell and see how they can relate to popular keywords so that you can maximize your store’s success. If you sell CDs, use "music" in your keywords. If you sell posters, use the names of popular movie stars in your keywords to attract more customers.
There are also ways to get creative. For example, if you sell candles in your online store, you could use candle making or candle supplies in you keywords. If you sell luggage, you could use travel in your keyword list. Travel is one of the most popular keywords, especially during a holiday season.
Free is always a good, universal keyword to use. If you offer a free gift, add that phrase to your list of keywords. For example, if you offered a free e-book with the purchase of an item, add "free e-book" to your keywords.
If you’re having trouble compiling a list of keywords, there are several sites that can help. Wordtracker runs a real-time ticker of the top 50 searches, compiled from various search engines, as well as a more robust subscription service. Google’s Zeitgeist also compiles a monthly list of its top searches in several categories.
One thing to keep in mind with regard to keywords is how search engines deal with them. Each major search engine is slightly different, but all of them walk a thin line in terms of how much is too much. To be sure, you want to make sure that Google, MSN, and Yahoo! all know what you are selling, but in general your keywords and your copy should be natural. "Keyword stuffing" (having too many keywords) will hurt your search engine rank and may even get you banned. SEO gurus claim that somewhere between 2 and 8 percent of your total content should be any given keyword. You can check your keyword density with several free online tools, including the one at seochat.com.
It’s important to change and refresh your keywords often. Keyword popularity changes throughout the year, with the seasons, or with changes in world events. For example, "free holiday gift" would obviously be more popular in December, and "Super Bowl" would increase in popularity in January, as opposed to July. Don’t forget to update your keywords as you bring on new product offerings and as your business evolves.