A Site That's Not Optimised
Here's something to think about. A site that's not optimised is a bit like having a shop in the middle of a field with no road leading to it, no sign over the door, all the lights off, no window display, and the door shut all day. Not very bright, eh?!
Well the same thing applies to your website.
If you want your website to be found, it is vital that you do good Keyword Research. You can write the most prosaic content for your website that reads beautifully, but if you don't include keywords then your target audience will probably never find you.
The Wrong Keywords
It is so easy to focus on the wrong keywords. You might use particular words and phrases to describe your products / services, but your target audience may not use those same words and phrases.
You describe your shop as a pharmacy? The rest of us call it a chemist.
You say you are a low fares airline? The rest of us search for cheap flights.
So it is vital to speak the same language as your target audience.
Where To Start?
Well, you compile a list of keywords that you think you should focus on. Then you start brainstorming - ask friends, relations, customers and suppliers (or complete strangers if you like!) how they would describe your business, and add their thoughts to your list.
Keyword Research Tools
Armed with your list, you start running the various phrases through some keyword research tools. There are lots of keyword research tools out there, one of the most popular being the Google AdWords External Keyword Tool. And what's that word that we all love? Oh yes -'free'. Google's keyword tool is free.
You can either run your list of keyword through Google's Keyword tool, or you can enter a website address (your own or someone else's!) and ask it to come up with suggestions.
It's a great idea to sort the results by Local Search Volume, because you would really prefer to focus on a few phrases that 10,000 people are searching for, rather than focusing on phrases that 10 people are searching for. Wouldn't you?
Now pick the phrases that best suit your business, and have a high search volume. (An added bonus would be if they also have a low competition rating, so you're not competing against a really high number of other sites, but this isn't always possible.)
Optimise Every Page
The bad news is that really you need to optimise each page of your website individually, because each page should focus on a different product or service. Yes, it's time consuming, but it's worth it. When you have your list of key phrases for each page - about 10 per page - you keep the list beside you as you write (or rewrite) your content, and build the content around those key phrases.
Those keywords also need to be used in lots of other places, because your Search Engine Optimisation is about much more than just your page content. But getting your content right is a great start.