One of the most intuitive and easily understood aspects of search engine optimization is the process of adding keywords into your website. We all use keywords in Google on a daily basis to find answers to our questions. If those keyword queries are appropriately integrated into a website it’s quite a bit easier for that site to become visible.
Finding relevant keywords is another discussion for another day, but today the topic is all about what to do with the keywords when you find them. A few years back, there was a common SEO practice called “keyword stuffing” where website owners would stuff as many keywords into their website as possible. If a website was trying to rank for the search term “little black dress”, keyword stuffing would mean sentences on the website would read like this:
“Your perfect little black dress. The little black dress of your dreams. This little black dress fits everyone and because it’s a little black dress you’ll be able to wear it to every black dress occasion.”
Believe me, no one wants to read that on a website.
Now, because we know that Google will negatively rank websites that just stuff keywords into their content, there are five major areas where keywords should instead be strategically placed. Let’s look at each of them:
While this first area is the most self-explanatory, there are a few common misconceptions about the placement of keywords in the copy of the website.
- Top, bottom, middle – the placement of these keywords on the page doesn’t matter
- You don’t need more than one keyword per page
- You do need to make sure they sound natural in the copy
Find your target keyword for a page and make sure it’s integrated naturally into the flow of the story. If it feels forced it’s more likely that Google will penalize your website for keyword stuffing.
Pro Tip: if you’re integrating keywords into your website after you’ve written the body copy, read the new paragraph(s) out loud. This will help you determine if the keywords sound natural or not.
Header One Tags
If you’re not very familiar with search engine optimization or website code it may come as a surprise that header tags hold different levels of importance for Google. Most content management systems – Shopify, WordPress, Squarespace, etc. – will give you an option to change a header to H1, H2, or H3.
Most of the time, depending on the design of your website, changing your header tags will change the look of the header (i.e. the size, weight, font). Header One tags hold the most value in Google and should be where you integrate your keywords.
Here are a couple of rules about H1 tags to keep in mind:
- Keep them simple
- Use them as guideposts to draw your reader’s eyes down the page
- Keep them between 20-70 characters
- If possible use a keyword in the header – but make sure it sounds natural
Try to keep your header keywords simple – this probably isn’t the place for those lengthy, 6-7 word keywords. Again, it’s all about how naturally those keywords fit into your content. Don’t sacrifice quality content for ill-placed keywords.
SEO Page Title
Another important place for keywords is your Page Title. A page title is the clickable link in Google that takes you to a website.
Google highly values these titles because they contribute to the overall user experience of a website. If your users know exactly what your website is about the chances of them clicking through to your content is much higher.
Integrating one of your high priority keywords into every page title of your website is key to a well-optimized fashion site. And unlike with body copy and header one tags, these keywords don’t need to fit organically inside a sentence. If your top priority keyword for that page is “little black dress” a good pattern to follow is:
Top Keyword | Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
Little Black Dress | Best Occasion Dresses | StartUp Fashion
SEO Meta Description
Much like page titles, a meta description is shown in search engines as the mini advertisement about your website page. It’s the sentence description under your page title and while it doesn’t hold as much weight in Google as page titles, it’s still a great place for keywords.
Meta descriptions can be edited inside your CMS – typically in the same content block as your page title – and should be written to entice searchers to visit your website.
Make your meta descriptions between 150-160 characters in length so Google doesn’t cut them off and don’t feel the pressure to use more than one keyword per description.
Image Alt Tags
The fifth and final place keywords should be integrated into your website are your image alt tags. These little tags are associated with each image on your website and help boost your rank, especially in places like Google Image Search.
These alt tags will give a description of the image if the image cannot be displayed, so make sure the tag is a keyword and is a relevant description of the image. The tag itself can merely be your target keyword as long as it’s relevant and descriptive.
For example, a good image alt tag on a little black dress product image might be: “black special occasion dress.”
Alt tags can sometimes be tricky to find depending on your content management system.
If you’re using Shopify, follow these simple steps.
- From your Shopify admin, go to Products > All products.
- Click the name of the product that you want to edit.
- Hover over the product image and click ALT:
- Add or edit your alt text in Image alt text.
- Click Done.
For any other CMS, simply Google how to find your image alt tag and you’ll get your answer right away.
Integrating keywords into your website doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful. Just follow these guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to greater visibility for your fashion website.