Getting your keywords and website structure right

The words that you and I type into the search engines to find the information we want are called keywords. By providing quality information, being relevant and on topic about

Nervous wide-eye Caucasian woman in front of a computer  keyboard

Keywords are one of the most important items to focus on when considering the search engine optimisation of your site. These terms are how your potential clients will find you. We all use Google, Bing and Yahoo on a daily basis to surf the internet.

The words that you and I type into the search engines to find the information we want are called keywords.

By providing quality information, being relevant and on topic about specific keywords you can bring targeted traffic to your website from a variety of search engines.

We’re concentrating mainly on Google search today, but all of this advice works across all of the search engines. Why am I focusing on Google? Well, they still have the majority share of the search market at around 81% in 2012. (As of November 2018 this number has risen to 92%)

People tend to panic about keywords and I can understand why. It’s something that you need to get right for your business. But there’s no need to panic a little care and attention together with some methodical research will see you through it fine.

It takes research, brainstorming and some insight into your customers and their behaviour. Marketing has changed a great deal over the last few decades. You cannot be truly successful by just marketing the features of your product anymore.

You need to be customer-centric rather than the more traditional product-centric. Relationship marketing is where it is at and if you are relationship marketing then you will already be collecting or know a large amount of information that will help with your keyword research. You know many of the answers even if you do not realize that you do!

So take a deep breath, step back and think about what you already know about the types of people that use your products or service. Write down the types of question that they ask you repeatedly and the information that they always request from you before making a purchasing decision. You can use these to start your research.

There are two types of keywords that you are going to want to use for your website, the ones that make up the navigation and structure of your site and then the ones that you use to draw traffic to your site.

Identifying Structural Keywords

The structural keywords tend to be broader terms and shorter phrases. Use something like the Google Keyword tool, Wordtracker, Traffic Travis or Market Samurai to carry out the research. Once you have completed your research you might end up with something like this if you run a dog-grooming parlour you might choose to target the following for the main structure and pages of your site:

  • Dog Grooming Services
  • Dog Sitting Services
  • Dog Grooming Products
  • About Alfred’s Dog Grooming
  • Contact Alfred
  • Alfred’s Dog Grooming Blog

However, those are highly competitive words and in order to get any organic traffic from the search engines you will need to use longer and more specific terms to attract visitors. Only 3.4% of all searches contain one word only, 6.8% contain 2 words, 25.3% contain 3 words, 29.4% contain 4 words, 18.6% contain 5 words and then it tails off again.

This information is powerful when used in conjunction with the knowledge you have about your customers and with the information, you can get about traffic levels from keyword tools (Google Keyword Tools, Wordtracker, Traffic Travis, Market Samurai).

So you might end up with a list of geographically targeted keywords, product specific related keywords, how to type questions and so on – as the longer keywords that you want to use in the sub navigation and content of your site. Maybe something like this depending on the research:

Dog Grooming Services

  • Mobile Dog Grooming
  • Dog Grooming Parlour

Dog Sitting Services

  • Boarding Your Dog
  • Daily Dog Sitting
  • Daily Dog Walking

Dog Grooming Supplies

  • Dog Shampoos
  • Dog Conditioning Treatments
  • Dog Clippers
  • Dog Nail Clippers
  • Dog Accessories

About Alfred’s Dog Grooming

Contact Alfred

Alfred’s Dog Grooming Blog

Identifying Keywords for Content

Then we come to long tail keywords. The less competitive ones that you are going to target in order to get traffic to your site. We will cover how to place them in your content in another post. Long tail keywords are the longer phrases that people use to search when they ask “how to”, “why does”, “who is”, “what can I” …
You need to identify lots of these because the answers to these questions are what fulfil your prospective client’s needs. Remember you sell to people by forming trusting relationships with them and the best way to do that is to educate and inform them early on in their purchasing cycle. So that when they are ready to make the purchasing decision, they will consider you.

So go ahead give it a go starting with a blank page. Don’t use what is on your site already and see if you come up with the keywords and the structure you already have. This is a good exercise to do once a year or more often if you are in a fast-paced market.

Changing an existing website structure might be necessary if your current one is messy or is not based on sound information architecture and SEO principles. You can easily start writing blog content to start targeting any new keywords that you have found, but if you find you need to make structural changes you might need to take some professional advice.

If you enjoyed reading this blog post, check out similar ones on the blog page. Feel free to get in touch with to chat about your latest project ideas - we love a good excuse for more tea.

Kittie Walker


  1. Jayna Locke on 26 January 2012 at 10:01 pm

    This is great, Kitty. I’m definitely going to share it. I would love your opinion on a tutorial I published as a blog post a few weeks back on how to research your keywords. Here’s the link: Would you add/change anything? Thanks!

    • Kittie Walker on 26 January 2012 at 10:57 pm

      Hi Jayna,
      Thanks for the comment I am glad that you found it useful. I’ll pop over to your blog in the morning, check out your post and leave you my thoughts.

  2. keri on 27 January 2012 at 7:32 am


    I appreciate the insight on key words, and longtail key words.

    The percentages are mighty helpful too!

    Thank you for sharing, and for making yourself so available to those in need of help with sEO!


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