How many keywords should you use in your website?
Using a small number of strong keywords - relevant to each unique page - will help your website to rank well with search engines.
The keywords you choose for your business website are crucial to how well it performs. They play such an important part in optimising your website, as they allow search engines to find and index it.
Researching and choosing keywords
How many should you use? The temptation can be to use as many as possible, to ensure you are covering all potential search terms that your customers could use.
A quick search with the Google Keyword Tool for the term 'florist in London' shows me 100 different related keywords, many of them being searched thousands of times a month. Surely by using all of these, your site will do extremely well in the search engine rankings?
Too many keywords?
In practice, using a large number of keywords is not practical and could actually end up harming the website's search engine optimisation (SEO). The words you choose need to be included in your website's content - and your content is ultimately intended for your customers.
While you need to make sure that the site is accessible and understandable for the search engine crawlers, it is important to remember that the customers are your audience, not the search engines.
Ultimately, what good is a high ranking business website if it doesn't appeal to the customers and encourage them to spend money with you?
Overuse of similar keywords or repeating a keyword very often will be picked up by the search engines. They may even flag your website as a spam site (one which deliberately tries to 'cheat' the ranking system by using too many keywords) and lower its search ranking.
The search engines build their reputation on delivering relevant, good quality sites to their customers, and so sites that appear to be of very poor quality and are overusing keywords will be lowered in or even omitted from the index.
Trying to fit too many keywords into your content, even if they are all completely different, can also have negative effects. You may find yourself filling your page with far too much information, making it hard for visitors to find the section they need.
Popular, good quality sites are favoured by search engines, so draw in the customers with content that is snappy and straight to the point.
Keeping it simple
Ideally, each page of your website will use three to five keyword phrases, specific to that page. All of your web pages are indexed, so each can be individually optimised for a small number of keywords.
The words will be much easier to fit into your website content naturally, reducing the risk of being viewed as spam or penalised for poor quality by the search engines. Your customers will find your site far more relevant and easy to use when they find and visit you.