Whilst keywords don’t have as much sway in search engine result placement as they used to, it’s still important to have considered the best keywords to scatter throughout your website to help maximise your chances of appearing in results.

As a Virtual Assistant you’re likely to know a lot about SEO, but for the purposes of this article and those new to VA work, I’m going to break it down in simple terms.

What are keywords?

Keywords are the words people will type into the search bar of Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. to find services like yours.

For example, if a business owner is looking for a bookkeeper to help manage his accounts he may type “bookkeeper near Sevenoaks, Kent” into the search bar. Another example for a less niche requirement could be “virtual assistant services” or country specific “virtual assistant UK”.

Defining your keywords is crucial to targeting the right audience for your services.

How to choose your keywords.

Choosing the best keywords to place throughout your website comes down to your specific niche (if you have one) as well as dedicating a little research time using free online tools.

One of these tools is Google’s Keyword Planner. Ordinarily this tool is for those wanting to create a Google Adword campaign, but it’s just as relevant to you when choosing keywords.

There are two options available when using Google Keyword Planner:

  1. By using word or phrase
  2. By website

When using the word or phrase option, enter words that you think are relevant into the field provided. Enter the verification and click ‘Search’. You will get 100 results. Trawl through these and select any that are relevant. When you’re finished click the ‘Download’ button and save those results for later use.

When using the website option, the best thing to do here would be use another VA’s website, someone who offers very similar services to you, as this will bring up results that are relevant to your own keywords. As before, after entering the verification code and hitting ‘Search’ 100 results will appear. Select any keywords that are relevant and then click the ‘Download’ button and save these results.

You should now have a good number of possible keywords.

How to choose the best keywords.

You will see that Google already provide you with a good amount of information about each of those keywords to help you make an informed decision. These include:

  • How competitive those keywords are.
  • How many people search using those keywords per month.

Colour coding helps identity competitive keywords easily. The greener the bar is, the more competitive that keyword is.

Shorter keywords are always going to be more competitive. For example, “virtual assistant” is going to throw up numerous results. In fact using Google.co.uk it produces 18 million results! Whereas “virtual assistant copywriter” is more targeted and only produces 1.7 million. Still a lot of results, but significantly lower.

Essentially what you’re trying to find here are keywords that are less competitive but still have an acceptable amount of traffic. Often this will be using long tail keywords i.e. “virtual assistant copywriter UK” rather than “virtual assistant”. The former is better to target for as you know that anyone searching for the long tail keyword is a good match for your services. Someone searching for “virtual assistant” could be a good match but may not.

Choosing your keywords.

Now you’ve got a list of possible keywords it’s time to go through them more thoroughly. Find the longer tail keywords (between 3 and 5) that have at least 500-1000 searches per month and that are relevant to your services. The more specific you can get the better and more chance of success from an organic search.

Keyword placement.

This deserves an article dedicated to it alone, which will be coming up over the coming weeks, but to finish up after choosing your keywords now’s the time to populate your website and start benefiting from them (as much as you can these days).

The homepage is the key page to focus on, you come back to the others when you have more time.

Place keywords throughout the content of your homepage text, as well as in the SEO section of your website:

  • Page titles
  • Meta tags
  • Alt tags

If you don’t manage your own website, make sure you web developer adds those for you.

But remember the cardinal rule – do not stuff your website with keywords. This could have a detrimental affect rather than a beneficial one. Instead naturally place them within the copy. If in doubt as to whether it works or not, leave it out. The copy should read fluidly. If the keyword can be added, add it. If not, forget it.

And as a final reminder, keywords alone will not help improve your ranking on Google. It’s important to get links pointing to your website from other relevant, preferably authoritative, websites (otherwise known as backlinks) as well as distributing fresh content via your own blog, or through guest blogging with a link back to your own website.