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You’ll actually get penalized for doing it poorly.

Google will decrease your ranking if you: speak like a robot, stuff your site with keywords or publish inconsistent and low-quality content.

And new visitors will leave your site quickly if your font isn’t legible, your text isn’t scannable and the content isn’t relevant to what they actually need.

When I’m working on a marketing strategy with an entrepreneur, nonprofit or creative, I make sure we’re taking Google into account when we’re planning their web copy.

Follow my 4-step process for researching and applying a user-centric focus keyword to all of your own website writing.

If you’re not anticipating what your audience is looking for, you’re probably not connecting with new potential customers through Google searches or AdWords buys.

1. research your focus keywords.

Each page on your website should be there for a reason, right? Maybe it’s to provide background info on your previous work and prove your credibility. Maybe it’s a transactional space for a client buying your latest online course. Maybe the page gives an overview of your services or programs.

Whatever the reason that page exists, you need to define that reason in terms of a focus keyword.

Your focus keyword can (and should) actually contain several words to be effective.

As always, the first thing you should do when determining your focus keyword is: step into the shoes of your ideal customer.

What is your audience searching for that your web page can answer for them? What are they typing into Google that makes them your perfect match?

Say you’re in the business of selling watermelon treats for dogs. Your sales page for your various treats should focus on a search term dog owners may use to find something like your products.

Go straight to Google to test out what people might be looking for. When I search “watermelon treats for dogs,” I see plenty of recipes to whip together for Edison. I know that search term contains relevant information and/or competing brands to my products. If I scroll to the bottom of the search results, I also see related terms that might work even better for my own content.

Maybe you know your ideal customer might not be looking for watermelon-specific treats, but they’re definitely searching for “dog treats for summer.”


Now you can edit your web copy to include the phrase “dog treats for summer.”

Without sacrificing comprehension or flow, incorporate the phrase in your page title (Watermelon Pupsicles: Dog Treats For Summer). Add your keyword into headings and sub-headings on the page (Looking for Cooling Dog Treats for Summer Months?)

And include the phrase in the text itself (When we created our best-selling Watermelon Pupsicles, we had the lazy, hazy days of summer in mind. We always wanted special dog treats for summer – the kind that can help cool our pets without the added calories in dairy or frozen peanut butter treats…)

3. include your keywords in your page metadata.

Google doesn’t just recognize the writing on the page, it also looks for clues from  metadata on your site.

If you’re using Squarespace, you can add your keyword into the Page Settings using the Navigation Title, Page Title and Description fields. Be aware that some of these fields show up on the public view of your site, depending on the template you’re using. Fill in what you can, but again, don’t sacrifice the clarity of your site structure to do so.

If you’re using WordPress, you can install a special SEO plugin to enter your key terms. One of the most popular plugins for this is Yoast SEO, which allows you to define your keyword and fill in your SEO Title, adjust your page URL and include your description.

4. INCLUDE your keywords in your image metadata.

You can go a step further and add your focus keyword to the imagery on your web page as well.

Image alt tags and description fields first and foremost keep the internet accessible for all users. They should be written to describe visual content to those who are navigating your site using screen readers so they may better understand the image on the page. Alt tags will also be displayed in place of an image if an image file cannot be loaded.

But alt tags also give Google a heads up that an image relates to a certain topic. So you may have a photo of your product packaging with an alt tag: “Silver pouch of Watermelon Pupsicles, the dog treats for summer.”


When you’re deep in the process of refining your web writing for the Google machine, you might just be inspired to create even more content for your ideal user.

Don’t forget to write down the key search terms you find that don’t yet fit into your existing copy and content!

Maybe you can write a few blog posts about frozen dog treats or dog treat recipes that lead your ideal customer right to your products. Keep going down the search rabbit hole, and you can come up with ideas for new product lines, email series, social media videos, and more!

Does your website need a little help?

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If you don’t know who your ideal client, customer or audience member is, chances are you’re wasting every minute you spend on social media, emails and more.

That’s why we created a worksheet to help you better understand and locate your ideal audience for every service or product or event you have. Totally free to use again and again!

    I strategize, consult and manage digital marketing and communications for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I’m based in Brooklyn, because I have a thing for exposed brick, cozy, local coffee shops and the can’t stop, won’t stop energy of New York.

    Because I work with small companies, I get the chance to really know my clients – what makes them tick and how and why they should stand out in a crowded marketplace. A lot of my clients have a smaller staff, a limited budget and are already stretched thin for time. This leads us to tailor marketing strategies and solutions to each company’s unique needs and actual capacity.

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