With all the recent emphasis on Pinterest and visual content strategies, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that your web design is based on words. If you are creating a website to drive customers and prospects to your door, you need to build it on the phrases and terms customers used to find you.

These key phrases should be used in the names of your pages, sprinkled throughout the copy, and used in the names of your pictures. Yes, even your visual strategy is based on words.

So how do you decide what those critical key words should be? Start with the words you think your customers are likely to use and then hop over to the keyword tool from Google Ad Words. While this tool is designed to fuel the sale ad words, it provides a reliable list of key phrases to use in your organic search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

Sometimes it will confirm you know your customers and sometimes it will surprise you or give you some additional key terms to try out.  For example,  two years ago I looked up the phrase “small business marketing” and discovered “marketing strategy” was a much better choice. On average, it is searched 201,000 times a month.

That simple piece of information changed how we talked about our business online. We still do what we always did, but the emphasis on marketing strategy has driven a lot of valuable traffic and leads to our site.

Google also suggested the phrase “small business ideas.” I had never used this phrase with any specific thought, but it is searched more than 20,000 times a month. While not the most popular, it has a steady following, and so from time to time we add it to the mix to make our content more interesting.

The list is always changing, and so from time to time we check back to see if there is a new word or phrase we should add to the mix. What about you? When was the last time you checked on your keywords?