In my opinion keyword research is top of the list for things that as a small business owner you need to be thinking about. However, most small business owners will spend more time deciding on the colour scheme and layout of the website than the actual keywords they want to target. The keywords they will target will be the few keywords they have in their heads, what they think potential clients/customers are searching for. But how much traffic you get to your site and how many new clients you get each month is totally dependant on the keywords you are targeting.
In this post I am going to go through, from start to finish, the keyword research process I use, and show you how to find good keywords to target. Initially we will do it manually but, then in part two I will take a look at some of the tools, free and paid, that you can use to help find good keywords easier and faster.
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Topics Covered In This Post
- Why Do I Need SEO Anyway?
- Why Is Keyword Research So Important?
- In Summary
Do I Need SEO?
That is a good question and one that I do get asked quite a lot. The answer is always the same, if you are looking for new customers then you need a good online presence. But gone are the days when you could have a rubbish site with no real information, now you must be providing the visitors to your site with high quality information that is relevant to what they are searching for.
In most markets nowadays you see the big national sites dominating page one. These businesses will probably have more years of experience, especially online, and they will also have deeper pockets. So from the offset things are not really stacked in your favour, going head on against them is not going to work, so we need to be more strategic and out manoeuvre them. This is why I love SEO and what I do, because when done correctly it can help a small business to compete with the more established national brands. By organising a comprehensive SEO strategy that is focused on your strengths you can start to push your business forward in your market and outgun the national companies. This has been proven by a consulting client of mine who inside a year went from nowhere on the internet and buying leads from a national company, to now having more work than she can handle and having to outsource it to other companies. I will be doing a case study on this in the near future.
Why Is Keyword Research So Important?
Keywords refer to the strings of text that you will type in to your browser when you are looking for something on the internet. If you wanted to learn some SEO, then you might type in something like "Learn SEO", or "How To Do SEO". Google will then bring the results back that it thinks are most relevant to the keywords you have typed in. And that is the whole point of SEO, it tells Google that your site is the most relevant for the keywords that the searcher has typed in. Google then puts your site on page one making it easier for potential customers to find your products or services. Provided you do have a professional looking website then More visitors = More sales = More Profit.
So all you have to do is to find the keywords that your potential customers might type in to find your products or services. Easy right!
It sounds simple enough, and no doubt you have a number of ideas in your head as to what a potential customer "should" type in to search for your business, but the chances are you are way off the mark.
There is a lot more to keyword research than what most people think, there are a number of factors that you must understand, so that you can find the keywords that potential customers are using the most to search for your products or services.
Below are a few of the things that you will need to think about before you even start researching your keywords:
What Is Your Goal?
The obvious answer to that is getting your site on top of page one of the search results when a potential customer types in a keyword that you are targeting. However, you need to think more about what is the reason that you want to be on page one? Is it to drive more targeted visitors to your website and get more clients and leads? Do you just want to build your email list?
By being able to define what your goal is, you will then have a much clearer picture of the type of keywords you need to be focusing on.
Keyword Intent - What is the searcher looking for?
When people are searching the internet they don't all have the same intentions, some are looking to buy whereas others could be looking for information or just to chill. The two most basic keyword intents are transactional and informational.
- Transactional Intent Keywords - these keywords are what searchers use when they are looking to buy something from you, or they are at least thinking about buying it. If somebody was thinking of buying SEO tools, then they would type in searches such as “best SEO tools” or ” buy SEO tools.” Both of those search queries show that this searcher is interested in buying SEO tools.
- Informational Intent Keywords - these keywords are what searchers use when they are looking for information on a topic. From the examples above, “Learn SEO” and “How To Do SEO” are informational keywords.
As with everything there is always exceptions to the rules. It is possible that someone will search to simply find out more about a product or service, so that they are more informed when they come to make the decision to buy. Normally keywords beginning with the word “best” tend to be both informational and transactional.
Keyword Types And Search Volume
Keywords can be divided into two main types:
- Head Terms - This refers to keywords that have no more than 3 words in them
- Long Tail - These are keywords that have four or more words in them.
When looking at keywords one thing to take note of is their average monthly searches. Head terms being more general will usually have a higher monthly search volume than long tail keywords which are much more precise and specific will therefore be searched for less frequently.
Normally people will want to target keywords that have the highest number of searches in a month to increase their visibility in the organic search results, especially if they are ranked on page one for their keyword. However, as you would expect those keywords that have the highest number of searches per month do tend to be the hardest keywords to get on page one for. You will find that this is definitely true for head term keywords, where you will find the sites of industry giants like Wikipedia covering page one.
A much better strategy than simply targeting head terms, is to target the long-tail keywords. Even though the search volume for the long-tail keywords is lower in comparison with head terms. Long-tail keywords are also usually less competitive, making it a lot easier to get on page one for these phrases. The other plus side to targeting long-tail keywords is the fact that you have a much better chance of converting your visitors as the long-tail keyword is more specific to what they actually searched for, so you are probably covering about a topic that they are wanting to know more about.
In this part of the series we have looked at, why we do keyword research, the importance of it and the different types of keywords we will come across. In Understanding Keyword Research Part 2 we are going to look at how to do manual keyword research, and introduce a couple of free tools you can use to speed things up a bit. And then in Understanding Keyword Research Part 3 we are going to look at another 3 tools that you can use to speed up your keyword research even more. Once you have gone through all three of these posts you will be able to research keywords for your business that you will be able to target successfully and drive more traffic to your website.