- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On July 16, 2019
Finding and implementing the best keywords for your business will bring more relevant visitors to your website.
Google uses keyword phrases to decide which user searches are answered by information contained on your website and hence when and where to rank your business in search results.
As Moz points out, knowing and understanding the ways in which customers search for a product or service like yours can also have positive ramifications across the whole of your marketing strategy over-and-above your SEO.
So, how do you find the best keywords for your business? Here are the steps you need to take to get started.
1. Put on your customers’ shoes
Try to see things from the perspective of your customer.
What problem does your product or service solve? What might a customer type into a search engine in order to find a business like yours? Be careful here. Many business owners think of keywords here that are too technical. They use industry jargon to describe their business. Jargon their customers do not use. For example, a keyword like “glasses” will get a much higher search volume than “optometrist”.
2. Check your analytics
You can use Google analytics to see what search terms are currently directing people to your site. Brainstorming from these keywords will give you more ideas than just the words currently being used to find your business.
Word to the wise: Make sure your Google Analytics is working correctly on your site today. We’ve seen too many cases where a local business goes to access it’s analytics and finds the software has not been collecting any data for the last year or two. This cannot be undone that data is simply gone…a real waste of insight!
3. Learn from your competition
See what keywords your competitors are using and consider using these or variants of these.
You can usually find the competitors keywords by looking at the words in their web page titles and by looking at any words they’ve put into their keywords tag in their home page HTML. (To look for keyword tags go to view page source in your browser and then search for “keywords”.)
An easier way to do this is to use a tool like SEMRush will allows you to type in the names of competitors and will list all their keywords for you.
4. Run the numbers
Next, head to a keyword planner tool, like Google Keyword Planner (which is free) or popular ones like the one provided by Moz or Wordstream (which you have to pay for at the higher levels). You can type in some of your keyword phrase ideas and these tools will generate a list of other, related keyword phrases.
The real beauty of these tools is the additional data they provide. Alongside each keyword phrase, you will see statistics on traffic and competition – basically how many people are searching using that phrase and how many other websites are competing to rank for that phrase. You can create multiple keyword lists and download them into Excel to manipulate as you wish.
By this point, you’ll probably have a very long list of keyword phrases – too many to implement effectively across your website. You need to find the phrases that are really going to lead to conversions. Play around with synonyms. Assess phrases for traffic, competition and how much of an intent to buy they demonstrate (for example “landscaper” shows more intent to take action than “lawn care” which could be someone looking to maintain their yard themselves.)
Consider prioritizing more specific terms like long tail keywords (for example “Allen Edmonds black loafers” vs. “loafers”) and phrases that reference your town (for example “dentist Paramus, NJ” vs. “dentist”). Both long tail keywords and local keywords will convert better than more general generic keywords.
Use your chosen keyword phrases to inform your web page titles (the most important spot on your web page today for SEO), the copy on the pages of your website and the text of any blogs you write. Unfortunately keyword research is never over. You should periodically analyze your analytics data, and look for new terms worth implementing.
If you’d rather get help with SEO and not do this work yourself, consider hiring an agency experienced in helping local businesses get found on Google (info on our SEO service here).
If you’d like a quick overview of how your SEO is doing today, run our free SEO audit tool here.