- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On August 24, 2012
To actually reach your clients, your website needs to show up for the correct keywords in Google. It won’t do you any good if you show up only for keywords that no one is searching for. To find the right keywords for your website, you need to do keyword research.
There are several different ways to do keyword research, and the more time and effort you put into your keyword research, the better your results will be. However, before investing dozens of hours in your keyword research it’s a good idea to get a better idea of some of your keywords and keyword phrases with a very simple approach like the one below.
What you are Trying to Find
Your goal here is to start compiling a list of keywords and keyword phrases that people will search when looking for a business like you and that you can appear for on page one of the search results for that keyword or phrase. To appear on page one of Google’s results you need to compete with all other businesses that might want to rank for that term so it’s important to pick keywords and keyword phrases where you have a good chance of coming out on top.
We say “keyword phrases” as for most local businesses you will not be looking for one word that people such for rather you will be looking for phrases often made up of 3-4 words. Single words likely mean you are competing against the world for that word. If you’re a pediatric dentist, don’t just use the very broad keyword “dentist”; include keywords like “pediatric dentist” and “dentist for children”. It’s easier to rank higher for longer, more specific keywords. For local businesses it’s almost a “must” to add location to your keywords; for example, “furniture stores in Monmouth County” is better than just “furniture store” as you have a much higher chance of appearing on page one for the geographically-specific term and it’s likely to bring much more qualified visitors to your website anyway.
Use the Google Search Engine Itself
Select a dozen words or phrases that you think your customers would use to describe your business. Try to get specific with your keywords. One great way to come up with keyword ideas is to go to Google itself and start typing in a keyword; a dropdown will appear listing other possible words to include in your search. These terms are additional keyword phrases you should consider.
UseGoogle’s Adwords Keyword Tool
Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool is designed to help users determine how often certain keywords are searched for and what keywords your competitors may be using. The Keyword Tool will also suggest similar keywords that you may want to look into. The tool was developed to help companies that want to pay Google for advertising determine how their ads would do but it serves as a great place to start on figuring out your keywords for free (organic) search.
Type each of your chosen keywords and keyword phrases into the Word or Phrase box. Analyze your results and see which keywords are the most highly searched. At this point, you’ll see several variations on your keywords. Pay attention to these variations; you may be surprised to see just how differently people describe your business.
With the results you will see a measure of how often a keyword or phrase is searched for and you will also see a measure of how competitive this keyword or phrase is. What you are looking for is keywords and phrases that seem like they would be used by your customers to find you, have a reasonable search volume and are not overly competitive.
Add the keywords variations that make sense to you that you did not have on your list before.
As we said at the outset of this post, this is a very simple (and quick) approach to get you started in the right direction with your keyword research. We will come back to keyword research techniques in future posts. Keyword research is a process that can get complex but doing some research is better than none and may get you ahead of a lot of your local competitors.