“I think my customers are typing _______ into Google to find me.” If the answer to this question was the deciding factor for the keywords you chose than you may want to start over.
Keyword research is the first and most important thing when starting any online marketing plan. It is also the best way to target your buying audience. So, why do so many people GUESS? about their keywords?
People often guess because it’s the easiest thing to do:
- Because they don’t know what they don’t know (they didn’t know they could research them)
- “Who knows my business better than me!”
- “When I type in my company name I come up first.”
- “If I were a customer this is what I would type in?”
These are all good reasons to “think” this is the way you are being found. The problem is that guessing is the basis for the decision. You can not take the chance of missing your target audience based on a guess. That is why keyword research is so vital to any online marketing strategies.
The best way to start any keyword research is a seed list. Now, even though I just said not to guess at your keywords, this is the only time it is ok. This list is just to give us an idea of where to start.
For example, if I am a granite & marble distributor my seed list might look like this:
- Granite for sale
- Granite Distributor
- Marble Wholesaler
- Marble and Granite
This is a good start but not well targeted. My best recommendation is to take your seed list and run it in a good keyword research tool. There are many tools out on the market these days designed for keyword research.
We mostly use Word Tracker. So far, we have had a really high success rate with that tool. However, I am not opposed to using other great tools like Keyword Discovery. Both of these tools are paid tools. Word Tracker is less expensive than Keyword Discovery and for the most part works really well for our clients. But, Word Tracker only gives you the past 90 days of search info. Keyword Discovery offers 1 year of data. If I sell seasonal items or need to research what was being searched this time last year then Keyword discovery is going to be the tool I use. I also like to cross reference my research from Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery against Google Suggests and Yahoo so I can hone in on my target market even more.
I know that everyone these days is in search of something for nothing. So this is to those of you who are too cheap to buy your keyword research tools. You get what you pay for! In my opinion, this is the most important step in your online marketing efforts. It should be done at the drawing board phase of planning your business. Don’t be cheap about it. Ok, enough about that.
Here are some benefits to doing keyword research:
- You will find words and phrases you never imagined people were searching for
- You will be able to find words and phrases that are highly searched with low competition
- You will find more high performing topics that are of use to your specific audience
- You can study your buying audiences search behavior
- You can pick up extra traffic by targeting common misspells
- You will be one step ahead of your competition who is not researching keywords
The key is to stay organized and choose the words that best fit what your content is about. Write for the human reader. No search engine has ever bought from a website. So don’t add your keywords to your content unless it makes sense. I could actually go on for days about this but I can’t, so you’ll have to attend one of our SEO Training Courses to find out more.
The moral of the story is STOP GUESSING ABOUT KEYWORDS and do the research. Do it first before anything else. Research your competition, your seed list and your long tail phrases. Find out exactly what people are looking for and then properly implement those keywords into your site. Put your site out for indexing and you will see the difference.
Until next time…
Steve Scott is the CEO & Director of Training at the Tampa SEO Training Academy. He has taught SEO skills to people from around the world and currently offers his hands-on search engine optimization training workshops in Tampa to individuals and businesses of all sizes. Corporate SEO training classes and consulting are also available.