Finding the best search engine optimization keywords for your business demands clean data and clear strategy, but first, you need to know what they are and how to use them.
What’s a Keyword?
A keyword is a single word or phrase that tells searchers and search engines the central theme or subject of a web page’s content. Search engines match keywords in web page content to search queries while applying hundreds of different factors to decide how to rank those pages in search results. Ranking high on the first page for keywords that carry significant, qualified search volume can mean thousands of opportunities for your business to earn revenue.
The problem? Competition is high, which is why you need to know the search landscape in your industry, and have a solid strategy to rank well.
Why You Need to Do Keyword Research
Not all traffic from search engines is equally relevant for your business. For example, ranking on the first page for “clown shoes in San Diego” won’t help your lawn care company in San Jose. Target your search marketing efforts to focus on money-making keywords by doing keyword research. This practice is a data-driven exercise that marries the math of measuring search volume with the art of gauging searcher intent.
Proper keyword research helps you maximize your search engine optimization dollars by cutting the fat and vanity from the process. Keyword research is an essential part of optimizing your site to do well online. Without this information, you’re stunting efforts to promote your website and earn new business.
How You Find the Best Keywords
Judging keywords to find those that best fit your business is about matching relevancy to your website’s content and the competition in play for those keywords. Going for terms in a field dominated by massive online brands is much more difficult, at least early in your website’s life, than targeting niche specific terms. To find the best terms to target for your business, follow these steps:
Survey the Competition: Run keywords related to your business through Google and other major search engines. Make a note of the websites appearing in the top ten (first page) of the organic listings. These sites are your future, and perhaps current, competition online.
Look at the Ads: Pay attention to ad placement along the top and sides of results pages. Numerous ads is a signal that the search terms you’ve entered have high volume and earning potential.
Google Keyword Planner: You’ll need to enter your credit card information to set up a Google Adwords account to use its Keyword Planner, but you won’t spend any money. Use the tool to upload a bulk listing of all the keywords you searched before, making note of search volume and competition data that the tool gives.
Cut the Dead Weight: If the keyword doesn’t have search volume, or isn’t relevant to your business products or services, cut it from the list.
Once you have your list, optimize your website content to focus on these keywords so search engines understand the topical relevance of your web pages. Focusing on the needs of potential searchers in your content, and not simply jamming keywords into unintelligible paragraphs, is your best way forward.