Choosing the best keywords and keyphrases for your small business is an integral part of successful Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and driving targeted traffic to your website. Keyword research can help you with on-page optimisation and the creation of relevant, high-quality content. We take a look at how to build a useful list of keywords with the help of Google’s free Keyword Planner tool.
Keywords and keyphrases are essentially the words people type into search engines when they are looking for a particular product or service online. With SEO you are essentially optimising your online presence to try to rank higher in the ‘organic’ (non-paid) search engine result pages (SERPS) for searches closely related to your business. Of course there are all sorts of elements involved in how search engines rank businesses on SERPS but keyword research is central to helping you gain better ranking and ensuring the right people are linking through to your site.
Obviously a good understanding of your business, industry and customers is essential and will lay the groundwork for successful keyword research. Essentially keyword research is about identifying the words and phrases prospective customers use and then having your business rank on those particular SERPS. Start by thinking about what is at the heart of your business. For example;
- What do you do?
- What is your business about?
- Who are your prospective customers?
- What are they interested in?
Don’t be afraid to ask for other people’s opinions such as suppliers, existing customers, friends and family. Other points of view can give you a fuller and more accurate picture.
Using Google’s Keyword Planner tool
Once you have a starting list of keywords related to your business you can utilise free tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner to help you build up your list. These tools can help generate keyword ideas and provide estimates of monthly search volumes for specific keywords of phrases. With some time and experimenting you can build a useful lists of relevant, optimised keywords to implement online.
Google Adwords is really designed for pay-per-click advertising (PPC) but its Keyword Planner is also a great free tool for small businesses and start-ups to use to help with their keyword research. To get started you just need to register for Google Adwords. Google Support provides helpful step-by-step advice to using its Keyword Planner that will guide you through getting up and running. Alternatively another article I found really useful was from SEOMARK which takes you though the process step by step and is written specifically for those not using Adwords for PPC purposes.
However, in a nutshell, once you’ve logged on to Google Adwords:
- Click on the drop-down ‘Tools’ menu and then select ‘Keyword Planner.
- Click on ‘Search for new keyword and ad groups ideas.
You can now start getting keyword ideas and getting a feel for the kind of volumes particular keywords of phrases bring in.
- Type some of the initial keyword ideas you came up with that described the fundamentals of your business into the ‘Your Product and Service’. In the example below I’ve typed in ‘handmade silver jewellery’.
- Click on ‘Get ideas’. Then change the tab from ‘Ad Group’ to the ‘Keyword ideas’ tab. This is the screen you should see:
- This will provide you with the average monthly search volume for the keywords you entered.
- Underneath is a list of similar keyword suggestions from Google.
Keep experimenting with keywords and phrases to help build a useful list of relevant keywords. You can build specific keywords lists for each page of your website. The average monthly search volume will give you an indication of a keywords usage.
Use keyword planner for Longtail keyword ideas
Don’t forget about investigating long tail keywords as well. These are usually phrases of 3 or more keywords. For example ‘silver jewellery’ is a very broad term, the monthly results may be high but the quality of traffic may be poor with conversions low. A long tail keyword is longer and can be more specific to your business for example ‘handmade stirling silver necklaces’. The search volumes will be lower but it is more targeted and the quality of your visitors may be better, which in turn may result in a higher conversion rate.
Making the most of your optimised keywords list
Once you’ve researched and created your keyword lists you should put them to good use to optimise your online presence and target your content marketing. This will help towards your SEO efforts.
1.Use your keywords to optimise your web pages.
Ensure that you utilise your keyword lists to include relevant keywords and phrases for each individual page.
- Pages URL: Create a short, explanatory URL using keywords that accurately reflect the content of the page.
- Title Tag: This is the headline for your pages search listing and appears on the top of your browser. It is really important to include strong keywords here – the general consensus seems to be to aim for about 55-60 characters.
- Meta Description: Like Title Tag, your meta description doesn’t appear on your page but on the search engines results page. It is essentially additional copy reflecting the content of your page. Try to make is compelling as possible using appropriate keywords and phrases from your keyword list.
- Body of content: Use relevant keywords naturally in the context of your copy throughout the page.Whatever you do do not ‘keyword stuff’ search engines will spot this and it will work against your rankings. Essentially if you aim to provide, relevant, interesting and engaging copy for your prospective customers you won’t go far wrong.
- Images. Adding relevant ALT attributes to your images help the search engines identify what your page is about.
2. Wider content marketing
Use your keyword lists ideas to generate interesting and compelling content for your prospective customers. In addition to on page optimisation, use keyword research to hone the content of your blog articles, press releases, infographics, white papers, news articles and social media. Search engines love unique, high quality, fresh and engaging content. Utilising your keyword research will only help you in your SEO efforts.
Hopefully this has given you a bit of insight into the important part the right keywords can play in organic search and where your business ranks. Undertaking keyword research is a really beneficial exercise and there are some great free tools like Google’s Keyword Planner that can help you build a useable list of optimised keywords and phrases for your online business.
We’d love to hear your thought and experiences on this, so please do leave a comment.