Six steps to growing your business with keyword research
Most people running an online business are aware of keywords and search engines, but are you really using them properly? The free Google AdWords tool and paid toolsets like SEOToolSet and Wordtracker can analyse your keywords and tell you how many people are searching for them every month. Use these tools and our six-step checklist to fine tune your offerings and improve your search engine optimisation.
1. Create a list of keywords
Do some brainstorming on the keywords you think apply most to your business offerings and create a list. You might get a head start by searching the web for “optimiser” lists of keywords that others have prepared.
Think about the actual searches your customers will perform – the “How can I” or “Where do I” questions. What best describes your content?
2. Analyse your list
Use your chosen analysis tool to get an idea of how many searches per month are performed using each phrase, allowing you to narrow down the most important items on the list.
3. Get suggestions
Most keyword-analysis tools will also provide suggested keywords, which lets you see what else people might be searching for based on your list. Allow the software to suggest alternate keywords and use the results to get a better understanding of how people are actually querying search engines. Often this information will bring up search vectors you hadn’t previously considered.
4. Refine your list
Re-examine your list to be sure the keywords and phrases you’ve narrowed down accurately describe your products or services – and of course match your website content. If you’re using keywords in SEO that don’t match then your rankings may suffer. At this point you may want to use a keyword-density checking service to scan your content and get an idea of how well your site represents that keyword.
5. Choose the most popular searches
The keyword-analysis tools will tell you how many searches are being performed per month for a given keyword or phrase, and obviously the higher the better. The more people that are searching for a given word or phrase that you optimise, the more likely they are to end up on your site. You may find that a keyword you’ve chosen only receives a few thousand searches per month, while a slightly different word or phrase is searched for hundreds of thousands of times.
6. Identify long-tail searches
A single keyword may attract a large volume of searches, but you’re competing for rankings against everyone who uses that keyword. A “long-tail” search is one that is much more specific and you can use the keyword-analysis tool to identify very niche searches that receive high volumes.
If, for example, the keyword “sports watch” had one hundred thousand searches per month, you might find that “What is the best sports watch for hiking?” comes in at thirty thousand per month. If you’re selling watches that are good for hiking, you have a found a valuable long-tail search for your niche.
You don’t want to rely on these exclusively, but keeping an eye out for them might net you a good chunk of extra traffic. Keyword analysis gives you much greater control over your SEO and ultimately helps you connect better with customers. Use the tools available to fine tune your site and watch your conversions improve.