Online business owners need to become familiar with the concept of “keyword research” because it will allow your business to open its doors to the specifically targeted customers that will buy what you offer.
The concept of “keywords” is a detailed and somewhat technical field, but it is one of the most important parts of every online business owner’s strategy to marketing successfully.
In our previous discussion we talked about what keywords are, why they are important, and how they are found.
Let’s dig a little deeper now and show you how to research the keywords and phrases that are most relevant to your business.
Let’s spend some time and talk about how to develop your keyword strategy.
1. Put yourself in the shoes of your best customer. What this means is you want to look at your business from the standpoint of the purchaser of your goods or services.
If you were looking to buy a particular item, and wanted to find it online quickly, what terms or phrases would you search for online?
Obviously, there isn’t just one word or phrase that every customer is going to search – there may be thousands of different combinations of related or similar words.
Your goal is to find the words that are most relevant and targeted to what these folks would type into the search bar on their computer screen as they seek to find what they are looking for.
We mentioned previously that the search engines have keyword tools that will show you the database they keep of all their most widely searched terms.
Since the exact addresses of these tools online can change, I will tell you how to find the most popular tool in use today.
Go to your search bar and type “Google external keyword tool” and the first result should be the one you’re looking for.
There are on-screen helps that will assist you as you use this tool if you need it – it is really pretty intuitive and not hard to understand.
2. Go to the top search results for any keyword phrase and see which words are being targeted by your top competitors. It’s an easy thing to do.
If you want to get to the top of the search results rankings, try to focus on the strategies that are being used by the sites that currently top the list!
Notice what keywords and phrases they use in their domain name, their pages titles, the page text or copy, and their “meta name – keywords” and “meta name – description.”
These latter two are found by going to the “View” button in your browser, then clicking on “Page Source.”
You will see the HTML code for that page. Look at the very top few lines of code and find something that says “meta name – keywords” or “meta keywords” – then there will be a list of targeted keywords that the page is using.
The “meta description” should also include a few top keywords that the site wants to target.
3. Brainstorm to think about all the relevant terms a customer might be looking for. Don’t concentrate on the broad or wide terms as they are too generic.
You want to focus on exact and specific keywords that best describe what you sell or what the customer will find at your web site.
Remember, you are looking for the keywords that prospects are going to be typing into their browser search bar.
If you sell black pearl necklaces, don’t target keywords like “jewelry” or even “necklaces.” The search results for these terms will be way too massive and competitive.
It will be next to impossible to put your business in the first or second pages of the returned results.
Besides, “jewelry” also includes bracelets, rings, pins, ear rings, etc. Why invite people to your store that are looking for these items when you sell black pearl necklaces?
If customers are looking for rings or bracelets, it’s not going to do you much good if you don’t sell them.
I know what you’re thinking . . . “what if I sell all of these things?”
“I want to have customers that are interested in any kind of jewelry.”
If that’s the case, then your keywords can be “bracelets,” “rings,” “necklaces,” etc. Remember, you can have multiple keywords that you focus on. In fact, the very best keywords for you will be even more specific than “rings,” for example. What types of rings do you carry? Men’s, women’s, teen’s, colors, types of ring materials, styles, etc. Be as specific as you can – as targeted and focused as you can – when you choose keywords.
4. Use quotes around the keyword phrases to ensure exactness. When you look for relevant and suggested keywords in any of the keyword tools, put your search phrase in quotes.
Here is an example:
“black pearl necklace”
The quotes tell the search engine that you are looking for searches using that phrase.
If you don’t use quotes, the results returned could be any searches with any of these terms in the phrase in any order.
If you want to find results for the exact keyword phrase (match) and nothing else, you would enclose the term in brackets, like this … [black pearl necklace].
5. Always check the competition before you settle on your keywords. Obviously, the number of competitors in popular niches will be much greater than those in obscure little niches.
Big and financially strong businesses will “rule the roost” so to speak when it comes to the most popular niches and keywords.
Your business will best be able to compete if you focus on a sub-niche and not try to go head to head with big strong companies. Here’s an example:
Don’t try to sell books online. You will have to compete with Amazon, Borders, and Barnes and Noble.
If you want to sell books, focus on some sub-niche like books dedicated to growing tomatoes organically in a home garden.
Do you understand how focused and specific that topic is?
Your job is to find the optimum balance between keyword competitors and prospect searches that will allow you to place your business in the top returned search engine results for your most targeted keywords.
There’s a lot more to it than what we have had time to discuss in this post. There is help out there as well.
There are businesses that focus on helping you to develop your keyword strategy so don’t despair is you think this field is too confusing to you.
6. My final bit of advice . . . become a student of keyword research and strategies (or have a business partner, consultant, or team member that is.)
Your efforts in being professional and smart about this field will be paid back many times over in the traffic that you are able to bring to your web site. Online business requires that you pay attention to keywords!
To your online success,