Online business owners need to become familiar with the concept of “keyword research.”
I will explain, in a very basic way, what keywords are, why they are so important, and how they are found and used.
Very simply, keywords are the words you use on your web site and in your marketing to let your prospects know exactly what your business is all about.
They are the words that succinctly “target” your audience.
Keywords are used so that search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN will understand what your business is all about so they can send you customers that are looking for what you have to offer.
From your prospect’s point of view, keywords are the short phrases that they will enter into web searches in order to find what they are searching for.
Here is an example:
Let’s say that Wendy the web surfer wants to go online and find a store that sells wind chimes. How does she begin her search?
It’s pretty elementary – she goes to her favorite search engine (there’s a 65% chance she’ll start at the Google search bar) and types in what she is looking for: “wind chimes.”
So how does Google know where to send Wendy? That’s easy . . .
They send her to web pages that are built around (“optimized for” is the industry term used) the “key” words “wind + chimes.”
If your business doesn’t give Google the heads up that you have wind chimes, no one interested in wind chimes is going to find your web site (at least the chances of someone accidentally finding you are pretty slim indeed.)
Obviously, a business can have multiple keywords depending upon what your web site sells and discusses.
So picking the right keywords is critical to helping potential customers find your business.
Not only that, but you want to pick keywords that are very targeted and focused on exactly what you are selling.
In our wind chime example, you could have chosen a keyword phrase like “decoration” or “yard ornament” to describe what you have at your site; however, those keywords are not specific and they probably aren’t going to be the keywords that folks looking for “wind chimes” are going to type into the search bar.
Remember, in essence, you want to choose keywords that shoppers are going to be using as they search for what they want.
The more specific and targeted they are in their search using exact words, the better the results will be that the search engine comes up with.
Now as a business owner, you are not left to your own thinking when it comes to choosing pertinent keywords.
Google and other search engines have gigantic data bases that are filled with the keywords that people type into the search bars based on history of the past month or year.
They have developed “keyword tools” that will show you exactly what searchers are typing into the search bar so you don’t have to guess which keywords are most popular and which are seldom hunted for.
In addition, most of these search engine keyword tools (programs) will suggest related keywords, a very nice and handy feature.
There’s no way that you’re going to know all the various phrases that folks are searching for.
As you use these keyword tools you’ll also be given the number of times a particular word or phrase is used as a search term.
This is quite helpful as it lets you judge which words and phrases get used most often in comparison with similar keywords.
You wouldn’t want to target just one or two keywords for your business that get only a few searches every month.
Very low search volume tells you one of two things: (1) your keyword is not being looked for so few folks are going to find your business, and/or (2) there are very few people interested in your business niche as evidenced by the lack of searches.
Choosing the right keywords, those that focus on exactly what your business is about, and those that are being searched on quite often and regularly every month, will allow the prospects interested in your business to find you.
Every online small business needs to be concerned about and aware of their best keywords as it is critical in making your business accessible to the potential customers that will be looking for you.
One of the strategies that smart small business owners use is this: targeting keywords that have less competition.
You see, besides the search engines telling you how many folks are searching on your keywords, they will also tell you how many competing pages there are that can show up when the search results are displayed to the searcher.
Obviously, the fewer competing pages there are, the more likely it is that yours will be the ones displayed. This is critical for every business.
You see, most keywords have hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands, and many even millions of pages that can be served up when a search is answered.
Most folks aren’t going to dig through that many results – typically they focus on the top 10 or 20 search results and ignore the rest.
Can you understand why it is critical that your web pages turn up in the very top results?
What good does it do to be on page 53 where no one is ever going to find you?
The more your web pages are optimized for a particular keyword or phrase, the higher your pages will climb in the search “rankings.”
The search engines always rank their returned results based on a number of factors (but the search engines don’t say exactly what they look for) so you need to understand from the experts what those factors are.
Head to Part 2 of this discussion and we’ll share some further details about researching keywords for your online business.
To your online business success,