Surveys from Merchant Circle have shown that the search engine optimization is the single most desirable marketing medium for small and midsize businesses. These business owners understand the benefits that organic search traffic provides, but don’t always get the results they hoped. One of their biggest mistakes is failing to identify the best keywords to optimize their site for.
Common Keyword Research Mistakes Small Businesses Make
Identifying the right keywords to target is an essential step for every SEO campaign. Here are some mistakes that small business owners make:
- They try to optimize for their company name rather than industry-specific keywords.
- They target highly competitive keywords that are nearly impossible to rank for.
- They target keywords that few customers are searching for.
- They target keywords that aren’t likely to convert.
Many businesses have very effective onsite and offsite optimization campaigns, but they don’t benefit from them because they chose the wrong keywords. You need to conduct a thorough keyword research plan first.
Identifying the Best Keywords to Optimize for
There are a number of ways that you can choose keywords to optimize for. Here are some keyword research basics that you will want to be aware of.
Google Adwords Keyword Planner
Google provides data on almost every keyword that people search for. You can find this information through the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Here are some steps that you should use with the keyword tool.
Identify Potential Keywords
You may have difficulty coming up with some keywords off the top of your head. Fortunately, the Keyword Tool has a couple of options to help:
- You can add keywords that you are interested in analyzing in the “Your product or service” page. Despite the name of the column, this line doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to your product or service. You can include any phrase that your viewers
- You can enter your webpage URL in the column “Your landing page.”
You will see a page with data on related keywords. You can click on any of the phrases under the column “Ad group ideas” to see additional keywords worth optimizing for.
Filter for Ideal Keywords
The Keyword Tool also has a number of filters that can help you narrow your search. You can use the “average monthly searches” filter to restrict your search to keywords that have a minimum search volume (such as 100 searches a month). You can also filter searches based on the suggested bid for Google Adwords ads. Some businesses use this bid to target ads that seem to be less competitive. While this isn’t the best way to filter overly competitive ads, it is a filter worth exploring.
Vet for Future Conversions
Targeting high traffic keywords isn’t enough. It is equally important that you make sure those keywords are relevant to your users. The purpose of optimizing your site for Google traffic is to make sure that your keywords convert into sales.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any software programs that can tell you which keywords will convert. You will need to rely on your own judgment, but here are some guidelines that can help:
- All keywords should be relevant to your industry
- Longer, descriptive phrases (referred to as long-tail keywords) tend to provide higher conversions and are easier to optimize for. You will want to optimize for some of them as well.
- The keywords should be clear and understandable to your target market. Avoid terms that would be used by other professionals, because the focus should be on drawing your customers to your landing pages.
You will need to get in the mindset of your customers to decide which keywords are relevant. Try to be as objective as possible.
Outlining Your Keyword Strategy
At this point, you should have vetted a number of keywords that may be worth targeting. You will want to go through the list and decide which ones to prioritize. Here are some things that you will want to do:
- Identify your two or three most relevant keywords. You should optimize for these words on your homepage. These are the keywords that you will probably be optimizing for the most.
- Look for a few other relevant keywords. These words will be used for landing pages for more specific products and services.
- Look at your long-tail keywords. These words will be easier to rank for. Some of them will have high conversion rates, while others will draw prospective viewers to your site.
Your SEO campaign will be much more successful if you target the right keywords upfront. Take the time to do your keyword research properly.
Thank you for an excellent summary post. The point you make “They target highly competitive keywords that are nearly impossible to rank for.” is the key to good SEO – but how do you identify those good keywords that are possible to rank for? IMHO the average Total Page Reputations of the pages currently on the top page of Google for your keywords is the best means: Total Page Reputation includes the reputations of the page and the website. The only indication provided by Google on page reputation is the PageRank of the page and the only indication we are give on the reputation of the website in the eyes of Google is the PageRank of the HomePage of the website.