If you want your business to succeed online you need to understand the value of all aspects of digital marketing, including seo and ppc. Though seo takes time and ppc requires money, the effect each method can have on your website’s visibility and ranking in Google is worth the initial cost and effort. So if you’re prepared to take the plunge your next question might be, where do I start?

SEO and PPC Campaigns Begin and End With Keyword Research

It’s exciting to begin a digital marketing campaign, but if you don’t know how to conduct effective keyword research the excitement will quickly dwindle. When you begin a campaign, whether it’s seo or ppc, you need to decide on a list of terms, products, and services that are relevant to your industry. May I suggest beginning broad and working down to narrow terms. For example, if you own a dental office in the Denver Colorado area, you may begin researching the volume and competition for keywords like “dentist Denver co”, “orthodontist denver co”, or “dental office Denver co”. Once you’ve identified a broad list of keywords, move on to a list of specific terms. Some ideas may include: “braces for children in Denver Co”, “Highly recommended dentists in Denver Co”, and “cost of wisdom teeth removal Denver Co”.

What Tools Should I use for Keyword Research?

The easiest tool to use for keyword research is the Google Keyword Planner Tool. The tool is free and extremely user friendly. All you need to do is sign up for an account with a gmail address, select the area you want to focus on, and then type in a list of broad keywords and see what Google gives back to you. After you do that, you’ll notice that Google will show you the average number of monthly searches for each term you typed in at the very top, and a host of variations in the rows below. If you’re struggling for ideas in the early stages of your research, try typing in the url for a specific page on your website in the landing page box and see what ideas Google generates for you. It’s a nice idea to copy and paste several keywords from the list and type them into mergewords.com as well. The site is a keyword variation generator that takes multiple keywords and generates more that you can use in your campaign. This is a very helpful tool to use when conducting keyword research, especially if you’re new to the process.

How Do I Decide Which Keywords to Select?

When you’ve completed your research and you’re trying to decide which keywords to use in your campaign, there are a few important factors you need to consider.

1) Are the keywords relevant to the products and services your company offers?
2) How stiff is the competition for your list of keywords?
3) What is the average monthly search volume for each keyword you plan to target?

Relevant Keywords

If the keywords you select aren’t relevant to the products and services found on your website, you’ll find that any visitors you do attract will bounce from the site fairly quickly. It’s not too difficult to find the right keywords, just make sure any keyword you want to target aligns with something you can offer customers. Don’t target the keyword “orthodontist Denver co” if you only do general dentistry. You’ll only frustrate customers more if you don’t provide them the info they’re searching for.

What’s the Competition Like?

When you’re running a ppc campaign you can see how competitive a particular keyword is by taking a close look at the competition column. When doing seo, you’ll need to manually check the first page results for all your keywords. If you find quite a few advertisements above the organic results at the top and even more on the side it’s a good indication the keyword is highly competitive. You can also look at the websites listed on the first page of organic results. If the sites on page one are owned by heavy-hitters in the industry, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to outrank them anytime soon. If this is the case, try looking at long-tail keywords that don’t attract as many visits. If you can rank well for a large list of long-tail keywords, you’ll be surprised how much traffic you can capture.

Do the Keywords Have Search Volume?

Without search volume, keywords are completely useless. Depending on your area and industry, it may be difficult to find a long list of keywords with little competition and lots of search volume, but you need to target at least a few keywords that are showing volume in the Google Keyword Planner Tool. If it shows no volume in the planner tool, try doing a Google search in incognito mode. If a keyword comes up, it’s been searched before on Google, which means there IS volume, it’s just not enough for Google to list it. If you’re not having luck with the higher volume keywords, try targeting more long-tail keywords with lower volume. You can actually capture more traffic this way.

Summing it all up

If you’re just diving into the world of digital marketing, seo and ppc may seem like a daunting task. But just remember, as long as you master keyword research, the rest of the work can be done. Typically you should choose a list of about 6-12 keywords to target early on, and you can switch those out for new keywords once you get the original list ranking well on Google and the other major search engines. Seo and ppc are the keys to success online, so read and learn all you can if you’d like to jumpstart your business.