Hoping to Generate Traffic (and Business) From Google? Get Your Keywords Right.
The year is 1992. You own a small plumbing company in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Yellow Pages sales rep just dropped by. He spent your lunch hour rambling about how the phone book's mind-blowing distribution, how everyone uses it to find services just like yours, and how he can get you a sweet 15% off if you committed today. So you signed a contract and devoted a large chunk of your yearly marketing budget to a nice, two color, 1/4 page ad in the local Yellow Pages.
Unfortunately, instead of listing your company in the plumbing section of the Yellow Pages, you listed your company in the car mechanics section.
Uh oh. Because it's sitting in the wrong section in the phone book, prospects searching for plumbers or plumbing companies like yours will never see your ad.
You chose to spend your money on marketing, yet your money was instantly wasted the moment you chose to place your ad in an area of the phone book targeted by people searching for a different service. Big, big mistake.
Now fast forward 20 years…
In today's online search environment, millions of website owners are making the digital equivalent of the big, big mistake I described above. How are they doing it? By focusing on and targeting the wrong keywords on their website.
A keyword is a word or phrase a prospect types into a search engine when looking for a product or service. Someone in Phoenix who needs a plumber will fire up Google and type in keywords like "plumber' or 'phoenix plumber.'
On the surface, the act of choosing which keywords that perfectly fit your business seems simple and straightforward. That's just an illusion though. Read on to learn why.
What are the best keywords for your business?
Finding, selecting, and integrating the best keywords for your business is vital for online success. Right now, as you read this blog, people who want what you sell are searching online for your product or service. Can they find you?
Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo send 'spiders' that systematically scan websites looking for keywords like 'plumber' or 'phoenix plumber.' If you're the owner of Smith and Smith Plumbing in Phoenix and you don't have 'plumbing' or 'Phoenix plumbing' anywhere in your site's content, you're instantly making it nearly impossible for search engines to recognize that your site belongs on the results page when someone searches for Phoenix plumbing. You might as well show up when someone searches for car mechanics.
Yet even if you added the keywords Phoenix and plumbing to your homepage, are you confident most of your prospects are actually searching for those words? Could just as many prospects be searching for “fix broken pipes Phoenix” or “Roto Rooter Phoenix” or “Phoenix plumber emergency service”? It's possible. Maybe they are. But maybe they aren't. How can you know?
The right keywords are the foundation for online success
Getting found requires intelligent work, and the work begins with getting into the shoes of your best prospects and uncovering which keywords they enter into the search engines when searching.
Many businesses don't think about keywords. They're the ones who are leaving piles and piles of money on the table because they fail to attract new business from the search engines.
Of the businesses that do think about keywords, here's a stereotypical example of how they go about choosing those keywords:
Let's say Susan operates a pet store in Orem, Utah. She thinks “Well, I own a pet store in Orem, Utah….therefore the keywords I want to rank for are pet store Orem Utah. I'll put those words on my website's homepage. Easy!”
If it truly was that easy, then nearly all businesses would be targeting and reaching their perfect prospects. But from our discussion about Phoenix plumbing above, we know that's not the case.
This is why, here at Followbright, we provide a suite of SEO and PPC services for clients who are serious about increasing their online exposure. And not surprisingly, step #1 is always strategic keyword research.
Keyword detective methodology
Keyword research is a service commonly shrouded in mystery. What's researched, exactly? And more importantly, what does one actually get when he invests in strategic keyword research?
Great questions. Allow me to demystify the process.
Here's what we do at Followbright for our keyword research clients:
Step One: Comprehensive keyword analysis based on data pulled from website analytics, web server stats, and other sources.
Step Two: Analysis of website's current rankings and targeted keywords. (Some sites target every possible keyword yet rank for none. Other sites focus on just one or two important keywords. Our research determines where a client's site falls between these extremes.)
Step Three: We determine the keywords our client's competitors are targeting.
Step Four: We determine which (if any) keywords are already generating qualified leads and sales. This helps us when we begin to prepare a master keyword strategy.
Step Five: Research industry/geographical traffic levels and competition to gain a sense of the general environment.
Step Six: Narrow down our lists and determine which keywords our clients should target based on existing rankings, competition, and search volumes.
Step Seven: Create a negative keywords list containing keywords a client needs to avoid using.
Step Eight: Complete a thorough keyword audit across all pages in our client's existing website.
Step Nine: Implement a strategic master keyword targeting plan that powers our client's content strategy, copywriting, SEO efforts, and PPC campaigns.
The results are consistently outstanding. Make sure you check out the Higher Google Rankings and Increased Website Traffic columns on our Actual Results page for real-life results our clients have experienced.
Today's key takeaways
- The foundation of being found online is a strong keyword strategy.
- When you get your keywords right, you can feel confident your marketing efforts are reaching your best prospects.
Keyword research is more than just coming up with the most obvious words that relate to your business's services and location. A complete, expertly-conducted keyword research strategy is required to determine the best keywords for your business.