In the movie To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch tries to impress upon his daughter, Scout, the importance of empathy when he says, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view." It's very good advice, especially when it comes to keywords business research. These words should also resonate with marketers. You can't be an effective messenger for your business if you don't put effort into thinking about solutions from your customers' point of view. Thinking about your customers challenges from your customers point of view is essential to developing a good keyword strategy. After all, keywords drive targeted traffic to your website at no cost to you.
What are keywords and why do they matter?
Keyword selection is the foundational to the success of your website. In its most basic form, keywords are the words and phrases of significance to your industry that Internet users type into the search box of a search engine, such as Google, to find websites that match what they are looking for. Some keywords get hundreds of thousands of unique searches per day, while others may only get a few hundred.
While it is important to use the keywords that are most commonly used, it is important to remember that for those words the competition is fierce. Highly trafficked keywords are very competitive, because there are many businesses vying to get the same customers. The key to a successful keyword strategy is twofold:
- Pick keywords that have a high search rate.
- Pick keywords that have lower rate of competition.
Your little diner might truly make the best hamburgers in New York City, but you are unlikely to rank for the word "hamburger"—it is a great keyword, but has huge competition.
Where are keywords used?
Keywords can be used throughout your website pages. Some keyword search term examples are:
- "Real estate" "Albany"
- "Best realtor" "Lake Placid"
- "Real estate agent" "Montreal"
- "Selling A House" "Tips"
- And just about anything else you can search for
Why do you need keywords?
- Keywords are the foundation of each of your website pages. They are what each page on your website is built around. Your keyword phrase is essentially the topic of your page and what it's about.
- Keywords will tell a search engine the purpose of your page. Search engines are the bridge that introduces qualified prospects to your website. Think about it: A search engine has less than a second to figure out what your page is all about. It crawls your website pages, trying to determine what that content is by the keywords you've used. Then it pushes those results to a search engine results page.
- Most importantly, the right keywords will help users and potential customers know that they have arrived at the right place. When they visit your page, they'll see those keywords and know they've found a website that fits their needs.
You can now see why keywords are important. They help bring the right visitors to your website. And that's why proper keyword research is so essential to attracting traffic needed to meet your business goals.
Keyword Research Best Practice 1
When picking keywords there are many best practices. Uncover the language that your buyer personas (customers) use. A good keyword strategy always starts with your intended visitor. Search engines like Google are constantly trying to ensure that sites that are relevant and helpful are at the top of their search results. Don't guess at what your visitors are searching for. Ask them. Think about their perspectives, their motives, their backgrounds and goals.
Here are some questions to ask when doing keyword research:
- What products or services do you offer?
- What problems do your buyer personas have that your company helps solve?
- How would you describe your business to somebody who has never heard of you?
- What common questions do your potential buyers ask?
The answers to these questions will help you describe your business, and also understand what your buyer personas are searching for online. You can also use keyword research tools like the ones we outlined here.
Keyword Research Best Practice 2
You need to determine if you can rank for these keywords. Now that we know the keywords that our ideal buyers are searching for, how do we know that we can rank for them? Not all keywords are easy to rank for.
Let's look at an example, like "real estate." A lot of people would like to rank for "real estate," but the competition for that keyword is really high. The reason for this is the keyword might be too broad. Get more specific. Think: "Condo Real Estate For Sale Downtown Toronto." These keywords are more descriptive and specific to your business. These more descriptive keywords are called long-tail keywords.
Why More Descriptive, Long-Tail Keywords Are Better
- Long-tail keywords have less competition, which means a higher ranking for you.
- Long-tail keywords are going to be more relevant to your business, which means more qualified traffic to your site. These keywords might have lower search volume, but you know that this qualified traffic is going to lead to a better conversion rate.
- Brainstorm content around each keyword phrase. If you want to start ranking and getting traffic for your keywords, you must start optimizing content. Content like your website pages and your blog posts must always include a keyword. Content on your website pages tends to be more business and sales oriented, so use keywords that describe your business, products, services and industry. On your blog, your content is more focused on education and providing information, so the keywords you use on your blog should be more focused on those problems that your buyer persona has and the solutions they need. The good news? If they like what they read on your blog, it's a gateway for them to keep exploring the rest of your site.
Keywords are just one part of your marketing mix. Is your marketing strategy up to date? Contact us for a free marketing assessment. It takes half an hour and can be the key to making that next step towards success.