Owning a small business in the time of technology means looking at marketing and advertising in a different light. You need to think outside the box and think of ways to draw people to your website in addition to your actual store. But how do you get people to visit your site?
Every internet search is based on keywords. Every business owner should have a fundamental understanding of keywords and how SEO affects their site and its traffic. At the core of this is keyword research. You will need to understand what keywords your clients may use to find you in their search results.
Here are a few pointers for brainstorming keywords for your site.
Use Your Location
Location, location, location! This is a long-time business mantra for a reason. Here, you need to consider it in a broader sense. If you are in Michigan, someone from Florida isn’t going to request your services. So, small businesses should add a location to their keywords. Choose phrases like “plumbers in Michigan” or “print shops in Detroit” and you will have a surefire way to help increase your traffic.
Create a Primary Keyword List for Your Business
The first thing to do is create a list of keywords or buzzwords that relate to your business. Brainstorm all the different phrases and words that are relevant to your niche, such as explanations on how to do things, care for products and tools, or other industry-related words.
You should have some keywords, but you won’t need a ton to get started building content around them. You will evolve the list as you grow your online content.
Think Like Someone Searching
When brainstorming your keywords, you need to think like the person at home in front of their computer. What are they going to ask that might bring them to your business? What words will they use? For a dog grooming business, a potential client may search for “dog groomers with openings near me” or “dog groomers specializing in show trims.”
Trying to get in the head of customers is an old marketing tactic because it works. When it comes to searching your keywords, you can get creative. Look at the different products or services you offer and think about the questions clients often ask while working with you.
Understand the Competition
Visit your competitors’ sites. What words stick out? What words and phrases are they using to describe their businesses? Do they have rich content that offers useful information to solve clients’ problems? These questions can help you develop a more thoughtful approach to your keyword brainstorming sessions.
Utilize Long-tail Keywords
Once you develop a basic knowledge of keywords and work through your content, you need to use long-tail keywords for the best optimization.
These keywords add to your rankings because they are very relevant and specific. A long-tail keyword tends to be four-plus words. This leads to increased traffic—specifically traffic interested in your site. Consequently, long-tail keywords give you a higher conversion rate.
Use All the Tools
In this industry, many tools exist at your disposal to help with researching. Using the keyword research tools at your disposal will allow you to find how each keyword is ranked and what the competition looks like.
Google Search Console and Google Keyword Planner are both free tools that many beginners start with. Google Search Console allows you to create and optimize content based on what your site is offering. Many small businesses use Google Keyword Planner to get started because it is easy to understand and use. These options do have some limitations. For instance, unless running a Google Ads paid campaign, you generally only get keyword ranges such as 100-1,000.
Consider Paying for Tools
Once you have exhausted the free tools available, you should consider the advantages of the paid tools on offer. There are some paid tools you can use, like Ahrefs, SE Ranking, and SEMrush, which provide access to metrics that free tools do not. Many will give you access to more metrics and offer better suggestions based on their access to data. This can help you increase your traffic and further develop your site.
Use “People Also Ask” Questions
When you are doing a search, you will notice a “people also ask” section at the bottom of the results page. This is an excellent resource for long-tail keywords. This is excellent fuel for content. If you provide detailed answers to these questions, people will spend more time on your site. When you are seen as helpful, you get more conversions and so more clients.
The above tips should have you well on your way to choosing the best keywords for your digital marketing strategy. From there, you can use those keywords in your SEO or PPC strategies.
Blamah is the founder of Web Collaborative, a full-service creative agency. He is an established marketing strategist and consultant. He is also a graduate of Bucknell University and native of Chester County, PA with extensive experience in business development and brand management.
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