If you read last week’s post you would have had a brief introduction into what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is, and why it’s important for your business.In this week’s post we uncover the basics of Keyword Research.

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What is Keyword research?
Keyword research, keyword analysis, keyword discovery… it’s all the same. It’s the process of finding suitable keywords that best describe your website. Keywords are the words or phrases that someone would type into a search engine. If your site is properly optimized for these words, your site has a good chance of showing in the top 10 search results of that search engine.How to find keywords for your website.Think of your target audience: people that are interested in buying your product or service. Your keywords should be specific to your type of business, and within a local market, should be specific to the area you service in. Here’s some examples of keywords for a local auto mechanic:

  • Bradford auto mechanic
  • bradford mechanic
  • bradford auto repair
  • auto repair shop in bradford
  • car repairs in bradford
  • mechanic in bradford

You can also get very specific if your mechanic shop is specific to particular types of cars, type of repairs, etc.:

  • bradford mechanic classic cars
  • classic car shop in bradford
  • bradford classic car repair

You can try and optimize for general keywords too:

  • auto mechanic
  • auto shop
  • mechanic
  • classic car shop
  • car repairs

But understand that in some industries these keywords are extremely hard to compete with, and depending on the target audience of your website may not necessarily convert traffic well to sales, which of course is the whole point of the website to start with. Someone who is searching for “car repairs” might be looking for general knowledge, or a self help document instead of a repair service. Someone who searches “car repairs in Bradford” is looking for something specific, and therefore a little further along the buying cycle then the general search is. You are more likely to convert the specific search into a sale then you would the first.

Finding Keywords

Sometmes coming up with a list of keywords can seem harder then it originally looks. This is why the Google keyword tool is so handy. Here’s how to use it: Log in with your google account (or create one if you don’t have one already) and visit the keyword tool page. Type in your website URL, and choose a category, then hit search. What you will receive is a list of suggested keywords that Google thinks is  best suited for your website based on it’s content, as well as average monthly searches they receive. Focus your efforts on specific keywords with a good amount of searches, this will give your website the ideal advantages. The number of keywords you choose is really only relevant to the content your site has to offer, on average a small business website can support 5-10 keywords, where some larger sites have the content and value to support up to 100.

Sizing up the competition

If you are trying to compete with another website for their Google ranking / placement, make a quick visit to their website. You can see what keywords they have set by right clicking the page itself and “viewing the source code” of that site’s page. Generally speaking you’ll be able to see the home page code from here. At the very top of the page, in the “header” section of the HTML code you can view the meta tags to see what keywords they use.

Meta tags are an important part of “on-page” optimization, which is the topic we’ll cover in my next blog post. For now I want you to focus on keywords. Find the right ones, see what your competition is using, and come up with at least 10 for next week.

Photo courtesy of patpitchaya

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