Building a website and putting it out there is just the first step. Doing that and nothing else would be kind of like letting someone loose into a vast jungle with no map, directions or means of communicating. Unless you know their precise location you’ll never find them again, and it’s highly unlikely that anyone else will either.
Instead you have to lay a track, plot a course, leave some clues to help anyone who might be looking for that loose wanderer all alone in the jungle just crying out to be found.
This is where your all singing, all dancing digital marketing strategy comes in – and keywords are a huge part of that.
It’s a fact of modern times that almost any purchase, any experience, now starts with an internet search.
You’ll type words into a search engine which you hope will lead you to the service, product, or information you require.
Those words are ‘keywords’ and understanding which keywords your ideal customers will type in to find you – and making sure you’re on the end of them – is what will bring people to your website, hopefully to buy what you’re selling. Think of them as Hansel and Gretel’s trail of breadcrumbs if you will.
Finding out which keywords your customers are using
To begin to find out what words your customers might use when looking for your service, you need to first understand who your customers are and how they might arrive at your website.
What you’re really trying to do here is hone in on the people who will actually be in the market to want, and be able to afford, what you’re selling.
You can start by asking your actual customers how they heard about you, what they’re buying and why they wanted your product.
You can also use analytics tools for your website which can uncover exactly what people are typing in to find your site, which pages they are visiting most, where they are located in the world, and what they are looking for. This could throw up some really useful information or customer demographics that you hadn’t even considered.
If we did this, for example, we might currently find that most people are coming to us looking specifically to make sure their websites are mobile responsive, rather than more general ‘website design’ or ‘digital marketing strategy’ and we might therefore want to target keywords around that.
Finding the most valuable keywords
Assuming you’ve begun to understand your customers better, you can then start to identify keywords that will yield the most effective results, i.e. which are most valuable to your business.
The keywords should be relevant and ensure that when potential customers get to your website, they will find what they are looking for.
Try searching for the keywords you have identified yourself – how many results come up? Is there lots of paid for advertising? If the answer is yes, then it is probably a lucrative keyword.
There are various internet tools out there, such as the Keyword Planner in Google Adwords, Google Trends and the Moz Keyword Explorer, which can help you find the best and most lucrative keywords to choose, as well as analysing how much competition there is and conversion rates.
Longtail keywords and standing out from the crowd
It’s really hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re focusing on keywords such as ‘website design’ or ‘digital marketing strategy’. Thousands of results would probably come up, but also, that’s not really how the majority of people search the internet.
You might start with something very general if you’re not entirely sure what you’re looking for, but if you already have a fairly good idea, the chances are you will make your search more specific.
For example, ‘affordable small business website design in the Midlands’, or ‘making my small business website mobile responsive’.
Finding ‘longtail’ keywords like this can bear much more fruit. Not only are you honing in on likely buyers, you’re targeting people who are probably much further along in the buying process as they already have a fair idea of what they want.
I’ve got my keywords, what next?
If you have started drawing up a list of keywords (don’t worry, we can help you if you like) the next thing is figuring out what to do with them.
The keyword tools available will help you to streamline, prioritise and figure out the cost of running a Pay Per Click campaign based around these words. You should also be sure to incorporate them (in a very natural and unforced way!) into your website content.
Hopefully this gives you a basic understanding to help you get started, but if you need more information on keyword research for SEO, help is just a few clicks away!