Taking the Time to Do Keyword Research
Keyword Research: Know what to Write About
Getting your site ranked better on Google is a lot more in depth than many people realize. Last week we took a good hard look at the basics of search engine optimization (SEO). We briefly touched upon a lot of the points, and saw what goes into SEO.
Later in the week we took a look at content, and tried to decide what type of king content really is. The bottom line was that content is so essential to your site, that if you’re not adding new content weekly (or more) then you’re doing your site a disservice.
Today, we need to look at the topics that you should write about. This is a tough one because every website is different. Each business is going to be targeting a different keyword, and trying to attract a different audience. Fortunately there are a number of keyword tools out there that we can use to help see exactly what people are searching, and how we should structure our content to attract the greatest number of visitors.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is simply determining what words your website should target in order to draw the most number of visitors. Some of it can be done just by simply thinking about what people search for (for instance, “computer repair in Billings, MT” will lead you to the iDoctor website), or you can use some specialized tools to find out exactly how people are searching for information.
Here are the easiest ways to do your keyword research.
Use Your Best Judgment
Most likely you know what people are searching in order to find your site. For instance, for those who are looking for the services offered by Sery Content Development, they would likely search something along the lines of SEO in Billings. Or perhaps SEO Company in Billings. Those are great keywords to target because they are likely what people are searching for.
The problem with going with your intuition, however, is that you aren’t able to gather analytical data on how many people are searching for those keywords. It might be that there are 3 people every month looking for SEO in Billings, but there are 3,000 every month looking for Best search engine Optimization Company in Billings. It is here that you need to take your research to the next level, and start employing some tools.
Using Google AdWords for Keyword Research
Google has a program that lets you do keyword research. The idea here is that you will use their program in order to determine how many people are searching for a particular keyword, and then you will buy advertisement so that your site shows up at the top of the list. You don’t have to buy any ads in order to use the keyword research tool.
Your first step in using Google AdWords for keyword research is to create an AdWords account. In order to create an AdWords account, you have to start an advertisement campaign. Fortunately it is easy to get started, and easy to cancel the campaign as soon as it is up and running.
Once inside, the page can look a little daunting. Sigh in relief because you don’t have to worry about 90% of the stuff on this screen. It almost all has to do with analytics of ads, tracking your ads, building ads, and the like. What you want is the tab that says “Tools” way up at the top. When you hit that you will get a little dropdown where you can access the keyword planner.
Google has changed AdWords in the past year or so. It was pretty confusing before their change, but now it is perfectly straightforward. Once inside the keyword planner tool, you will see that there are three sections. You will want to “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category” or “Get search volume data and trends.”
Click the dropdown for “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category” and plug in your keyword. I have chosen to use a broad long tail keyword of “Search Engine Optimization.”
After you hit the “Get ideas” button, this is where things get a little more fun. The results will be a bar graph. This graph will show you how many people are searching for that specific word (or string of words) every month of the year. This is especially useful if you have a seasonal business like gardening, taxes, or something that has to do with the holidays.
The best part, however, is if you scroll past the bar graph, and check out the “Ad group ideas” section. It is here that you will really see where people are focusing their efforts.
As you can see in the results I have found, most people are not searching for “search engine optimization” but rather the condensed version of “SEO.” As you can see underneath that top result, it includes 158 variations that result in a total of nearly 1 million monthly searches. I have organized these by number of searches, and as you go down the list you can see the number of searches for each variation. The rest of the data, the stuff under competition, suggested bid, etc. all has to do with running an ad campaign. You don’t need to worry about that.
So now I know that if I want to write about search engine optimization, most people are searching for SEO, and that is the keyword that I should target.
But what about those that are targeting a much, much smaller audience? For example, what about those looking for a roofing contractor in Billings, MT? If we run that search, we see that we get a lot of general searches. Since it’s such a specific target, we need to change things up a little (by the way, don’t put a comma between Billings and MT. The keyword planner will count those as separate searches).
For this search, it will be better to switch over to the tab where we can get volume data. Running this tool will give us just the data for people searching for that exact phrase. As you can see there are between 10 and 30 searches per month. So if J&J Construction wants to attract roofing clients, they should use this keyword string in order to capture the 250 or so searches per year.
The free planner from Google is an excellent way to refine your keywords and discover what people are actually searching for. This will help tremendously in your keyword research, but sometimes it’s not enough. What if you keep getting searches that result in this display?
That is when you have to take your keyword research to the next level.
Use Your Contacts and Network
If you aren’t networking, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Building a network gives you a group of people you can go to when you need services, information, or help with keyword research. Fortunately, it is incredibly easy to get this information.
Before your next networking event, put together a list that looks something like this:
- If you were to get in a car accident, and needed repairs, how would you search for that on Google?
- Hail has damaged your roof. How would you Google someone to hire to fix it?
- Your computer has died and you need to find someone to fix it, what would you Google?
The idea is to make a list that doesn’t influence their decision. If you ask them “How would you search for computer repair in Billings, Montana?” they will write down “I would type in Computer Repair in Billings, Montana.” If you can ask the question, instead of having it written down, that’s even better.
By using this first person data collection, similar to a focus group, you will get firsthand knowledge of how people are searching. You will get their exact search queries, and you will be able to customize your keyword research around what people actually tell you.
Sery Content Development Does Keyword Research
Wow, who knew that figuring out what to write about was so complicated! The good news is that you don’t have to worry about that at all. Here is how Sery Content Development will help with your keyword research.
- We determine what your business is all about
- We ask “What are the most fun jobs you do?”
- We then ask “What are the most profitable jobs you do?”
- We get our preliminary group of keywords together from talking with you
- We then do all of this research to find out what people are actually searching
You don’t have to worry about a thing, except how to handle the extra business that will be coming through your door.
Sery Content Development wants to help you get FOUND online! We offer search engine optimization, SEO, in Billings, Montana and around the world. If you want to increase your online presence, call Chase today at 406-860-4407, send an email, or utilize our contact form.