If you are reading this blog post, you probably already understand the concept and importance of keywords and the research that goes into finding the right keywords to bring customers to your site. Choosing the correct keyword phrases (not just keywords) can mean the difference between your site being a success or failing quickly. The choices you make when choosing your keyword phrases should take the following into account:
- what your customers are looking for (be careful not to simply choose industry terms your customers may not know)
- which pages you want them to find (inserting keywords on important pages, not just the home page)
- what is the competitive nature of the keywords you are choosing (no point in trying to rank for keyword phrases that are out of your reach)
ROI is king at Big Oak so we want to choose keywords that bring in the best return on your investment. This means that we don’t always target the most popular keyword phrases; we target the keyword phrases that will bring the most traffic that converts to sales. Longer phrases can be much easier to rank for and usually bring in a more focused buyer, not someone merely kicking the tires.
How do we find the keywords? What tools do we use for keyword research?
At Big Oak we use a variety of tools for choosing the best keyword phrases for our clients:
Google AdWords Keyword Planner
The defacto keyword research tool for us and probably all SEO companies. We use it for both SEO keyword research and AdWords (PPC) research. If you take a look you will see the focus is on building an AdWords campaign, which we can do for you (Hey, we are a Google Ambassador!), but you can also use it for SEO purposes.
As with most things in life, this site doesn’t provide its data for free. There is a limited preview, but to see the whole picture you need a paid account. Good news for you, we have one of those and we use it for our clients to help us find which keywords are going to bring in the right customers. We use this for competitor research and look to see how your competition is rankings and what keywords bring them traffic.
This is one of the oldest keyword research sites and has good data on high volume keywords, so trying to find data on local, low-volume search may not yeild much data. You will need a paid account to really use this tool effectively.
Combine the Right Keywords with the Right Words
Of course, keyword research should be used with marketing savvy. Once we have your keywords defined and approved by you, we help with the writing, keeping an eye on writing content that will drive traffic to your site and convert that traffic. So we like to make sure we are using the right words to do so, which is where these lists comes in…
Finally, try to remember that you are essentially trying to ease a pain point for your customer. So we need to think in those terms as well. “What would I be searching for if I needed a solution to the problem?” Often that means thinking creatively about the way people will search for your business, service or product. Not in industry terms, but in problem solving terms.
Here is a quick example. If you own a chiropractic service in Richmond, VA you will want to rank for keyword phrases (or search terms) such as:
- Richmond Chiropractor
- Chiropractor in Richmond, VA
These are perfectly acceptable keyword phrases, but you should not overlook the problems and pain points (literally in this case) that potential customers are looking to get help with. So we would expand our keyword research into other areas, such as what pain issues are most often searched for that a chiropractor can help with. Now we can write new pages addressing these issues, such as:
- neck pain from sleeping
- back pain relief
- hurt my back sneezing (crazy, right?)
We have found more relevant search terms that are being researched by motivated people who need help, and fast. That is the most desirable type of customer. This touches on audience segmentation which is at the heart of keyword research. Who are your customers and what are they searching for? These examples are limited, but hopefully you can see how using an SEO company (hopefully us) can use strategic thinking with the right tools to give you an ROI that won’t give you a pain in your neck.