Marketing Fun Friday: 4 Keyword Research Tips for Business Owners

Posted by on June 7, 2013 in Internet Marketing [ 1 Comment ]

Keyword searchKeyword research sets the stage for the rest of your business website’s SEO.

The keywords you target (or don’t target) on your site determine what searches Google and Bing will pull your website for and what kind of traffic will find its way to your website.

Here are four keyword research tips to help you stay on track:

Related: Get help with your keywords from one of our online marketing vendors

Look at what keywords are already driving traffic to your site

Before you dive headfirst into your keyword research process, open up your Google Analytics account and take a look at the last year (or as far back as you can go). What are the top keywords from the past year that drove organic search traffic to your site?

For instance, a CPA might see keywords like “business accounting,” “small business CPA,” or “tax CPA.” If certain keywords are already driving traffic to your site without any SEO help chances are when you put your SEO program behind them you’ll do even better organically.

  • Take a look at the top keywords for each page, not just your site overall, as you have to do keyword research for and optimize each page of your site individually. You might find some great long-tail keywords that don’t crack the top keywords overall but still have a lot of value and potential.

Remember who your influencers AND purchasers are

Depending on your niche, it’s entirely possible that the people doing the research do not have the buying power to actually make the final decision. For instance, an IT manager might want to get the company on a private cloud computing environment, but the CIO is actually the one that makes the call (provided they get the CFO to approve the budget).

Related: Think Like Your Target Audience When Choosing Keywords

The keywords you select need to take into account who your influencers AND purchasers are and what kind of search queries they might be using. The IT manager might be more interested in “moving to a private cloud” while the CIO cares about “cloud computing security” and the CFO wants to know about the “cost saving benefits of cloud computing.”

  • All three keywords (and their many variations) are potential keywords that the site could target depending on who they are trying to connect with using a specific piece of content.

Get specific with your keywords

There is a big difference between “insurance” and “small business health insurance in Massachusetts” when it comes to search volume, competition levels, and SEO value. “Insurance” is incredibly broad and could mean anything depending on the person doing the searching. Do they want car, home, auto, life or flood insurance? If you sell small business health insurance getting a visitor to you site looking for pet life insurance isn’t going to do you much good.

  • That’s why it pays to get specific with your keywords and incorporate the long tail. Those keywords might get less search volume but they send a much more targeted visitor to your site.

Don’t be blinded by search volume

Piggy-backing off of tip #3, don’t let the search volume dictate which keywords you choose! Yes, “mortgage” might get 25 millions searches a month but is that the best keyword for your website? You want to target keywords that are highly relevant to your website’s content and accurately reflect what you have to offer potential customers.

  • Keywords with high search volume also tend to be much more competitive, meaning it’s a lot harder to rank well for them. If you only gauge the value of a keyword by its search volume you could be missing out on a lot of valuable opportunities.

Related: One Always Lies, and One Always Tells the Truth: Where Do Your SEO Ranking Reports Stand?

Keep in mind that your keyword research is not set in stone. User behavior changes, your industry evolves and your business grows—and you want your SEO program to accurately reflect those changes in the keywords you target. Don’t be afraid to look for new opportunities.

Bio: Nick Stamoulis is the President of Boston search marketing company Brick Marketing. With over 13 years in the industry, Nick Stamoulis shares his SEO knowledge by writing in the Brick Marketing Blog and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter. Contact Nick Stamoulis at 781-999-1222 or 

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