Online marketing is an important part of most companies’ path to online success, and one of the main aspects of this is choosing the best possible keywords to target with your online activities (organic rankings and PPC campaigns). The issue is that many companies fail to put themselves in their customers’ shoes when picking their keywords, which leads to them targeting less-than-ideal keywords.
What is a keyword/keyphrase?
Simply put, a keyword is a single word which users may type into a search engine when trying to find a product/service you may offer, such as “Plumber”. A keyphrase is the exact same thing except it contains multiple words strung together, such as “Find a Plumbing Contractor”. To improve your chances of ranking on the major search engines when a user types one of these keywords/keyphrases, you have to ensure that you have a page on your site that mentions the exact keyword within its content (ideally multiple times to maximize results). By doing this, you are showing the major search engines that a page on you site is relevant to that keyword/keyphrase, which means you are far more likely to rank well for that keyword on the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Organic keywords vs. paid keywords
When thinking about keywords, it is important to factor in that there are 2 different areas where keywords will play a major role in your online marketing campaigns. The first area is organic keywords, which are keywords found within the actual content of your site, allowing those pages to be found in the major search engines when a user searches for those same terms. The other area is paid keywords, which are keywords that you may target on the various ad platforms such as Google AdWords, allowing your ad to appear in the paid section of the major search engines when a user searches for those specific terms. Whether you’re choosing keywords for organic results or paid results, the same concepts apply– you want to make sure you pick the best keywords possible to get the biggest impact with the least amount of cost and effort. Below are some tips to keep in mind when choosing what keywords to target in your various online campaigns.
What should you factor in when picking your target keywords?
When choosing the best keywords/keyphrases to target, it is important to factor in the following things.
1. Do your keywords have enough search volume?
You don’t want to spend all your time and effort targeting a keyword if people aren’t searching for it. Instead, you want to target keywords that users are actively searching for. To find the search volume for a keyword, it is recommended you use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, which is a tool that allows you to input a series of keywords and find out how many people are searching for those terms. You can access this tool for free by creating an account on Google Adwords, then going to the “Tools” dropdown and picking “Keyword Planner”. From here, you will be able to input multiple keywords and find out which ones have the most searches (potentially great to target), which ones have a decent number of searches (potentially okay to target), and which ones have very few or no searches (not good to target).
2. Do your keywords have enough context?
You have to make sure that whatever keywords you choose have the needed context to actually have value. An example of a keyword with good context is “Kitchen Faucet Repair” as it is very specific to a single idea and has the right amount of context of what a user is expending to see on that page (the user obviously has a broken faucet in their kitchen that they want repaired). On the other side of the coin, an example of a similar keyword with not enough context is “Repair Services” as that term isn’t specific enough to have any context (repair services could mean you repair boats, cars, trucks, sinks, driveways or anything else). In the end, you want to make sure all of your keywords have the needed context, so a user doesn’t have to guess what the page is about.
3. Are your keywords too industry specific?
You want to avoid keywords that you as the company owner may see value in, but in reality none of your users know that term even exists. This is a common issue for very technical industries that might use very abstract terms to describe aspects of their business, but the terms are so abstract that the average users may not know what they mean (and therefore won’t be searching for them). An example of this in the mining industry is a keyword such as “sloughmeter”, which is a tool used to monitor a cave around a stope or the collapse around an ore pass. For a company that offers this tool, the keyword “sloughmeter” makes a lot of sense and might be a keyword they wish to target. But does the intended buyer of a sloughmeter know the instrument they need by name at the moment they begin their search? It is usually best to try to “dumb down” your keywords a bit so they cater to your average user, and in this case, you would be better off targeting a more simplistic keyword such as “mining instruments” or “mining tools”, as it is far more likely a user would search for those types of terms when looking for this product.
Getting started with a keyword strategy
Now that you know what a keyword is, and what to factor in when choosing the best ones to spend your time and effort on, let’s cover what a basic keyword strategy might look like.
- First, prepare a list of generic keywords that you feel may be used frequently by your average customer if they wanted to find your business.
Example: plumber, plumbing services, plumbing contractor, plumbing company…
- Next, expand the generic keyword list with a few more keywords that are a bit more specific.
Example: emergency plumber, reliable plumbing services, plumbing repair company…
- After that, try to expand the list of keywords again by adding some keywords that are really specific to the main products/services that you offer.
Example: bathroom faucet repair, unclog a toilet, bathroom vanity installation, kitchen pipe repair…
- Once you’re done that, do a quick audit of your keyword list to make sure each of the keywords listed so far have actual value.
Example: If I had to pay $5 per click for the keyword “plumbing company”, would I be getting a good value from it, or would it be a waste of money? If your answer is that you would be getting good value, then that keyword is probably good to keep, but if your answer is that it would be a waste of money, then that keyword should possibly be removed from your target keyword list.
- And lastly, any keywords you still have listed at this point you would then input into the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool to make sure they have the needed search volume to be worth your time and effort.
So what does your keyword strategy look like? Do you follow similar steps when picking your keywords or do you have any additional tips that you feel are worth doing? If so feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments!