Proper Keyword Research
Search Engine Optimization is similar to real estate where they say that there are three things to keep in mind… location, location, location. When it comes to SEO in Kitchener (SEO in Ontario, or anywhere else in the surrounding area of Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph or otherwise), it is all about keywords, keywords, keywords.
Finding the right keywords for your Search Engine Optimization program starts with as much information as possible. Of course an experienced SEO professional will be able to best assist you in order to gain maximum results, but here is some basic information to help you get started.
Your best bet is to utilize information that is available to you.
1. Google Analytics – this will provide you with how visitors found your website. If you don’t have Google Analytics built into your site – do it TODAY!
2. Your clientele – NOT yourself or your marketing team. Customers/prospective customers may not search for your product or service using the same terms that you do in-house.
3. What does your customer database/daily interactions tell you about them? Where do your customers come from? Local? Provincially/state-wide? As granular as specific neighbourhoods? Is your location known by different names?
In order to expand your working list even further, take the top keywords/phrases from your list so far and put them into a keyword tool such as Google’s Keyword Tool. There are many others out there, but Google’s Keyword Tool is free which generally makes sense for most small to medium sized businesses. The one thing to keep in mind is that this keyword tool isn’t necessarily accurate. Just because it may say there are 25000 hits on a specific keyword, doesn’t mean that owning the top position will get you 25000 additional website visits each month. (As a side note, PPC can be a good way to test what keywords can potentially work for your business but given the variables of doing it properly on your own, the results may or may not translate accurately.)
Through an in-depth look at your competition, you can potentially get an idea of what is working. Don’t assume that you can just mimic what your competition is doing. You will want to do it better and MUCH better if you want to actually dominate them. As an example, SEO in Kitchener/Waterloo/Guelph/Cambridge area is, in general terms, done poorly or not at all. View this as an opportunity to crush them from an online perspective.
A professional SEO service provider will generally do some competitive analysis to help but, keep in mind that the online world is different than you may expect from a couple perspectives. First of all, I’ve had many clients give me their top 2-5 local competitors and when I do the online research, I only see one or two of them who are ‘stealing’ clients from them online. This is a perfect example of why copying your competition isn’t the proper way to address your Search Engine Optimization/Google Ranking problem. The second thing to keep in mind is that if you are doing searches for your product/service and/or your competitors on a consistent basis, when you do a search on Google, you previous search results will influence what you see. For example, if you keeping tabs on competitor X, your SERP will reflect competitor X more frequently and will skew your SERP making you believe X is more of a threat than it actually is.
A professional SEO provider will be able to give you accurate insight into who your online competition truly is and give you a sense of what they are doing well and where there are significant areas where you can exploit their weaknesses for your profit.
By the time you have compiled a list because of your work noted above, you should have quite a lengthy list of keywords/keyword phrases. Take that list and pare it down to a manageable level. For you, 5 may make sense while for others, 25-30 may make sense. If you are doing this on your own, select the keywords/phrases that mean the most to your business. If you leave this to a professional, they will help you cut the list down according to your budget, opportunity, quality of traffic that you expect to gain from your SEO project and several other parameters to help make your Search Engine Optimization program a success.
Having the right keywords is important, but the SEO content is how you harness the power of those keywords and my next blog article in this series will speak to this very thing.
Remember, SEO is NOT a one-time ‘event’. The success of your keyword list should always be under review and open to adjustment.
How competitive do you think your marketplace is for your industry?
SEO Program: Proper Keyword Research – part 4