Knowing the answer to this question can help you significantly boost customer traffic and sales. Unfortunately, too many business owners go on gut instinct to answer this question. The reality is that most don’t have a darn clue on what is going on in the heads of their customers.
To discover what keywords your customers are actually using, you need to do some serious research. Keyword research uncovers the opportunities where your website has a chance to get on Page 1 of Google for various search results.
Consider this… Google Page 1 search results receive nearly 90 percent of all clicks. That makes it critical to rank high for search terms relating to your business. Keyword research is the solution. In this article, you’ll discover the right way to do keyword research. Keep on reading…
The first thing that you need to understand is that keyword research isn’t about what you think about your business… it’s about what your customers think.
To start, you need to identify what search terms and phrases your customers use to find and buy your products. Scribble down some answers to the following questions.
- How do customers explain the problems and needs they want solved?
- How do customers describe your business?
- How do customers describe the products and services that you offer?
- What do customers think is special about your business?
Are you drawing a blank? If you can’t answer these questions, you need to LISTEN to your customers. Start paying close attention to how shoppers are describing your products when they call with questions. Don’t be afraid to flat out ask them how they describe your business.
As you begin to listen, jot down some informal notes on what they’re saying. You’ll want to keep track of important phrases, jargon and shorthand abbreviations that they’re using to describe your business, products and services.
Look to Your Website
Besides talking and listening to your customers, take a look at your website analytics. By examining your keyword traffic sources, you can get an idea of what customers are typing into search engines to find your business.
To do this, you need to make sure Google Analytics is properly installed on your website. If you’ve just started using it, you’ll want to wait at least a month or two. That way you’ll have sufficient and accurate keyword insights.
Once you’ve had Google Analytics on your website for a while, take a look at the top keywords on your website. You can do this by visiting Traffic Sources > Overview. There, you’ll see the top keywords people are using to find your website.
You’ll want to pay attention to the keywords with a high number of visits and a low bounce rate. This usually indicates that people liked what they saw. However, use your judgment. You want to make sure the keywords are RELEVANT to your customers.
Organize Your Notes
As you pour over your notes, start looking for patterns. For instance, if you sell auto parts, you might be noticing keywords such as auto parts store, car parts store, oil filters, spark plugs, radiators, etc.
Organize these keywords based on categories. Staying with the auto parts store example, you might have the following categories… engine parts, brake parts, exhaust parts, interior accessories, etc.
The idea is to arrange your keyword ideas in a way that makes sense to you and your customers.
Select Keyword Research Tools
Online keyword research tools are valuable resources. They give you a glimpse of what customers are searching for on search engines. These tools can help you sniff out the right keywords for your website.
Unfortunately, there are lots of keyword tool options. The decision in selecting the right ones can be a little overwhelming. To help you out, here are some of the best keyword research tools.
Keyword Research Tools
These tools will help you examine keyword volume.
- Google AdWords Keyword Tool – This free tool provides you helpful keyword insights. It includes information on monthly search volume as well as keyword competiveness. It’s important to note that the AdWords Keyword Tool is designed for paid search advertising, so you’ll want to crosscheck information with other tools.
- WordStream – This SEO software suite is one of the best. It includes a robust offering of keyword tools including keyword search, keyword niche and keyword grouping features. Pricing for WordStream starts at $299 a month. They do offer a free trail. It’s definitely worth taking a test drive.
- Worktracker – SEO experts regard Wordtracker as one of the top keyword research tools. Wordtracker provides accurate measurements on keyword traffic. It also allows you to see what keywords the competition is using. Wordtracker is a subscription-based service. Monthly rates start at $69. They offer a free trail.
- SEOmoz – SEOmoz is a full scale SEO software suite that includes keyword research tools as well as detailed analysis of the keywords that you choose for your website. SEOmoz is a subscription-based service with monthly rates starting at $99. They offer a free trail.
- SEO Book Keyword Suggestion – This free research tool is great because it provides you with comprehensive search insights for Google as well as Bing. To access this free tool, you must register for a free account here.
- Trellian – Trellian is a popular free keyword suggestion tool. Trellian pulls keyword information from several search engines. It gives you plenty of keyword suggestions to consider for your website.
Keyword Competition Tools
These tools will help you find out the competitive landscape of a keyword.
- SEMRush – With this free tool, you can see who holds the top positions on Google for organic search results. It’s a great way to examine the competition for various keyword search phrases.
- SpyFu – This helpful online tool allows you to get important insight into keyword competition. SpyFu includes easy-to-read graphs that will help provide insight into the challenges of getting on Page 1 for certain keywords. SpyFu starts at $79 a month.
- Google PageRank Checker – This free resource will show you the Google PageRank of a webpage. It’s a great way to find out the difficulty of knocking a particular webpage out of the top spot for a Google search result. Webpages are ranked 1 to 10 (10=high PageRank).
- SEOmoz Rank – This tool from SEOmoz will give you the popularity of a webpage for a particular keyword. You’ll see the number of backlinks as well as a popularity score of 1 to 10 (10=high). SEOmoz is a subscription-based service with monthly rates starting at $99.
These are some of the keyword research tools that you should consider. Be sure to use any free trails before making a commitment.
Conduct Keyword Research
Step 1 – Expand Keyword List
The first thing that you’ll want to do is begin expanding the keyword list that you generated based on customer brainstorming and website research. You can do this by entering these keywords into a tool like Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Once you enter the keywords, you’ll get an expanded list of relevant keywords.
Step 2 – Examine Keyword Search Volume
Once the keyword search tool gives you the results, you’ll want to begin looking at the search volume of keywords.
The goal is to pinpoint keywords with a significant search volume. Notice we did NOT say the highest search volume. That’s because they may be irrelevant to your business or just too tough to get high rankings.
You’ll want to identify keywords with at least 1,000 monthly searches. Because keyword search tools are not entirely accurate, consider running keyword searches on at least two other tools such as WordTracker, Trellian or SEOmoz.
Step 3 – Explore the Competition
You might have found what looks like a few great keywords with a significant amount of monthly searches. However, you’ll need to examine the competitive landscape first.
It’s quite possible it will be very difficult to break onto Page 1 of Google for a particular search term. That’s because the competition may be fierce for that keyword. The key is to find keywords with a significant monthly search volume that aren’t highly competitive. Here are some tips.
- Use Long Tail Keywords – These are search terms that are three or more words. They typically have a lower search volume, but are less competitive. Here’s an example “Goodyear Eagle tires for Ford Mustang.”
- Try Geographic Locations – If your business serves a particular geographic market, it might make sense to include cities or regions within the keyword phrase. As an example, a car repair shop in Arizona might use “Phoenix oil change.”
You can examine keyword competiveness by using tools such as SEMRush, SEOmoz as well as the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. With the AdWords Keyword Tool, the keyword competition is based on paid search, so it’s not entirely accurate, but gives you a ballpark idea of competition.
Step 4 – Select & Organize Keywords in Glossary
Once you’ve identified some keywords, you’ll want to choose which ones are the best. Now you might be asking yourself… How many keywords should I select?
That’s a very important question to answer. It all depends on the size of your company and the number of webpages on your website. If you own a very large company, you may have hundreds of keywords. Smaller companies may only have a few dozen.
The key is to select no more than two to three keywords for each webpage on your website.
As you identify keywords, organize them in an Excel spreadsheet. This is how you begin to develop a keyword glossary.
A keyword glossary is a list that allows you to manage and map important keywords for your website. You can see an example below.
A keyword glossary makes it easy to assign keywords to online content.
Step 5 – Identify Landing Pages for Keywords
After you have your keywords organized in a way that makes sense in your keyword glossary, it’s time to identify the webpages within your website that are the most relevant to the keywords.
As you go through your website, you’ll want to include the URL of the most relevant webpage next to the keyword in your glossary. It’s that simple. In some instances, you might realize that you need to create a whole new webpage for a particular keyword. That’s okay.
Once you’ve assigned webpages to all of your keywords, you’ll want to optimize each page for the keyword. This will include modifications to:
- Landing page URLs.
- Headlines and sub-headlines.
- Title and meta tags.
- Website body copy.
You’ll want to include your keywords in the above areas. It’s the first step to improving your search results for your keyword list.
Revise Keyword List When Needed
It’s important to understand that a keyword glossary is not set in stone. It’s a living document.
It’s always good to pay attention to your website analytics to identify new keyword opportunities that may help your business grow.
At AfterMarketer Club, we’ve helped many automotive industry companies develop keyword lists that have significantly improved search engine rankings.
To find out how we can help you, visit our automotive search engine optimization services page. There, you’ll discover more about our sales boosting SEO services. For any questions, please call us at (602) 412-3426.
Published in SEO