Let’s start with an overview of “What are Keywords”. Keywords are specific words or terms that describe your business and products. These are the words or group of words that a person puts into the search bar at their favorite search engine – generally Google. (NOTE: Google is 92.49% of all search queries across all search engines.)
Keywords are used to help refine content on your website, group content into categories or tags on your website and decide hashtags for social media. Keywords should be used in titles and content developed for your website, as well as product titles and descriptions.
Why should I know more about keywords?
Keywords help communicate to search engines (and social media algorithms) to know what your content is all about. All search engines (including search on social media platforms) have developed complex algorithms so that when a person searches for a term, they get the best possible result. Don’t you want your business to be listed?
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By learning more about the keywords or search terms that actual people use, you are able to better write titles, product descriptions and deliver content that would give you the best possible result.
NOTE: Keyword strategy and implementation is not a quick-fix. Results will take 3 – 6 months, maybe even longer. If you have a vendor who says they’ll get your website to the #1 search result in one month – RUN! They are not working smartly for the long term for your online presence.
Where do I start finding keywords?
Okay, so you agree that slow and steady to win the long term race is the best idea. Where do you start?
Think about your business. Iff you were going to look for the products or services that you provide, what would you put in the search bar on a search engine? Write down 8-10 words or phrases.
Next, go to Google and put those terms in search. Look at the results. Are the top results what you expected? Are those potential competitors for your business? If not, try other keywords.
If the keyword resulted in businesses similar to yours, you are on the right track!
How do I refine a list of keywords?
So, you Googled the first round of keywords. Maybe you had to refine some results. That’s okay.
Now go back to each of those words and put them back in Google search bar again. Scroll down to the ‘Answer Box’. This is the area on a Google search result page that has other questions that are related to your search. Here is an example:
Take each one of the keywords and phrases that you came up with and find what people also ask. These are important topics to cover in content on your site, whether it is articles about your business or industry, or included in product descriptions.
I recommend starting a new document for each keyword/phrase. Starting with Google is the first step to developing a thorough keyword plan.
Next, look at the top organic results – those are the ones after the Answer Box and the Sponsored results that are clearly marked “AD”. Check out the top results – click on them and see if they are related to your business. If not, that is not the right term for your list. These are the results that Google feels as though provide the best possible results for the searcher.
There are many sources to continue to find and refine your keywords. As you start adding information to your basic keyword research, you may find that one keyword is too broad and that your business is more specific. Break a broad or generic topic into two or more keywords, and do the research above.
There are several more FREE tools to help you flush out exactly what terms and phrases need to be included when writing your copy.
Answer the Public is free for a limited number of daily searches. Put your term in the search box and it will provide you with all of the things people search for on Google related to that term. You’ll find ‘how’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ terms. These are great to add to your lists – remember: only add the relevant terms you find that can help describe your business, service or products.
Google Search Console: If you have a website, you should have both Google Analytics and Google Search Console set up for your site. These are useful tools in helping you understand how people find your website, which content is most popular and what terms they are using to find you.
In Google Search Console (GSC), you can browse the left navigation to Performance / Queries. This will give you a list of the terms people actually put in the Google Search bar and clicked on and then visited your website. Browse through the list. Are these the terms that you think should drive traffic to your website? If not, take a look at the content on those pages, maybe the copy needs to be rewritten to better describe what you want someone to learn from that page. If there is something that looks interesting and is related, add it to your list!
Social Media: Keyword research can help you with your hashtag strategy for Instagram. Take your terms identified above and put them into the search bar on the social platforms that you post on. Do the results reflect your business, product or service? If so, add it to a list of potential hashtags to use.
Other Tools: There are a lot of other tools that you can purchase that provide a lot more detail and information on keywords. The ones above provide a good starting point and are all FREE!
Implementing your keyword strategy
You now have a good list of terms that clearly communicate your business.
Did you see any of those terms when you reviewed GSC and the terms people actually use to get to your site? If so, great! How can you refine that copy on your website? Maybe add some of the questions you identified in the Answer Box to the page so that your website can become the authority in that topic. Maybe you need to write a new page or post for your website that addresses some terms that are closely related to your business and you don’t have any information on your website.
You don’t need to update everything at once – that can be a huge undertaking. Make a plan and try to stick to it. Doing this work WILL pay off. Your website works for you when you are doing other things. Let the content on your website (or on social media) drive traffic to your business – all it takes is a little time to update and develop new, relevant content.
Start small. Take one term and think it through. What can be updated? What needs to be new content? How can you share this across your social channels? Do you have relevant unique images to accompany your content? (NOTE: Never just take images from the web – this is copyright infringement. If possible, take your own unique photos for both your website and social posts.)
Plan on a regular posting of updating and developing new content. Maybe it’s once a week, or once a month – whatever works for you and your team.
We don’t have time to think about keywords.
Just like everything in your business, it’s about setting priorities.
Ask your team who might be interested in this project. Chances are you’ll find someone that would be interested in taking on editing and writing new content. Sometimes, it’s the person you least expect that raises their hand. Set expectations on how much time they should spend on this project. Generally 1-2 hours a week commitment can move the needle in the long term.
If you could receive solid leads or generate sales while you are sleeping or working on other parts of your business, would you turn that down? That’s what a solid keyword strategy does – the keywords work for you so that the right people find your business when they start their search at Google. Is that a priority for you?
Learn more about digital marketing with our articles on Create Whimsy.