By Christian Bullock on September 23, 2010
Compete on the right keywords for your site
Good keyword research is the cornerstone of any website’s success.
It’s time-consuming, yet incredibly rewarding.
Keyword research gives you insight into the words people use to search for products, services or information. That insight can help you craft content for your website that will make it rank higher in searches for your important keywords.
Research Keywords Across the Web
People perform millions of searches on Google every day - 235 million per day in July 2008, according to Forbes magazine. Based on all that data, Google has created a tool that allows anyone to view the estimated monthly searches for any keyword or keyword phrase.
Keyword research can help you decide which words you should use to describe the product, service or information you’re offering. You may think you’re selling beauty supplies for the pampered pet, but the keyword tool shows you your customers are searching for "dog grooming supplies."
You can check the popularity of a keyword in both global and local searches. Local searches are those performed in your targeted country and language. Global searches are those performed in all countries and languages.
Google’s keyword tool will also show you terms you haven’t actually searched for. You may find some keywords that are both reasonably popular and a good match for what you sell.
Research Your Site’s Keywords
If you are gathering analytic data on your website – for example, using Google Analytics – you should consult this data to see if any specific keywords are producing activity on your site. If “puppy shampoo” is bringing visitors to your website, keep that puppy soaking.
The companies you view as your competition on the street may not be your competition on the web. For example, your local dog grooming business may find that a well-read dog grooming blog ranks higher in searches for “dog grooming.”
Do your own search for your most important keywords, and check out the websites that rank high in these searches. How strongly has the No. 1 website focused on one of your desired keywords? If the site is using the keyword in its title tag, subheads and throughout its content, it could be difficult to compete.
This doesn’t mean you should abandon a keyword that’s right for your site. But it does mean you will have to work harder. Besides including the keyword in your title, subheads and text, you should try to emphasize the keyword to show its importance. Use bold font or color as appropriate, and use the keyword occasionally as anchor text to link to other content on your site, or to other websites.
Use Keywords that Describe Your Unique Offering
Identify what sets your services apart from others. Try taking a look at keyword phrases of three or more words. Though not searched as often as single keywords or two-word phrases, these longer keyword phrases are more specific and thus usually less competitive.
In the first image, we see that “dog grooming supplies” is a fairly competitive keyword category, with 9,900 global monthly searches (though not as competitive as the even more general "dog grooming," at 301,000 global monthly searches). In the image above, we see that the keyword phrases "dog grooming salon," "dog grooming at home" and "dog grooming shampoo" are all searched less frequently.
If you can find moderately searched keywords that are a good fit for what you're selling, they're a good bet for including in your site's content. You’ll probably rank a lot higher on searches for these keywords than you’ll rank for a super-popular keyword phrase.
As a bonus, all of these keyword phrases are considered less competitive for anyone wanting to buy Google AdWords ads that will appear when these terms are searched. If you find less competitive terms that are appropriate to what you sell, it could be cost effective to buy ads against those terms.
Advanced Keyword Tips
- Look for any problem-based keyword phrases – phrases like “how to groom my pet” or “what type of comb is best for dog grooming.” These phrases are perfect titles for articles or information pages you can publish on your website. They’ll attract attention from people seeking information, and bring them to your site.
- Check Google Trends for current buzzwords in your industry. Create content based around those words as part of your online marketing strategy.
- Google’s “related searches” setting is a great way to see additional relevant content based on any search you just performed. Consider these related keywords as a basis for building good content on your website.
Now you’re equipped with keyword knowledge, and ready to outwit the competition. Get to it!