using keywords

By Gennady Lager

Are you struggling with how to select the best keywords to use in your small business website, organic search strategy, and paid search and online marketing campaigns? Try these tips.

  1. Start by analyzing your product and service offering within your industry. Are people using standard phrases to describe what they want, or is your industry more jargon-based? This will help to hone your keyword direction.
  2. Educate yourself about your competition.  Analyze their title tags, description tags, headings, and navigation anchor text links.  To help with this process, check out the Moz Firefox or Chrome add-on which will instantly pop-up all of these elements on your screen.  Of course, your competitors’ same keywords may not be ideal for your company’s website to target.
  3. Utilize one of many keyword research tools. My favorite is the Google Keyword Research Tool because it’s flexible and comprehensive (who has more keyword data than Google?). Make sure you understand the different filters within the tool.  I recommend using Exact Match and utilizing the closely related keywords filter.  Next, differentiate between Global and Local traffic depending on your business.   For example, if you are a local business operating only in the US, then use the Local column. Finally, you can filter the data in many different ways based on country, browser type (mobile, Web, images, etc.), categories, min/max search volume, and many others.
  4. Group your keywords.  Once you have an expanded list of keywords and a good idea of the types of keywords you want to target, put your keywords into related buckets and map them to your specific pages of your website.  This will also highlight page and content gaps.  If you come across a bucket of keywords that you cannot map to any specific page, this is an indication to create a new page, make sure it adheres to the standard use practices of those keywords, and ensure the page fits logically within the information architecture of the site.
  5. Finally, a trick to have up your sleeve – paid search allows for easy testing.  To avoid running a long-term content and link building campaign (to find out if your keyword selection converts), consider using paid search to determine your best converting keywords and matching landing pages.  Take this data and apply it to your organic search campaign.

In Part 2 of this series, I’ll explain why choosing the wrong keywords might be hurting your business’s sales.

Gennady Lager is Head of Search Strategy at Trace Media Marketing (