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Keyword research: which words are right for your business?

Search marketing can be confusing – it’s a constantly changing field and you never know what Google has up its sleeve next. Through all these changes one thing has remained constant – keywords. Although Google now places emphasis on lots of other ranking factors, such as the quality of your content, until searchers stop typing words into search engines keywords will remain relevant.

So how do you work out which keywords are right for your business? Through effective keyword research…

Getting started with keyword research

To start with, put together a list of all the phrases that your prospective customers might use to find the kind of product or service you are offering. There’s lots of tools out there to help you do this:

Finding successful keywords

There’s no exact science to keyword research, keywords that are successful for your competitors may not work for you and vise versa. Three things to consider when choosing keywords are:

  1. Is this keyword truly relevant to your business?
  2. Will searchers using this keyword find what they are looking for on your website?
  3. Are searchers using this keyword likely to end up purchasing your product or service?

Trying to rank for keywords that don’t meet these criteria is unlikely to generate results.

The next thing to look at is the the competitiveness of your keywords.

Broad competitive phrases

These are general phrases like ‘Car insurance’, ‘Flights’ or ‘Accountant’. Broad key phrases are normally competitive and difficult to rank for.

Although there’s nothing wrong with aiming to rank for these phrases, you should supplement this with pages that target more specific terms – the long tail.

Long tail less competitive phrases

Long tail keywords are exactly what they sound like – longer, more specific phrases. There will be a smaller volume of people searching for these phrases, but there’s also less competition. By targeting phrases more closely aligned to your business, you’re helping people find exactly what they’re looking for.

As an example, ‘small business accountant in somerset’ is a longer tail key phrase that will deliver much more targeted traffic than the general term ‘accountant’.

Targeting more complex phrases with content marketing

As search engines become more sophisticated the way people are searching is changing. Increasingly people are looking for the answers to complex questions in search engines, and in order to target these searchers, businesses are investing in content marketing.

By creating content that answers frequently asked questions in your field, you can reach people earlier in their purchase journey – when they are just starting research. For example, staying with the same example as above, you might target phrases like ‘How to choose a small business accountant?’ or ‘help with tax return for small businesses’.

There isn’t a quick fix

The final thing to mention is that search engine optimisation is a long game, so expect your target keywords to evolve as you monitor progress and trends change. Organic search isn’t a quick way to generate traffic, so for a more immediate impact you should also target keywords using paid search

There’s more to it than just keyword research!

Being found in search engine results pages (SERPs) is just one online marketing activity you can do to attract visitors to your website. But putting ‘all your eggs in the SERPs basket’ is not a good idea because it’s very competitive. In addition Google and the other search engines are constantly changing the way they calculate the position of your pages in their search results, making it easy for your pages to disappear. In contrast a blend of integrated marketing services tailored for your business means you are not at the mercy of one specific marketing channel or activity. So for help with either keyword research or integrated marketing, get in touch.

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