Getting your keywords right is the first step in search optimisation for your website – and it’s the most important. After all, if you optimise your site for the wrong things you might as well not have bothered.
It can all sound a bit techy but really it’s common sense backed up by a couple of useful tools.
Follow these 3 steps to finding the right keywords for you.
Think about the words and phrases people will use to look for your product or service. Write them all down (an excel spreadsheet is really good for this).
You will generally have:
Core words or phrases that describe your basic product/service, e.g. handbags
Descriptive words, e.g. leather, clutch, cheap, luxury
Locations e.g Oxford, Devon,
There will be variations and alternative ways of phrasing things – “handbags” & “bags” for example – get them all down on your list.
Have you noticed when you start typing into the Google search box that it brings up a load of suggestions for you?
You can use this to get more ideas to add to your list.
Put together some likely phrases and start typing them in. You’ll then see suggestions and the most popular searches will appear first.
Remember to try turning your phrases around. For example “Luxury leather handbags” and “handbags luxury leather”. You might be surprised by what comes up.
You should now have a very long list! Start selecting the ones you think are most likely (but don’t get rid of the rest just yet).
The third step is to use Google’s Keyword Planner Tool.
You will need a Google Adwords account to use this. Don’t worry – you don’t actually need to run any ads but you will need to set it up.
The tool lets you type in a likely phrase and will then give you average search volumes for that phrase and similar phrases.
To start with, use this to find any words and phrases you may have missed.
Then use the search volume data to refine your list and decide which are going to be the best phrases for you to target. You’ll probably need to leave location words out of your phrases at this stage – the volumes will be too small to allow a meaningful comparison.
Once you have identified a few likely key phrases, go back to Google Search, look at the results and assess the competition. If page 1 is packed with large brands it may be best to optimise for a different phrase which has lower search volumes but gives you a better chance of getting on to that all important first page.
The Keyword Planner does take a bit of time to get to grips with but it gives some really useful insights.
Once you’ve carried out these three steps you’ll be able to make the right decisions about which keywords to use when optimising your website pages. Don’t discard the rest, however. Use them to find topics and titles for your blog articles.
And if this all sounds a bit too much like hard work, then check out our small business website optimisation package. We do all the keyword research as well as optimising your site for you.