The holy grail of most businesses is to get to the top of Google. But how do you go about doing that as a small business? Much of It comes down to choosing the correct keywords for SEO and creating a plan.
If what we just said sounded like gibberish to you, don’t worry, we are here to help. Keep reading if you are starting from scratch and want to know the first starting steps to choosing your keywords for SEO.
What are keywords for SEO?
When we talk about keywords, we are talking about the words your customers type into Google search to get to your website. This can be anything from your business name, services or products. It’s worth knowing the keywords customers use to search in your industry as this is a good starting point for choosing the keywords you want to found under.
Once you have these keywords you can then implement them on your site so that search engines know how you want to be found.
The first step is listing all the keywords you think your customers could be searching for you. Get them in a spreadsheet, or do it old school with pen and paper, either way, have them ready to be reviewed at a later time.
As mentioned before the keywords should cover your business name, services or products but also have a look at what your competitors are trying to get ranked for. Have a look on their websites, and get a feel for the kinds of words that they are going for. Try to avoid vague keywords unless it’s part of a keyword phrase. ‘Floral’ on it’s own is very vague as it could cover anything, but ‘Floral Wallpaper’ is a much better keyword as it is defined. Don’t forget to add plurals as many search engines see them as separate keywords. You may find that you have a VERY long list of keywords, that’s ok, we will now start whittling down your list.
Refining your keywords using tools
Ideally, we want to get this list down to one keyword per page of your website, so we now need to work out from your list of keywords which are going to be going to be most relevant and worth the time of trying to rank under.
The first tool we recommend using is Google’s Search Console. This is a free tool from Google which allows you to see what the search engine makes of your website as it currently stands. If you don’t already have this set up on your site, it’s super easy. Just follow Google’s instructions and within 24 hours you should be able to see the information. One of the benefits of using this tool is that it allows you to see how you currently rank and under what keywords. Just go to Search Traffic > Search Analytics and click on the ‘position’ box at the top. This will show you a list of keywords that Google currently ranks you for and its average position. It is often easier to boost what you are already ranking for and strengthen what is already working.
We also suggest using an Adwords tool called the keyword planner. Primarily used for pay per-click adverts, this free tool will show you the average monthly searches for a particular keyword. This means you will know if customers are actually searching for a phrase or not. The tool is very smart and will also give you additional keyword suggestions that you may not have already thought of. These two tools alone should help you cross some keywords off your list that are not quite right for your business.
Narrow your focus
Your list of keywords should be getting shorter now but you may still have a lot of highly competitive keywords that are going to take a lot of effort to get to the top of Google with. If this is the case, think about what your customers are likely to search for once they definitely know what they want. For example, a customer who is after ‘Size 7 women’s trainers’ are more likely to convert than another customer who is just searching for ‘trainers’.
These longer keyword phrases are what we call ‘long-tail keywords’. These are longer phrases that customers may type into a search engine to find exactly what they want. They are usually not as competitive as broad keywords, meaning that smaller businesses may find it easier to get to the top of Google. Don’t be afraid to narrow your focus by thinking how you could change some of your broad keywords into long-tail as a way to capture customers ready to buy.
By this point, you should have a good collection of keywords for SEO that are relevant to your customers and business. Once you have implemented them onto your website, you can then monitor and tweak them as your business evolves.
Need further help understanding search engine optimisation and how best to choose your keywords for SEO? Check out our training workshops, alternatively get our team to contact you to find out how we can create a personalised training programme for your team!