How Keyword Research Helps SME’s Get Ahead in the Search Engine

IMG_1246Like all other types of marketing, SEO is all about planning the right campaign. You can put in as much effort as you like, with the most talented staff, but if you don’t have your strategy mapped out then you won’t hit the desired heights.

Keyword research is a huge part of planning an effective marketing campaign. How can you use it to grow your small business online? Let’s take a look:

Identify your keywords

No-one knows your business better than you. So consider your business and the products and services you provide and identify which terms you believe your target market will search for online. Once you’ve a vague idea of the words you’d like to rank for, you can use Google’s Keyword Tool to see whether you’re in the right ball park.

Google’s tool isn’t a completely accurate way to identify keyword opportunities, and it’s created more for use in PPC campaigns, but it’s still the most accessible, reliable way to ascertain whether you are competing for the right stuff – and whether there are some other popular keywords you’ve not already considered.

See what you shouldn’t try to rank for

Sometimes, depending on your industry, the internet can be an intimidating place. And for every viable, potentially lucrative search term that small businesses can rank for online, there are countless others that are simply not worth the time and the effort. Unfortunately, there are probably bigger brands out there that have the bigger budgets to rank for the really competitive terms.

That’s not to say that getting on the first few pages of the search engines is a losing battle for the humble Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) – you just have to pick your fights.

Use longtail keyword research to increase conversions

There are two types of keywords:

  • Short tail – 1-3 word search termsthat are less specific and more competitive.
  • Long tail – 3 – 10 word search terms that are more specific and less competitive

Generally, the longer the keyword is, the less competitive it’d be. And while short tail keywords can help you get huge swathes of traffic to a site, they are hard to rank for (see above) and often they don’t always result in conversions.

After all, if you’re searching for a laptop and enter ‘laptops’ into Google, you’re probably not too sure which laptop is the right one for you and you’re a fair whack away from actually buying one. Whereas searching for ‘HP i5 8gb laptop’ means you’ve a clearer idea of what you want.

Adapting pages to rank for longer keywords doesn’t just mean you have a better chance of ranking well, it also helps you to reach people while they’re further down the ‘buying funnel’ – with more chance of the visit ending in conversion.

Use longtail keyword research to grow your blog

You’ll be well aware that many people use Google as an authoritative encyclopaedia: a resource where they can have their questions answered and find a solution to any problems they’re encountering.

Long tail keyword research also informs what you should be writing about on your blog – ensuring that you can act as an authority in the eyes of your customer and bringing large amounts of interested, relevant visitors to your site.

If you’re looking to identify the blog content that people are searching for, head over to Wordstream, which has marketing software to help you find quality long tail ideas.

Philip Woodward writes for Liberty Marketing, the fastest-growing digital marketing agency in Wales. Liberty specialisz in ethical SEO, PPC and Social Media marketing.

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