To many people, keyword research sounds more complicated and technical than it actually is. Really, all you’re doing is learning the words your clients and customers use when talking about your business. To some extent, the results can even at times be fairly obvious. But there’s a good chance that the words with the most searches, and how variations differ, will surprise you.
Keyword research can be valuable for you even if SEO and PPC aren’t an important part of your marketing. Keywords can inform the hashtags you use on social media and can open up new avenues to explore with your audience research. Once you know, for example, that “Smithtown lodging” gets more searches than “Smithtown hotels,” you can start searching on these keywords yourself and get a better sense of what your customers are seeing and talking about. You can do a better job of putting yourself in their shoes.
Today’s Action Step: Spend a little time doing some keyword research, just to get a better sense of popular searches in your niche.
I recommend Google Keyword Planner as the tool to use. Its data is the most authoritative: other tools either tap into this same data, or get it from who knows where. Often their information is incomplete or just as much of a hassle to use. So I recommend beginners not get into the alternatives at first.
The trick with Keyword Planner is that you need to set up an AdWords campaign and give Google a credit card to use it. This can be a little nerve-wracking, but as long as you pause your campaign immediately, you won’t be charged. Keyword Planner is definitely free. Once you’ve signed up for AdWords, you can find Keyword Planner in the Tools menu. Need help getting set up? Join the Facebook Group and someone will walk you through it.
If you’ve never done keyword research before, you’ll want to start with a 2-5 word description of your business and see what comes up. For Bite by Bite Business I might type in “online marketing blog” or “online marketing made easy.” You’ll get back a bunch of other keywords as suggestions: see what surprises you. It’s more interesting to look at “long-tail” words, like “pet-friendly Smithtown hotel,” than single-word keywords like “hotel.”
If you do already have basic keyword research for your business, try searching on a new trend customers have been talking about or keywords related to a new product or service you’re thinking of offering.
You can use what you’ve learned in the following ways:
- Adjust the way you’re talking about your business on your website and in your marketing.
- Get ideas for new content or product/service offerings.
- Improve an existing product or service based on what people are searching for.
- Highlight sought-after features or benefits.
Keyword research may seem cold and technical, but it’s actually another way to listen to your customers, and can be just as powerful.