What Is Keyword Research?
Before you begin any search engine optimization (SEO) efforts for your small business, there’s one very important step you need to take to set yourself up for success – discover how your ideal customers are searching for your services on Google and other search engines… and if they are searching at all.
In other words, you need to find out what words and phrases they type into a search engine when they begin their customer journey for your services. These words and phrases are known as “keywords”.
When someone enters a keyword into a search engine, this is known as a “search query”.
“Keyword research” is simply the process of identifying the search queries that people are entering into search engines, such as Google. This research allows you to understand the actual words and phrases people are using to find services like yours.
Keyword Research is Your Strategy
Fortunately, this process doesn’t have to be too complicated. There’s a simple solution for doing keyword research in minutes.
How to Do Keyword Research:
My Easy Keyword Research Method in 5 Simple Steps
For this method, you’ll need to use Google Chrome as your browser (which I suggest you use anyway).
Step 1 – Google Autocomplete
This feature works great when trying to come up with subtopic content ideas for your blog posts or service pages. For example, if you are a chiropractor creating content related to pregnancy, you’d discover that people search for things like “chiropractic benefits and risks during pregnancy” and use the word “prenatal” in their searches more than you may have thought.
Step 2 – Keywords Everywhere Extension for Chrome and Firefox Browser
Not only this, but Keywords Everywhere also offers data on the Google suggestions themselves (see the example above). These suggestions from Google are a great resource for finding the most searched terms related to what you’re searching.
It also allows you to export the results as a spreadsheet.
The pricing for Keywords Everywhere starts at $10 for 100,000 searches. (If you use an average of 40 credits a day, this will last you 250 days. Well worth it!)
Step 3 – Select 3-5 Keywords Per Service or Topic
Step 4 – Divide into Primary vs. Secondary
Primary keywords are the ones that are integral to what your business is and does. They are the phrases you will invest significant time and energy in and will earn you higher rankings. One of them should be the focus of your homepage, and others should have pages dedicated to them.
Secondary keywords are ones that are more suited to your content strategy. You could use these phrases as inspiration for blog posts or YouTube videos. I recommend structuring your content around these secondary keywords and make some of them the headlines for your content’s subtopics.
Step 5 – Determine the Intent of Viewer
Customer intent is the biggest thing business owners and marketers overlook when they are selecting keywords. They don’t take the time to consider WHY someone is searching for a certain term or phrase. Just because something gets the most searches, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a keyword the customer would take action on. For example, if you’re a mattress store that only sells locally in Omaha, it would be silly for you to target the search term “mattresses online.” Why? Because the person searching that phrase is likely looking to purchase a mattress via Amazon or online retailer, not from a local store. Putting time, energy, and money into that keyword isn’t worth it.
Instead, you need to simply take a step back and consider the intent of the viewer and if your service or product is the best and quickest solution to their search needs. If it’s not, you need to choose a different keyword to focus on.
For example, a hair stylist may want to focus on “hair salon” even though the term “hair cut” gets far more searches. “Hair salon” is far more accurate to all the services they offer, and it’s also more indicative of the types of clients they want. They aren’t looking for a guy who wants a quick haircut to walk in the door; they prefer the higher paying customer who needs a full cut and color and yields a higher profit.
Now that you have selected the absolute best keywords to focus your time, energy, and money on, you are ready to take action. Begin creating content tailored to the keywords you chose, either with blog posts of website content.
Tim Soulo from Ahrefs (Ahrefs is an SEO and keyword research tool) put it best when he said, “only target topics [keywords] if your business, your product, or your service would be the irreplaceable solution.” If your business can’t confidently offer that solution, you need to focus on another keyword or create content on your website to be the best possible resource to solve the problem.
For more information on keyword research, SEO, and the basics of Google rankings, check out my YouTube channel where I break down these concepts so small businesses can be easily understood them.