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5 tips for picking the best keywords for your website

November 9th, 2012

Keywords don’t come from trees.

Using the right keywords will attract website visitors who will become new customers for your business. But keywords don’t come from trees: you have to choose them carefully.

In the first four articles in the How Anyone Can Get More Results From a Business Website series, Boostsuite discussed how to createoptimize and promote new content for your website in order to attract more visitors.

They also showed you how to measure your marketing effectiveness to see where you stand.  Now it’s time to look at how to choose the best keywords.

Article two  discussed the need to optimize your website using the keywords that matter most. Let’s take a closer look at how to do that.

The building blocks of every search in Google, Bing, and Yahoo are keywords. Keywords (or keyphrases) are words that searchers enter into the search box when looking for something in the search engines.

Here’s just one example of why keywords are so important. When the search engines return a search results page you may have noticed that the searched keywords are displayed in bold if they are matched on the suggested pages. Because of this, having the right keywords in the right places on your site will allow your search engine listing to stand out more strongly than your competitors.

Now the question is, how do you figure out which keywords are best for you? You’re not alone in this proverbial search for the holy grail. We’ll show you where to find your best keywords. Spend a few minutes on this now and you’ll earn a big boost in your web marketing results.

5 tips for finding the best keywords for your website:

1 – Walk in Your Customers’ Shoes

Think first about your target audience. Brainstorm with the employees in your business who interact directly with customers so that you can learn what your customers are already asking about. If you talk with customers yourself, then you probably already have your finger on the pulse of your customers’ common questions and requests. Write down a long list of words and phrases that your customers commonly use. Don’t worry about being perfect: just be thorough.

2 – Focus on What Makes You Different

Look at your list and make sure that it contains words that describe how your business is better than your competitors. If not, add some differentiating words to the front and end of a few of your existing words. If you’re a boutique beer store for instance “beer store” might become “craft beer store” or “india pale ale” might become “seasonal india pale ale.”

3 – Be Specific and General

Add your product or services names to your keyword list. Many products have multiple names so don’t forget to include them all. For instance if you ran a technical engineering product store you should list technical names like “RADEX RD1503” as well as common names like “Geiger Counter.” Then think about your products and services together as a group. Write down general terms like “radiation detectors” and “technical engineering devices” that describe your product or service categories.

4 – Use Words that Work in a Sentence

As we discussed in the second article in this series that explained website content optimization, you will end up integrating your keywords into the text of your web pages. To make this a more reasonable task go ahead and delete or edit any keywords that can’t be easily used in a sentence. For instance a complex keyphrase like “washington DC craft beer free delivery” should be split into two different keyphrases like “free beer delivery in washington DC” and “washington DC craft beer store” which are easier to build into two cohesive sentences later. One and two word long keywords are usually much easier to use in sentences so they’re probably fine the way they are.

5 – Test Your Keywords Against Real Search Engine Data

You have your unique keyword list, now it’s time to see which keywords have the most potential to drive more traffic to your website. Use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to test your keyword list. Copy your entire list (one keyphrase per line) into the “Word or Phrase” box. Then enter your website URL and then select your general business category in the two following fields. Click the “Search” button to run a report.

The resulting table will display your keywords (and some other keywords that Google may suggest) with additional data shown for each keyword. The keywords with the most potential for your business have a “Low” Competition level and a high number of Monthly Searches. If your customers are only within your local region, use the Local Monthly Searches number. If your customers are all around the world, use the Global Monthly Searches number.

Create a new list of the twenty five keywords that have the lowest competition level along with the highest monthly search numbers. Congratulations, these are the best keywords for your unique business.

Now, you need to get to work optimizing your existing web pages by integrating each keyword throughout at least one page on your site. If your website is smaller than 25 total pages then it’s time to start building new pages about each of your new keywords.

Follow these tips and you’ll shoot above your competitors in the search engines. Potential customers who might have ended up on competitor websites will now visit your website instead. — by Ryan Kettler

The first four articles in the series are:

How you can get more results from your business website

Spend your time on what matters most: optimization

Online marketing tasks that matter: promotion

Measurement: always know where your web marketing stands

Be sure to tune in next week for the final article in this six part web marketing series. We’ll finish up by telling you how to turn all of your new website traffic into more sales leads and revenue for your business as we discuss website conversion optimization. See you next week.

Ryan Kettler is Director of Communications for BoostSuite. Ryan is a sports fanatic, beer connoisseur, Internet marketing zealot and live music enthusiast. When he’s not helping BoostSuite customers he can be found sampling the latest IPAs and cheering on his North Carolina State Wolfpack.

BoostSuite is a web marketing optimization product for small business owners. Unlike current products that bewilder and discourage small business owners, BoostSuite allows novice web marketers to build more website traffic and convert more online visitors into customers and leads for their businesses. BoostSuite is free and takes only one minute to set up, is easy to learn, and can be used by anyone.


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