More than 3.5 billion searches are conducted per day on search engines such as Google. So when it comes to getting your business noticed by customers, it’s essential that you can be easily found on large search engines.
One of the main strategies for gaining more visibility on search results pages (SERP) is search engine optimization (SEO). By including relevant keywords on your website and other places where you’re online, you’re already making use of SEO.
Keywords for your SEO strategy
Keywords are the words or phrases that people use when they conduct an online search. For instance, if someone is looking for “pet services in Waterloo, Ontario” they are likely to type in those keywords in a search engine. They might even be looking for something more specific such as, “dog grooming” or “dog walking service” in “Waterloo, Ontario.”
Any keywords that are relevant to your business should be included in the main body of your website and other places where Google will scan. This helps the search engine sites categorize your website so that your customers will be able to find you.
Why keyword research matters
You might already know what your customers are looking for and so you have a rough idea what keywords to use; however, guessing won’t get you the same great results as actually doing some research. To take your SEO to the next level, you need to create a plan and research the top keywords that your customers use. Keyword research gives you insight into how well certain keywords perform compared to others based on how often people use them in their search queries.
For instance, even though “Bridesmaid Dresses in Edmonton” and “Bridal Stores in Edmonton” are similar keywords, they do not garner the same results. According to our research using Google AdWords Keyword Planner,“Bridal Stores in Edmonton” has more monthly searches and its competition is also lower (meaning there are fewer advertisers bidding for this keyword).
Selecting the right keywords affects how likely it is that your business will show up in search results, and where it stands next to your competitors’ websites — and this is why keyword research is so important.
How to research keywords
Below is a list of steps to take when it comes to researching for keywords.
- Brainstorm a list of topics: These are topics that are relevant to your business. For instance, if you own a pizza store, you may have topics such as “pizza delivery, pizza flavours or menu, nutrition, toppings and etc.). A good tip is to create a list of common questions that your customers have.
- Come up with keywords for each topic: Try to come up with a number of keywords (including variations) for each of your topics. When developing a keyword list, be sure to consider people’s search intent (what they are looking for) and what they actually enter in the search bar; make sure people can find what they’re looking for on your website with the keywords they’ve used.
- Look for related search terms: You can find related search terms by conducting a search on Google; it will pull a list of related search terms near the bottom of the results page under the heading, “Searches related to [your search query]”
- Come up with short and longer keywords: Play around with your keywords and come up with a mix of shorter (more generic) and longer (more specific) keywords. For example, “wedding planner” vs. “how to find the right wedding planner.”
- Use online tools to generate more keywords: Websites such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Google Trends can help you come up with more keywords based on what you’ve searched for.
- See how competitors rank for keywords: Know what the competition is like for certain keywords by scoping out how well your competition is doing with them. Websites including KeywordSpy, SemRush, and Google AdWords Keyword Planner can give you some insights.
- Narrow your list: When it comes to selecting your final list of keywords, your goal is to find some middle ground: choosing keywords that are frequently searched but also not too competitive (so that you can get rank well for those keywords).
Now that you have a list of keywords, you need to start implementing them throughout your website.