This is part 1 of an 8 part series.
The Eight Essential Steps To Successful Internet Marketing
Step 1: Create A Keyword Strategy
How do your customers find products or services on the web? Unless they have a site already bookmarked, they likely use a search engine to find what they are looking for. If you are trying to build your business, you have to make sure that your website comes in at the top of those search engine results. Building your keyword strategy is essential.
Keywords are those words or phrases someone types into a search engine to find information they want. Keywords also work in social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. A keyword can be a single word or an entire paragraph, though most are two or three words long.
Why is Building a Keyword Strategy So Important?
According to a 2011 survey, over 75 percent of Internet users do product and service research online. To take advantage of this traffic, you need to optimize your website so it ranks high in search engine results. Keywords are a cornerstone of optimizing your website and social media profiles for search engines.
Predicting with 100 percent accuracy which keywords will give you the most traffic is impossible. However, you can do research on which keywords are popular and competitive. You can also test keywords by adding content to your website and seeing who visits.
Doing keyword research is an ongoing process. As trends emerge and fade away, so do keywords associated with them. Checking your keywords periodically will show these trends. This allows you to keep your website at the top of the search engine ranks.
Optimizing your website means you can grow organic traffic. When you get traffic through organic search engine ranking, you can save money on pay-per-click campaigns through Google Adwords or another PPC company.
How to Create a Keyword Strategy
When selecting keywords for your website optimization, keep these things in mind:
What words or phrases would someone use to look for your service or product? For example, if you are a plumbing company in Chicago, a couple of keywords might be "plumber Chicago" or "Chicago plumbing services." Think of as many keywords as you can.
Local businesses need to include all the communities they serve. A Chicago plumber may also offer service in a neighboring city like Oak Park. A keyword might be "Oak Park plumber."
Unless you are a large corporation, own a highly recognized brand, or are a famous local business, your keywords will not include your company name. Most people will not look for "Joe's Plumbing" unless they know you personally.
Be sure to include long-tail keywords. These keywords are the ones that are more specific to your company. For a Chicago plumber, a long-tail keyword can include "residential plumbing services Chicago Illinois."
Ultimately you want to create a list of 10 to 20 keywords for your products and services. In the next step, you are going to whittle that list down to three to five keywords.
Selecting Your Final Keyword List
When you have your list ready, you need to rate each entry for relevance and competition level. The ideal list will contain relevant keywords that offer plenty of traffic without being too competitive.
Some keywords are very competitive. Think of how many entries you will see if you search for "plumber Chicago". For small and medium-size companies, getting to the top ranks of highly competitive keywords is very difficult and expensive. You need to get traffic from the less competitive keywords.
How do you rate a keyword for competition level? You can use a tool like Google Keyword Tool. You type in the keyword and it gives you back the amount of traffic the word has and its competition level. You want one that has higher traffic numbers but a Low or Medium competition ranking.
A bonus of the Google Keyword Tool is that it returns a list of related keywords and their statistics. You may find some terms on that list you had not thought of.
The next step is to rate whether a word is relevant to your business. If a person is trying to find a plumbing parts dealer, they will search for "plumbing parts Chicago" or "drain pipe Chicago." If you are a plumber providing service and do not sell parts to the public, those keywords might not be relevant.
Now you likely have a shorter list of keywords at this point. Go through them and use your knowledge of the business. You have to strike a balance between relevance and difficulty. You want keywords that match your business very well. But, you do not have to have a perfect match out of the gate.
Design and Optimize Your Website Around Your Keyword List
You have your list. It is time to make them a part of your website. Adding keywords in the right places is search engine optimization. You can add them to your content, as descriptions for images, and in your social media profiles.