Do you know what a “keyword” is? You might think you do but a surprising number of small business types don’t. Here’s why keyword research matters and what you can do about it.
For example, if you’re a pet sitter, you might think a good keyword for you might be “dog”, “Cat” or even “pets”. Makes sense, right?
Do you know what happens if you use those terms? You’ll be buried on page 1096 or 1267 or,….you get the idea.
Broad terms like those are too generic.
After all, if you have a location based services business like pet sitting or landscaping or plumbing, you need to be so specific that you include the location when you can. For example, “pet sitting in Doylestown “ may be a great term for you if you’re looking for clients in the Doylestown area.
Singular or Plural
However, should the term be pet sitting or petsitting? Dog walking service or dog walking services?
You won’t know if you don’t check. That’s where www.googlekeywordtool.com comes in.
Almost daily I consult this or other keyword search terms in the course of doing keyword research for clients. I’m always surprised by how popular some of the terms are.
Check out the below screenshot. These terms are from keyword research I did for a naturopathic doctor’s site.
It’s ok if it doesn’t make sense to you. Just take a look and I’ll explain below.
Let’s look at the naturopathic doctor—3rd one down. For those who don’t know, a naturopathic doctor is someone who uses natural healing techniques in their practice including Eastern methodologies.
In this instance we see the term “naturopath” has quite a few searches—368,000. The local searches are a bit lower, 110,000 (I’m logged into Google so it’s showing you the terms relative to my area).
The “competition” is listed as “medium”. That medium, high or low number is a statistic figured by the software and we’ll use it to know the best way to optimize the webcopy.
Depending on the client and other marketing components (Adwords, strong social media, blogging, etc.) , I’ll choose the best terms and rank them using my experience, judgment and the data.
Let’s go back to the term “Petsitter in Baltimore.” What other terms do you think people will use? Maybe “Petsitting in Baltimore”, “Petsitter zipcode”, “Dog walker”? Once you have 5 or 6 terms, you use software to tell you which ones are the best to use.
Here’s a screenshot from Google Adwords Keyword Tool:
The high, low and medium is based on competition. The numbers are how many searches there are monthly.
Your goal is to find terms that are frequently searched without a huge amount of competition.
Google’s Keyword Search Tool gave these terms me after a quick search on “Pet sitting in Baltimore”. As you can see, there are many variations on that term. Some of them can be useful to you.
For example, do you offer doggie daycare? If so, you’ll benefit from calling it “Dog Daycare Baltimore” since those are the terms people are using to search.
You can drill down further too.
Let’s look at the supply, the demand and the best profit potential with another keyword tool called WordTracker.
Here’s another screenshot. You’ll see 3 columns of numbers. The first is the monthly searches. The second is the competition for those terms and the third is the “Profit Potential”.
As you can see, the words are a little different even though I still searched with “Petsitter in Baltimore” as a keyword phrase.
A Quick Analysis
Let’s look at the term “dog care”. There are 22,199 searches a month. That’s good. There are also 20113 websites already ranking for this term. Ok. That’s a bit stiff.
However, since you’re a pet sitter, you only need to rank well for this term + the geographic area you serve. So, you might decide “dog care in Baltimore” will be one of your webpages.
“Dog Walkers in Baltimore” and “Dog Walking 21202” can be additional pages. You can give staff bios on the “dog walkers” page and “dog walking” can give more details about how your dog walking service works. How long the walks are, the areas you cover etc. Including the zip code, you allow those who search using a zip to find you easily.
Tip: Search Engines Index Individual Pages — Not Websites.
What this means is every time you create a new webpage, you need to title them differently and use good keyword search terms to help you get found more often.
Semantic Search Plays a Role
As Google strives to think for us and serve up the exact right answer at the right time, it’s incorporating context and past behavior into search. For example, if I type “flights” into Google, this is what I get.
You can capitalize on this by ensuring your website contains pages based on certain topics that are popular with your customers.
Assign the keyword terms for each page and write the copy using them in a way that’s natural, speaks to your visitors AND tells the search engines what your site is about!
After all, good keyword terms are at the heart of any SEO plan.
Of course, once you have your keyword terms, what do you do with them? Read this post on SEO 101 to learn how to use them to “get the click” when your prospects see your website on the search engine page.