Identify effective keywords to drive traffic to your website. Effective search engine optimization (SEO) is a key to inbound marketing success. The goal of SEO is to make your site easy to find by search engines, Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. A search engine’s job is to provide the most relevant results when users search specific terms. To help them identify your site as relavent, the terms that users enter to search for the information you have on your site must be included in the copy and description for your page.
Step 1 – Access Google’s Keyword Tool
Google’s Keyword Tool is free to use and relatively intuitive. If you already have a Google AdWords account (to manage PPC or Pay-Per-Click advertising), you can find a link to the tool in the main navigation menu at the top of the page. Click “Tools and Analysis”, then “Keyword Tool”.
If you do not already have an AdWords account, you can still access this tool here: https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool
Step 2 – Find Potential Keywords
In the block at the top of the page, based on your knowledge of your business enter logical potential words and phrases that a prospect may use to find your service or products. I have used a Ford dealership in Atlanta as the example, entering common phrases that someone looking for a Ford dealer might enter. The keyword tool will provide other options along with an indication of how difficult it would be to rank on the first page for the each search term (competition) and the number of global and local monthly searches for each keyword or phrase.
Step 3 – Identifying Opportunities to Rank
To identify potential keywords and phrases, scan the results list for options that have “medium” or “low” competition with relatively high local monthly searches. In this example, “ford atlanta ga” and “atlanta ga ford” have medium competitiveness and more than 8,000 searches per month. This combination makes these two phrases excellent targets that have a better chance of success than some of the more highly competitive keywords.
Step 4 – Analyze Keywords in Google Trends
After identifying keywords with strong search volume and relatively lower competition, use Google Trends (formerly known as Google Insights for Search) to see if specific phrases are trending up or down in search volume and if certain search terms are more prevalent in your target market. Sometimes a search phrase is used more prevalently in one area (even down to neighborhoods and suburbs) than in others.
To access Google Trends, click the drop down menu beside one of the keywords you would like to analyze. Then choose “Google Insights for Search” from the menu. (Eventually, this will change to “Google Trends”. Google is still using their old term right now.)
The Google Trends page will plot the keyword from which it was launched automatically. To compare the search trends of other keywords, enter the others you identified above into the “Search terms” box on the left side of the page.
In the “Limit to” section on the lower left side of the page, restrict your analysis to your target market. In our case, we have chosen “Atlanta”.
In this example, you can see that “Ford dealership” and “Ford dealers” have a similar number of searches…but that the search volume for “Ford dealers” has declined over time while “Ford dealership” has increased in popularity.
Step 5 – Identify Effective Keywords for your Target Market
Interestingly, although the search term “Ford dealers” has declined in popularity in metro Atlanta, it still may be an excellent keyword choice if your target market is within the city limits or in the suburbs of Alpharetta or Smyrna. Residents of the suburbs of “North Metro” (due north of the Perimeter) search using that term much less frequently. The Trends tool will also give you related terms that should also be considered.
There are many paid keyword tools with very robust features helpful to pros (we use SEOprofiler… SEOmoz is another popular choice). However, insights to identify effective keywords can be found directly from Google for free.
If you need help with search engine optimization or your search engine marketing campaign, request a consultation with one of our inbound marketing experts. We’ll be glad to explain our process and get your search engine marketing campaign off to a roaring success.