Keywords make the difference between a lackluster launch and a roaring success. Most folks in the internet marketing space understand the importance of keywords, but few know how to conduct world-class research. Instead, many default to hit-and-run research, picking keywords that loosely match their brand, jamming them into their content, and hoping for the best. As you might expect, these businesses fall short of their expectations, wondering where it all went wrong. This doesn’t have to be you.
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Not All Research is Conducted Equal
Many businesses fail to look beneath the surface for each keyword. For example, say you own a donut shop. You might assume that using the keywords “donut,” “shop,” and your location would be enough, but Google’s algorithm factors in much more than the literal words themselves. Plus, each keyword and business is context dependent, meaning that those keywords appear and resonate differently in each situation. Simply put, there is no “one-size-fits-all” in the world of keywords.
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Three Ways to Upgrade Your Keyword Game for Good
What does this mean? That we’re all at the mercy of King Google’s whims? Of course not! Google keeps much of its algorithm a secret, but through our years of successful launches, we’ve discovered some key strategies that will help you conduct world-class research and fire-proof your business.
1) Focus on YOUR Intention
Before you dive headfirst into research, get specific about what you’re looking for. As I mentioned earlier, finding the right keywords is more than just the words themselves. You have to clarify what your goals are and the steps to get there. Every business craves more clients and recurring revenue, so get freakishly specific about what YOUR business needs—you’ll find success much faster that way.
2) Read Between the Lines
Have you nailed down your intention? Awesome! Before you bid on any keywords, here are three nuances that you ought to consider:
Even if you select the most accurate keywords for your business, they’re useless if no one searches for them. Think about it: You wouldn’t establish a brick-and-mortar business in a ghost town, right? Combine relevance and popularity.
Speaking of which, your keywords MUST resonate and relate to what your potential customers are looking for. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised (or maybe not!) at how many businesses miss this. So, make sure your keywords are providing value to the people searching for you—if not, Google won’t promote them. It’s that simple.
After you’ve nailed those first two points, start thinking about the authority you hold in your space. For example, you may have the most relevant keywords your potential customers are searching for… and some larger player grabs all the attention. Why? Because their name carries more authority in that niche. To avoid this, work to establish your business as an authority in the space. You’ll command more attention and earn your customers’ trust faster.
3) Use Your Tools Properly
You probably know all about keyword research tools, but how do you use them properly? Here are two pointers:
- Consider Your Competition
Your competitors use these tools too, meaning your lists will likely share keywords. If so, you need to figure out if it makes more sense to target the same keywords or different ones. For example, if a behemoth competitor frequently dominates a certain keyword, you may want to avoid it. Instead, consider similar-but-less-popular keywords you can pursue; your competitor may miss them! On the other hand, if you and a competitor have similar authority, and they’ve found success with a particular keyword, it may benefit you to target that word, too. No business is an island!
- Mix and Match Short and Long
In every niche, you have a mixture of head terms (short and vague) and long-tail (specific and three or more words). A powerful approach combines both of these to fool-proof your keyword search and strategy. For example, say you own a cake shop specializing in extravagant wedding pieces. Using head terms like “cake shop” and “wedding cakes” will definitely get your foot in the door. However, relying only on them could easily get you confused with coffee shops, boutique bakeries, and wedding planners. Therefore, also leverage long-tail keywords like “extravagant wedding cake bakery in [your town]” or “bakeries in [your town] for fancy wedding cakes.” Doing this will help you distinguish yourself from the pack and target your niche effectively.
There are endless keyword research tools at your fingertips, so I highly recommend jumping to the page below to find your favorite. When they’re used right, keywords are king!
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