Tips for Picking the Right Keywords for Your Business

178088624To say the Internet has changed the way people live may slightly undersell the importance of the World Wide Web and how its role in day-to-day interactions has expanded over the last decade.

An open landscape where even the most remote and insignificant tidbits of forgotten trivia can quickly be rediscovered using only a few keystrokes, the Internet offers limitless information. Of course something the size of the Internet becomes fairly useless without the right guide to lead the way.

Whether a fan of Google, Yahoo, or Bing, search engines provide us with the direction needed to successfully navigate the approximate 3.6 billion indexed web pages in existence on the Internet today (Nov 2013). If search engines act as our guide, then keywords are the signs posts that they follow.

The concept of keywords has driven much of the Internet’s growth over the last ten years, and helped a company like Google become a $25 billion a year juggernaut. Keywords are the words and phrases we type into search engines – a task the world turns to Google for over 5 million times a day and 1.8 billion times a year – when looking for information on products, services, and the answer to questions like who replaced the original Darrin on Bewitched? (Dick Sargent took over for Dick York in 1969, by the way)

Companies better optimize their website content for search by inserting keywords into individual web pages. The better a website’s keyword placement, the higher the site will register during organic search results. This makes selecting the right keywords vitally important to the success of any business with an online presence. Correct keyword selection is also a fundamental part of running a successful pay-per-click (PPC) campaign online.

When selecting the right keywords for your business’ website, you need to remember that keywords are not only about search engine optimization. They also form the very core of a company’s marketing campaign and strategy. Does your company view itself as affordable or the best? Do you provide clients with solutions or ideas? Do customers prefer your product because it’s cutting edge or because it’s what their grandpa used? If you find it difficult to identify and select the right keywords for your business, your ability to effectively market your services and products online to clients becomes suspect.

To help you make the right keyword decisions, keep the following tips in mind when choosing which terms and phrase to use when building an online marketing campaign and identity.

Focus on Keyword Phrases

To the uninitiated, the term keyword can come across as a bit of a misnomer, as it implies the use of a single word. In fact, keywords can include several words, making keyphrase a more accurate term, instead.

Too often, keyword research becomes subject to overthinking, resulting in a lack of focus on where keyword generation should initially begin- by answering the question “What do I sell?” If you’re an Internet marketing firm, the words Internet and marketing alone would make very poor keyword choices because independent of each other, they do an inadequate job of representing your business. Instead, phrases such as Internet marketing solutions, small business Internet marketing, and online marketing ideas  offer a much better representation of what your business offers potential clients.

Narrow Your Keyword Focus

Very few, if any, companies have the ability to offer a completely original and unique product found nowhere else online. This can make selling your products or services online seem like trying to catch a single snowflake while standing out in a blizzard.

Say you own a small boutique that specializes in dresses. To rank among the top search results for the keyword dresses, you’d need to have a highly influential and authoritative website, something typically reserved for major brands such as Nordstrom or Macy’s whose websites receive hundreds of thousands of clicks a day.

In cases where you sell a fairly common product, you need to narrow your keyword focus to specific terms such as designer fall dresses, green dresses, or satin dresses. Not only is the competition for these terms less fierce – from both a PPC and SEO perspective – but more specific keywords tend to offer a higher conversion rate when it comes to customers making purchases from your website.

Don’t Repeat Yourself

Once you gain a better understanding of which keywords to use, you may feel tempted to repeat them over and over. However, repeating the same keywords can negatively impact a web page’s authority in the estimation of Google and other search engines unless you vary the terms used. Google places a high value on original content when deciding how much weight any web page carries, and where that page should rank in organic search results. It’s difficult to write original content when using the same keywords over and over, so you need to sufficiently vary the meaning of your keyword phrases.

For example, very little difference exits between the phrases green dresses and green dresses online. Furthermore, you could reasonably expect the same content would come up when performing a search for either term. However, green dresses and fall green dresses indicated a difference in content and would therefore be acceptable to use in conjuncture with one another.

Utilize Available Tools

You could spend hours trying to think of every possible variation a potential customer may search for that relates to your business and still not arrive at a list that even comes close to capturing the best available keywords.  Fortunately, you don’t have to guess what keywords receive the highest search volume when you can ask the experts.

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Google offers a variety of tools that enable you to find which keywords relating to your business have the highest search volume. One such tool, the Adwords Keyword Planner, allows you to search for keyword volume, get traffic estimates for keywords, and offers suggestions on new keywords.

While this type of invaluable data can make planning a PPC campaign much simpler, it can also help you better keyword optimize your website as well.

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