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Your Guide to Keyword Research

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When potential customers search for your business or similar businesses online, they use keywords. But what words are they using in their search that makes them more likely to find you over the competition? As a business owner, keyword research helps you to identify the keywords your potential buyers are using to find your site online. By working backward in the process, you can identify the right keywords for your business and use them to your advantage.

How to Perform Keyword Research

Begin your keyword research by writing a paragraph or two describing your business. Cover your services, products, and benefits for your customers. Then highlight the nouns, actions, and locations in the content. These words and phrases will be the basis for your keywords. For example, if you are in the dog grooming business and you sell grooming products in California including dog shampoo and pet brushes, then each of the italicized phrases should be included in your keywords.

You can also garner new ideas for keywords based on those being used by your biggest competitors. Browse their websites to look for the keywords they’re using, and compare those to your own list. Most likely you will pick up new ideas for keywords and phrases that you can use for your content.

Using Google to Optimize Keywords

Now that you have a working keyword list, it’s time to rank your keywords. The easiest way to do this is to run each keyword through a Google search. Using the previous example, a search for ‘dog grooming business’ has approximately 105 million results, but the long-tail keyword ‘grooming products in California’ has only 31 million results.

Therefore, the keyword ‘dog grooming business’ is more popular, but ‘grooming products in California’ is more specific and local. Ideally, you want a blend of the most popular keywords and those with less traction. This will result in content that is being searched for but doesn’t have as much competition.

At this stage, you’re ready to check out Google AdWords Keyword Planner. This free tool by Google enables you to research keywords and find out the average monthly searches for each. This is on par with doing a simple Google search, except that you’re also able to pull up all the associated keywords and phrases. This is a goldmine for helping you find new keywords for your business content.

Use Keywords to Boost Traffic

Keywords are the main application of search engine optimization (SEO). On-page SEO enables you to increase the reach of your content, however, this involves more than just adding keywords to your content at random.

To best implement keywords, start with high-quality content. Google continues to update its algorithm to reward websites with useful content that provide readers with what they are searching for on the internet. Never stuff keywords into your content, or inserting them without proper grammar or context. This black hat tactic will ding your website’s search results and could knock your website out of the Google-verse.

A final tip is to use your valuable keywords in the least likely of places within your content, including photo captions, video transcriptions, and subheadings. Focus on your website metadata including your content post meta descriptions and title tags, which should include strategically placed keywords. Take the time for thorough keyword research to identify the best keywords that will send mass traffic to your website.

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