fbpx

Technology / SEM strategies

Which keywords should I target?

It can be challenging to work out which keywords to target in your search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. Here’s what you need to know about selecting target keywords.

By

Keywords are the terms people type into search engines when they’re looking for something on the web. We use the word ‘keywords’ to describe these searches regardless of whether the search is for an individual word or a phrase (i.e. a multi-word search).

Narrow the field

The most frequent mistake business owners make when it comes to keywords is thinking too broadly in an attempt to target the large volumes of traffic searching for a particular keyword.

Let’s consider the example of a design and print studio based in Tamworth. It’s understandable that this business might be keen to target broad keywords such as ‘design’ and ‘printing’ after learning that there are huge numbers of people performing searches on those terms.

However, such keywords can mean different things to different people. Rather than hunting for a graphic designer, the searcher typing ‘design’ into Google may be an interior design student looking for inspiration or someone looking for a new tattoo! These people are not actually the target market, and are not very likely to become customers of our design and print business.

"If you’re a purely local business, there’s no point in being inundated with enquiries from the other side of the country or the other side of the world."

Another problem with this approach is that keywords that attract a higher volume of searches are also more difficult to get ranked for due to the number of competitors fighting for position. And of course if you’re a purely local business, there’s no point in being inundated with enquiries from the other side of the country or the other side of the world.

Want more articles like this? Check out the SEM strategies section.

Be specific

In many cases the solution is to think about more specific target keywords to use. Our design business would be much better off targeting highly specific keywords like ‘printing company Tamworth’ and ‘invitation design Tamworth’ and other phrases that someone in their area and in need of their particular services might use.

Targeting multi-word keywords like this is sometimes known as targeting the ‘long tail’ of a search. There may be fewer people using these keyword phrases when searching, but the visitors those searches drive to your site are much more likely to become customers.

This becomes especially important in situations like PPC marketing campaigns, where wasteful visits can hurt your wallet.

Think carefully about how your customers might search for you and your services. Listen to how they refer to your business and products, just in case there are words or phrases you don’t use much yourself but others do.

Start a list of the most appropriate keywords for your business and keep it by the phone or customer service desk so you can add to it whenever a customer uses a new word or phrase.

Use online tools

If you need some help determining which target keywords people use when searching, there are some free tools to help. One of the better ones is the Google Keyword Tool. Just enter some starting keywords or website addresses and it will generate lots of ideas for you.

Experiment with the keyword tool for a while and you’ll be astounded how many permutations there are for phrases that you previously thought were cut and dried.

Just bear in mind that the search volumes shown by the keyword tool should be taken with a grain of salt. They give a relative indication of which searches are the most frequent, but the volumes listed don’t tend to be very accurate.

Be location specific

If you’re a local business, combine the information you gather from the keyword tool with your location and you’ll be able to further refine your list of target keywords.

Have you got any extra tips to help us target our keywords? Please share your expertise below.

Aidan McCarthy

is a Google Advertising Professional and longtime online marketing consultant who enjoys working with small business owners on websites, SEO, AdWords and all things online.

Comments

126,768 people use Flying Solo to help them create a business with life. Do you?

Connect with Flying Solo

Explore the benefits of membership