If you have been working online for very long, you have undoubtedly figured out what a keyword is and that these little “pointer” words are important to search engine spiders. They make correlations between the content on your website and what your business is about. magnifying glass

So, for example, if you’re in the pizza business, anything you write about pizza, flour, pepperoni, hand tossing, or other keywords you use in website copy will tell spiders that your business is something about food, and hopefully, if you’ve done it right, about pizza.

The better your keyword research is, the better the chances are that the spiders will associate your site with what you do.  So, before you even build your website, it’s a good idea to figure out what the best keywords for your business would be. We call that “keyword research,” and if it’s done right, it can be a very long and pretty intense process.

Where to Start the Process?

Most new business owners have no idea where to start with keyword research, and lazily pick out a few generic terms to use in their copy. Big mistake!  However, where you start to find words that will make an impact isn’t in and of itself important, but the fact that you just START working toward finding them is.

When we’re not doing the research for them, I usually recommend that webmasters sit down and just make a list of every word they can think of that is associated with their business.  Use a Thesaurus. Go to Wikipedia and see what terms you can come up with that people are using to describe what you do. Just really brainstorm a long, long list of words. And then, when you’re all brainstormed out, there’s a tool that will help you to make an even longer list, called “Ubersuggest.”

Building a mega keyword list

Ubersuggest will take all of those words you just came up with and come up with even more words, some you never thought about. You may have a spreadsheet with thousands of entries before you’re all done. But it’s a great way to start.

Then, take those words in groups or all at once and plug them into your favorite keyword research tool to see if the words you found are generating any traffic. You want to find words that have the highest traffic, of course, but you also need to take the competition for those words into account. So, you’re going to spend another long while deciding where the cut-off should be for both amount of traffic and level of competition.

Determining just the right words for your business depend on many factors, too. How old is your site? How many backlinks does it have? What’s its page rank?

Then when you decide on a word you can compete for, what other businesses are on that page of search results in Google? How many other pages have the keyword in them? Is it even worth trying?

What Are Buyers Thinking?

The next consideration is: What does a potential customer type into the search bar when they’re ready to buy something? Undoubtedly, it will be a long-tail hyper-specific keyword. But some of the keywords you brainstormed mean different things. For example, if someone is looking for a “men’s cotton mesh belt,” they won’t type in “men’s leather belt.” If you’re not selling leather belts, trying to rank for “men’s leather belt,” makes no sense at all for organic search.

Compatible Keywords

However, if you’re looking for terms for pay-per-click advertising, that’s an entirely different matter. Then, you probably will want to use keywords that are compatible to what you’re selling.

For example, if you’re a dog trainer, you may want to use a keyword list that includes “pet food,” because people who buy pet food might need training for their dogs and your ad would appear next to their organic listings. It’s compatible with what the other business is doing. Yet, for organic search, you don’t want to frustrate potential customers that come to find pet food on your website where there is none. So, you have to ferret out the proper words or you’re sunk.

That’s why you should get some professional advice, if you’re not a keyword-research ninja. Because we look at keywords and how visitors behave, along with how search engines behave, SEOs have an intuitive sense of what the best keywords might be for your business.  If the process seems drawn out and complicated, that’s because keyword research is drawn out and complicated. Why do it yourself and risk not finding the buyers? The difference between finding keywords and the right keywords could cost you a lot of business.

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