Some might say the first rule of Search Marketing is that there are no rules. While the game is indeed ever-changing, there is at least one rule you need to live by: to be successful in online marketing, you must choose the right keyword phrases to target every step of the way – from site planning through promotion.
You may be asking, “What does he mean by the ‘right’ keywords?” These are the words and phrases that are being used by actual Web surfers looking for your services within the region you serve. You want to identify the terms people are using most often to search in your market and then deploy these terms throughout your Web site marketing.
So where do you find these keywords? Very often, they’re not the terms you would expect, so it’s a fool’s game to try to guess them out of the blue. Instead, follow these 4 steps.
Here are 5 points everyone investigating the strength of their Web site should understand:
Step 1: Brainstorm 3 Lists
- List A should contain all of the services you offer, all the common variations on the service names, and all the related words that might be used to describe the service or the benefit derived from the service. For example, breast augmentation might inspire the phrases breast enlargement, breast enhancement, breast implants, boob job, and bigger breasts.
- List B should contain all of the regions you serve. Include cities, counties, states, and regional nicknames. For example, a San Francisco business might list San Francisco, Oakland, Northern California, California, and Bay Area…among other regional keywords.
- List C will be the list of terms unique to your business. It should include every likely variation on the names of the principals and the business/practice. A private plastic surgery practice might include the practice name and several variations on the doctor’s name.
Step 2: Create a Master List of Keyword Candidates
Combine every regional term on List B with every service term on List A. If you have 10 terms on each list, you will be left with 100 keyword candidates – phrases like breast enlargement San Francisco and Bay Area boob job. Many of these phrases will not make the cut, but don’t make the call on your own.
Step 3: Research Your Keywords
There are many free and fee-based keyword research tools that can help you identify which of your keyword candidates are most often used by actual searchers and worth targeting. It makes no sense to invest your money to achieve high rankings for terms that are never used!
While we provide keyword research for our clients, those interested in DIY search marketing can enter their list of keyword candidates using the tools below. These tools will suggest related terms and the most popular variations on the phrases you enter, and allow you to see the relative popularity of each phrase.
- Keyword Discovery (Our Favorite)
- Yahoo Search Marketing Suggestion Tool (Requires Login)
- Word Tracker
- Google AdWords Keyword Tool
Step 4: Finalize Your Target List
Based on your research, create a list of target terms. Start with the most popular phrases that you believe relate directly to what you do. Keep all of the phrases from List C in your target list; the search volume may be low but you want to be sure to pursue rankings for your name and the name of your company.
Your target list will contain the most popular phrases, but may not contain the most productive terms. You will need activity tracking installed on your Web site to measure which phrases drive traffic to your site and convert to leads. If you’d like some help with keyword research or want to review your current keyword target list with your Etna Account Manager, give us a call at 866-374-3762