It is no great revelation that keywords are essential in getting your website to rank higher in Google search results. That said, too often not enough attention is paid to keyword research. Knowing the queries people actually use, is integral in getting the visitors you want to your website
Now, the folks at Google are going to tell you to just write good copy that your potential visitors find compelling, and your rankings will take care of themselves. While that is true in a perfect world, it isn’t quite that simple.
Of course there are may factors (Google’s Matt Cutts says 200+ “signals”) that dictate where your listing shows up on Google’s search results pages, and the keywords on your web pages are only part of it. The fact is, they play a very big role.
Why is keyword research important? Well, your visitors won’t get to your website so they can read your “compelling copy” unless it contains the keywords your potential visitors use when they do a search on Google, or other search engine. Your web pages may have “compelling copy” as far as you are concerned, but are you thinking about the same keywords as your potential visitors? Keyword research can help you figure that out.
Where to start? Write your compelling copy, and then read it out loud. How does it sound? Did you or your audience hear keywords you believe potential visitors would use to find your products or services?
Make a list of keywords you believe identify your products or services. Ask for input from co-workers, customers, friends, your barber, or hair dresser.
Take a good look at the list. Are all or some of those keywords on your website? Remember, Google sells relevance. Your pages should be product or service-specific, as should your keywords. The wrong keywords may get visitors to your website, but those visitors may not stay, because they were looking for something you don’t offer. Your goal should be to attract self-qualified visitors (leads, prospects) that want or need what you offer.
Okay, let’s see if anyone actually searches for your keywords. Google has a good free tool (Google Keyword Tool) for you to use. It is geared toward those who are using, or may use, Google AdWords. You do not have to have an AdWords account to use the keyword tool. It will show how much competition there is for your keywords, global monthly searches, local monthly searches, and more. You may do a simple search, or they’ll give you more options than you will care to deal with. Keep it simple. You just want to see if people really are searching using your keywords.
If your keywords have a lot of search volume, you should use Google Trends, where you can search for two terms, e.g. lake property, lakefront property, and you’ll see charts showing the relative search volume (more people search for lake property). You can filter the results by date, regions, cities, etc.
There are non-Google tools out there as well. A very good one is the Free Keyword Suggestion Tool From Wordtracker. Another is WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool.
There is a great deal more to say about keywords, and we’ll discuss them again. Hopefully, this will give you an understanding of the importance of choosing the right keywords. One of America’s favorite authors knew something about choosing the right words when he said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” Oh, that author if you are wondering, was Mark Twain.
Go to work and make that keyword list today! Edit that compelling copy to contain your researched keywords, and get results!