Any SEO expert will agree that keyword research plays a critical role in both attracting visitors, and improved ranking in search engine results. “What?” You reply, indignantly, “I need to research the keywords I use for my website? Won’t people just search for my business by name?” As if small business owners don’t have enough work already!
Actually, branded searches are great for your business, but new customers aren’t likely to search for your hotel, spa, clinic, or real estate services by name, are they? And new customers are the lifeblood of any businesses.
Without the right keywords, your website becomes a ghost to search engines, and virtually invisible to potential customers searching for your solutions. As such, SEO keyword research is always the first phase in any SEO campaign.
How Search Engines ‘Read’
You may call your beauty spa ‘A Piece of Heaven’, but search engines can’t actually look at the pictures on your website. Web crawlers read the metadata, text, and coding of your website, in order to determine the right match for a user’s search.
Positioned in the appropriate places of your site architecture and coding (i.e., SEO title, slug, snippets, metatags, headings), the right keywords will drive your ranking in search results higher, and attract more leads to your website’s landing pages.
Why Use A Keyword Research Tool?
A strategic use of the most popular keywords and terms in your region or industry will make your website more popular with search engines.
SEO agencies rely heavily on keyword research to help their clients craft better content, boost traffic, rank higher, and drive conversion upwards. Whether you’re a seasoned business owner or a hopeful hobbyist with a great new idea, your website stands a better chance of being discovered if you’re willing to do some research.
Keyword research tools are typically web-based software that provide web statistics on the use of specific keywords and phrases. They offer users recommendations and insights into the following statistics:
- Search volume (number of searches daily, monthly)
- Alternate popular search phrases
- Cost per click (CPC) of specific keywords and phrases (based on search engine)
- Ranked keyword popularity by region
- Ranked keyword popularity by search engine
- Competitor keywords gaining traffic
- Keyword monitoring to track changes in keyword ranking
Many website builders and blogging platforms offer keyword research apps or add-ons to help optimize your website. Free versions and subscription services are also available to help you zero in on the best keywords for your business.
If you’re managing a blog or business website on your own, an audit of your site for keyword usage and distribution can be very helpful as a first step. Once you’ve gauged the success of your current keywords and identified areas for improvement, you can form a better content marketing strategy that actually gets results!
Free Keyword Research Tools
Investing in a Keyword Research software or a subscription is a wise move if you’re looking for ways to positively impact your marketing and SEO. As a small business owner, you may not have the benefit of a web administrator or team, but there are free tools to get you started on the right path.
Have fun experimenting with the free keyword research tools listed below!
Designed for use by SEM professionals, business owners and novices alike, Google’s Keyword Planner is a free AdWords tool that you can use to explore ideas for keywords, ad groups, and better search networks. Ranking your terms against thousands of historical pages with similar content, the Keyword Planner displays accurate, fast, reliable results that are easy to understand. Google Keywords makes planning your online marketing a lot easier and more effective, particularly if you’re deciding on PPC budgets. Access is available by signing in to AdWords with your Gmail or Google+ business profile.
You just can’t go wrong with SERPs.com. Considered a leading brand by many SEM professionals, SERPS.com offers a number of free web-based SEO tools to complement their more robust subscription-based solutions. The Keyword Rank Checker provides users with a quick glance at the top 250 search results for the keyword selected, including statistics on CPC and search volume. You can also drill down results by location or domain. The Keyword Research Tool provides possible alternatives to the keywords you suggest, and includes helpful CPC and search volume data as well. Very handy for PPC campaign planning, marketing, ad copy, or content strategy. Once generated, results are saved to a CSV file for download to your desktop or mobile phone.
Keyword Tool claims to be ‘the best alternative to Google Keyword Planner’ and other online alternatives. Their web-based tool offers users the option of researching keywords from four key sources: Google, YouTube, Bing, and Amazon. Blazing fast results are generated for specific terms as well as phrases associated with your selected keywords, but valuable statistics (CPC, search volume) are only available with their Pro version.
Looking for more helpful tips on keyword research and planning? Contact Paul Teitelman, Toronto’s most experienced and professional SEO expert to get your small business website more traffic.