We have seen it again and again. You have an idea for starting a business, capitalising on your passion or just because you want to make some extra money and leave your dreaded job.
So you start working on how to make things a reality – if you are selling services, you will probably need some space to rent, you are looking for an accountant, create a logo, and try to set up pricing.
But you are overlooking one major thing that can make or break your business early on:
What your (future) customers are looking for.
In other words, this translates into keyword research.
What is keyword research?
To put it simply, it’s a guessing game, really. It’s a process where you need to find and analyse search terms that you think people will enter into a search engine (i.e. Google) and hopefully see your website somehow.
How will people see your content? By writing content (i.e. blog posts) that have your chosen keywords in it so that Google will match them during the search.
In other words, keywords are important when writing an article because they help readers understand what you’re talking about. You should try to use keywords that your audience uses. But be careful not to overuse them.
The most important thing about keyword research is to know what you’re looking for. You want to find keywords that are relevant to your site’s topic and are likely to bring traffic to your site. This is different from simply typing words into a search bar. Instead, you should use a tool like Google Adwords Keyword Planner to learn what phrases people type into the search box that relate to your product.
So how to do keyword research before starting your business?
The TWO Obvious Benefits of Keyword Research:
- You Get What’s Trending Now
When you do keyword research you get very insightful revelations of what people search,during this time. This helps you create content that is relevant, accurate and really helps people in solving their problems.
- You Get More Traffic
With keyword research, you get insights on the most relevant keywords your audience use (we said that above already) But when you include these keywords into the content you publish, you will start ranking higher into the search engines for the keywords you are aiming for. This means, more people will see your website, thus more people will click through the results and more traffic for you. Simples:-)
The Three Things You Need To Know Before Starting Your Keyword Research
Clearly, not everything is easy-peasy – and so is keyword research. What, did you really think you could just jump into Google and find amazing keywords no one is using? Pfff, I want that piece as well.
Anyway, sarcasm aside, here are the three elements you need to know and look for when doing keywords research:
That’s easy. Our friend The Google, wants relevancy. If you simply typed “yoga training near Seaford” and as a result, you had a list of plumbers in the area, you wouldn’t use Google anymore, wouldn’t you? You should head over to Yahoo.(and this is what Yahoo wants, but this is another story).
Your content will only rank for a keyword if it meets the searchers’ needs. And not only that, but your content must be the best resource out amongst the competition for the query. Think of this as a competition. If your content is more relevant, more high quality, more value-providing than anyone else, then Google awards you with the first spot.
Here is another blow to your efforts (and ours, obviously). If you are just starting out you will have fewer chances to rank as Google will prefer towards the first-page position to sites that are more authoritative than yours. So what can you do?
Well, if you have the time and/or the money, you must do whatever it takes to make your site more authoritative by adding to your site more helpful content and more rich assets – videos, graphics, ebooks, etc. At the same time you should promote this content everywhere you can so as to win eyeballs and links.
So you found the perfect keyword for your business: “Jack’s Plumbing Services Close to The Meat Market”. Congrats!
You write some content and you publish it. After a day or two, when you search for this keyword string you are at the top of the search results, yeah!!
Well, sorry to break it to you, but did you go into the trouble of finding out if this keyword is ACTUALLY being searched by people (I mean, apart of you, your girlfriend and dad).
Think of it this way. You go to the far edge of your city, where there is no traffic, except of a few stray cats (and an occasional dog – poor dog). You discover an amazing space which is in the corner of an abandoned building, and you rent it out for like 50 Euros per month.
Did you make a great investment? You did if you wanted to have a warehouse for your goods to be transported by your own car. But if you wanted passersby, to enter your store – you made a terrible investment!
So search the volume of the keywords you are looking to rank:-)
Finally. The Keyword Research Process To Follow Before You Launch Your Website:
The keyword research process is the exact same we are using here at Centis when we are working with a client on their marketing.
Step 1: Start by making a list of topics that you know are true for your business.
Ok, the above may sound confusing but it is not. What topics are you interested in ranking for? Create a document with 10 columns and list these topics. Then we will expand on these topics like there is no tomorrow.
Let’s say you are a real estate agent. What would you like your website to be known about? This is where the hypothesis begins. You must put yourself in the shoes of your future client — what kind of topics would you like your client to read?
Here are some general topics we came up with if you are a real estate agent.
“Real estate + area”
“Apartment for rent in + area”
“House for sale at + area”
“House buying guide”
“How to rent an apartment”
With each of these generic topics, you must try and identify the volume each keyword has so you will have a general overview of how many searches they each have per month.
Step 2: Do your research and start filling these columns with keywords.
Once you’ve identified some topics that you want to focus on for your content marketing strategy, it’s time to start identifying keywords that fall into those topics. These are keywords that you think are important to be ranked for in the SERPs because your target audience is likely searching for them.
For instance, if I took that last topic bucket for a real estate agent “how to rent an apartment” I’d brainstorm some keyword phrases that I think people would type in related to that topic. Those might include:
“How to rent an apartment in Frankfurt
“How to rent an apartment easy|”
“how to rent an apartment for the first time”
Step 3. Understand Intent From Keywords: How Intent Affects Keyword Research
User intent is one of the most important factors in your ability to get high search engine rankings. Nowadays, it’s more important for your web page to address the problem that a searcher intended to resolve than just carry the keyword the searcher searched. So, how does that affect the keyword research you’re doing?
It’s super easy to get confused by just looking the keywords you are selecting. Unfortunately for both of us, keywords may have different meanings to people. Let me explain:
Let’s say, for example, you’re researching the keyword “yoga class” for an article you want to create.A yoga class can mean anything – from “how to create a yoga class” to how many yoga classes are available near London”. You do not know what a searcher is thinking at the moment she/he is researching this keyword (in other words, his intent.
Does the searcher want to learn how to start a yoga class? Or do they want to know how to actually find a yoga class near her/his area? Maybe they are interested to know what kind of yoga pants she should buy in the yoga class. Or when the yoga classes typically start. Or how many people a typical yoga class contains.
Ok, so how can you actually make sure what people are searching for?
Well, this isn’t easy, but it isn’t rocket science as well. The easier and most time-consuming way (!!!)to find out keyword intent is to simply enter this keyword into a search engine yourself, and see what types of results come up.
Step 3. Find out other search terms that are related
Ok, this step will officially make you lose your head, but what can you do, welcome to Keyword Research…
So let’s say you are looking to write a topic, like “how to fix your plumbing”. You are struggling to think of the best keywords to use, so what is your solution? “Plug it” to Google search. I mean, literally, put that keyword to Google search and see what topics Google presents you.
Once you do that, scroll to the bottom of Google’s results, and you’ll notice additional keyword suggestions for searches related to your original input. These keywords are excellent if you have the time to put them on an excel sheet and use them for other related topics.
How to Find and Choose Keywords for Your Website
Ok by now we have completed Once you have an idea of the keywords that you want to rank for, now it’s time to refine your list based on the best ones for your strategy.
Step 4. Use Keyword Planner to create, expand or remove keywords for your site.
When starting with keywords, there is no better free tool to create keywords than Google itself. Google’s Keyword Planner can help you get search volume and traffic estimates for the keywords you already have on your bucket list.
By using the Keyword Planner you can identify and remove any keywords on your list that low search or more than expected.
Make sure you check the Google Trends if these keywords are going well or not. If you see a trend upwards, then you should definitely create content using these keywords.
Step 5. Use Keywords That Have Chances In Ranking Faster, First
If you would be Remax, you would normally produce high search, high volume keywords, and because you are an established big business, Google would reward you wh authority over most topics.
However, you are not Remax, you are just a guy/gal who is trying to start a real estate business, and you certainly can’t waste time or money doing endless searches on keywords.
So what would you do? You would target low competition keywords with adequate search volume, and dominate them (not in THIS way).
Step 6. Check your competitors. Are they ranking for these keywords?
First, let’s clarify something. The fact that you are going after the same clients, doesn’t mean that you should do whatever your competitors are doing. However, what you need to do is to have a clear understanding of what keywords your competitors are trying to rank for do that you can evaluate against your own.
Do your due diligence (wouldn’t you do it for your client?) and check: do you have similar keywords with your competitors? If you do, it makes sens to keep improving your list and content. However, what about keywords that your competitor is not taking under consideration, have forgotten or simply doesn’t have the time or the resources to go after? This could be a great opportunity for you to own market share on important terms, too.
Ok, so let’s “pop” the question now: How do you find out what keywords your competitors are ranking for?
Very good question, muchacho.
It is time for tools. hrefs allows you to run a number of free reports that show you the top keywords for the domain you enter. This is a quick way to get a sense of the types of terms your competitors are ranking for.
Doing keyword research before you start your website will not only save you considerable time, but also money. Adding keywords within your content and static pages (about us, services etc) plus writing in advance (and before you even launch) will ensure that you will start your new website on the right foot.
If you are in the process of searching to get a website for your business, consider Centis. With plans starting from €129/mo which includes custom-written newsletters, fully optimised lead forms, CRM and embedded analytics, it is the best solution to not pay thousands from day one to questionable designers or freelancers. Check Centis price plans here: www.centis.net