How to work out your keywords

Keywords and SEO, most small business owners worry about them. They hear talk about how their Search Engine Optimisation needs to be ‘spot on’, or they’ll lose rankings and potential clients, as they can’t be ‘found’ on search engines such as Google. But working out your keywords doesn’t have to be a difficult process… if you stop focusing on SEO and start focusing on what you DO know.

What are keywords?

Most people think SEO is difficult. Don’t get me wrong, it can be, but it’s all too easy to get freaked out by it too. Put simply, keywords are the words potential clients use to search for your type of business. For example, if you’re a Virtual Assistant who lives in Dorset, your keywords may include:

  • VA
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Dorset
  • Business support
  • Administrative support
  • Small business
  • Virtual PA

So now you know what keywords are, you can work out what ones are relevant to you, by following these steps.

keywordsStep 1: Establish your keyword ideas

By working with what you already know (your business), you’ll be able to compile a list of keywords that are suitable for you. Simply sit down with a pen and paper and brainstorm words that relate to the following:

  • Your job title and description
  • Your niches
  • Your products and services
  • Problems your clients have
  • Solutions your clients are looking for

This should give you a good starting point.

Step 2: Use Google AdWords Keyword Planner

The next step is to see what is already being used to find your website. Go to Google AdWords Keyword Planner and sign in (if you don’t have an account, it’s free to join). Select ‘Keyword Planner’ from the ‘Tools’ dropdown across the top of the screen.

On the left-hand side, under ‘Find New Keywords’ select ‘search for new keywords’.  Enter your landing page details and ‘get ideas’. This will then give you a list of keywords that are relevant to your website (you may need to select the ‘keyword ideas’ tab at the top of the chart).

Alternatively, you can take the list of keywords you’ve previously written down and check how feasible they are as keywords. Go to the front page of Google AdWords Keyword Planner and select ‘Get search volume, data and trends’. You can then enter the list of keywords you have, to see how they stack up against each other.

Whichever option you choose, you can download the list easily, by selecting the ‘download’ icon.

Step 3: Pick your keywords

Once you have your list of keywords, you’ll want to save the best ones for your main website home page. However you want to ensure minimum competition, so try to select selective keywords that will have the least competition – so instead of just using ‘VA’, choose ‘VA in Surrey’ or in the town where you live.

So go through your downloaded list and eliminate those that are not relevant to your business, those that have no results (or those with under 1,000 results – unless VERY relevant to what you do), and then take out those that have millions of results!

Bonus Step: Focus on content!

Finally, focus on the content you’re producing. We can get so hooked up on keywords, we end up writing content that doesn’t flow naturally or doesn’t read well. If you’ve got lots of content that’s relevant to your ideal clients, share it around your social media sites and your visitors will come.

How do you find your keywords? Did you work them out yourself or pay someone else to do them for you? Do you worry about keywords at all – or just trust your content will attract the right people? Why not share your experiences in the comments box below!

Images courtesy of dizain & destina/Dollar Photo Club

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