Using Effective Keyword Research for Your Small Business Website

Anyone reading this who has finally moved their small business online with a self-hosted website? Give yourself a pat on the back. Haven’t given any consideration to marketing outside of putting it on your business card and informing walk-ins? You can stop patting your back.

There are a number of brilliant things you can do to market your business website:

  • Start an electronic newsletter to your customers, linking to your new site.
  • Create a Twitter account and Facebook page for your company.
  • Register into local online classifieds such as Yelp, Yellowpages, Yahoo! Local, and Citysearch.

These are all important steps to take, but one extremely important aspect of online business marketing that seems all-too-often overlooked is search engine optimization (SEO). For those unfamiliar with SEO, it is essentially utilized to improve visibility on major search engines, with most SEO strategies focusing on Google.

Does My Business Need SEO Strategies?

This is as legitimate a question as any. Perhaps your customer base is a demographic that wouldn’t use search engines to find your business. A quick way to test this (and start your keyword research) is to see if your competition is online.

Try searching on Google and the other local classifieds listed above for the service or product and city of your business (for example, “antique furniture Seattle” if you own an antique furniture store in Seattle). If you see your competitors, that probably means there’s value to getting search traffic to your business site. If you don’t see your competitors, snag that keyword traffic before someone else does! (See what I did there?)

Another great way to assess the value of SEO optimization is to sign up for Google analytics and have it run for a couple weeks before SEO implementation so you can see a clear before and after. Lastly, you should have a contact form on your website that asks people how they got to your site. Yes, these are all after-the-fact measures to judge the value of SEO, but it’s worth trying SEO even if it doesn’t have the biggest payoff.

Keyword Research

More than anything else, keyword research is an exercise in seeing your service and products through the eyes of your clients (and potential clients). There’s really no limit to how much SEO research you can do for your business, but some major key steps include:

  • Brainstorm (Gather Keywords) – Get into the mindset of a potential customer, and consider which words they would type into Google to find your company or its service. This should be as big as you can make it.
  • Research (Refine Keywords) – Sign up for Google AdWords, and input your keywords in the “keyword tool” and use the “ad text ideas” generator. This will let you know the search volume of your keyword and what type of competition you will face trying to rank up for that keyword. It also gives helpful suggests for related keywords that could have less competition (long-tail keywords), but for most of this process, you should be crossing off words with too much competition and perhaps adding long-tail combinations to existing keywords.
  • Study Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) – Search some of your keywords in Google, and analyze your keyword-competitive sites. Look for similarities of these sites, compare their content and links, and see how your site can trump theirs in terms of usability and SEO. You want to have a better site than the competition.

After Research

Once you’ve finished your keyword research, you should implement your juiciest keywords in the following ways:

  • Have keywords in HTML code – Put them anywhere and everywhere, including the Title tags of each page, H1 headlines, p text, URL architexture, and in the alt tags and filenames of images.
  • Create a meta description – The blurb under your site in a SERP.
  • Include business address and phone number – Get this text on every page, perhaps on a footer.
  • Incorporate keywords in online classifieds– Yes, keyword SEO research even extends to your online classifieds. Try to cater them more to the competition within each classifieds website rather than through Google results.

This is a guest post from Carol Wilson who writes for business insurance guide. She contributes articles about a variety of marketing, business, stock market, small business topics. She can be contacted at: wilson.carol24 @

Filed in: SEO
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