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Picking the Keywords for a Small Business

When you’re marketing a small business online, one of the most important steps that you take in putting together a marketing campaign will be choosing the right keywords. Small business search engine marketing is all about targeting the right keywords, because if you get that step right, you can help to bring in the right kind of qualified traffic to the website.

Of course, when picking keywords for any website, keyword research is where it all begins. When you first are preparing to promote a new site, you need to dig out the keyword tools like Google’s External Keyword Tool and start doing some research. You want to find keywords that are related to the industry but which are specific enough that there aren’t hundreds of thousands of searches for them monthly, or the competition will be far too high to rank highly. You want to find the terms that you think that you can reasonably expect to rank for in a reasonable amount of time.

Another important part of keyword research is looking into what keywords the competition might be using. You can do this in part by just looking at their site and going through some of their online marketing materials, but there are also some keyword research tools that are designed specifically to investigate what keywords the competition is using. This might give you some inspiration for your own keyword choice. You could try to directly compete with them on those keywords, or instead focus on appropriate volume keywords that your closest competitor is not paying much attention to yet.

It’s important when doing your keyword selection that you remember to focus on long tail keywords as well as shorter key phrases. Long tail key phrases are the phrases that people might search for that are four or more words long, instead of the usual one or two that most people put into the search engines. The reason that these can be good to focus on is because people who search with a long tail key phrase tend to have something very specific in mind that they are looking for. If you can rank highly for that key phrase and they visit your site, there is a good chance that they will be a highly qualified visitor.

Of course, when focusing on long tail key phrase, you should also focus on long tail key phrases that incorporate local search terms. This means targeting some of your SEO efforts on keywords that include the location of the store that you are promoting. These keywords can be very specific, but there is still a good reason to target them. As with all SEO efforts, the ultimate goal is quality qualified traffic. This means that the person that clicks the link is someone that would actually potentially buy a product from that company.

The concept of qualified traffic is something to always keep in mind when you are selecting keywords for any business. Basically, unless a person is ultimately a potential customer, you don’t stand to gain much by having them visit the website. So, in the case of a local business, especially one that only sells products through their physical store, there is not much to gain by attracting searchers from the web at large. However, attracting visitors from the local area can be very valuable. By focusing your keywords on local search terms, you can help ensure that everyone that ends up clicking through to the site either lives or is currently close enough to the store to actually walk in and make a purchase. This is a strategic way to search engine optimize a site for small business.

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2 Comments Published

enhance marketing / 3 March 2011 / Reply

Just wanted to add this comments to say i have taken the time to read through a few of your posts regarding local marketing thoughts etc and want to say to you and other readers that this is valuable and well thought out and good common sence. wanted to subscribe to RSS but cant find the button? can you email me if poss and tell me where i can subscribe… cheers joseph

Ryan Smith / 4 March 2011 / Reply

Joseph, the RSS feed link is Local Marketing RSS

Hope that helps!

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