Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Keyword Research for your Small Business Website

Keyword Research could be the death of your Website!!

What keywords are you targeting with your website?

What are people searching for in your industry?

Week 2 of your 8 week challenge is all about keywords. This is an area that I find alot of small business owners struggle with, and alot of website designers overlook.

"It is no good having a pretty website if nobody can find it."

Here is an outline of the process that I use for researching keywords for a website. Feel free to copy it or improve on it as you can.

Step 1 - Create a list of keywords.

Have you ever been in one of those network marketing organisations? The first thing they say to you is come up with a list of prospects (people you know), and all of a sudden it seems like you don't know anyone. And then you contact the people on your list and none of them are interested.

Well, it can be a bit like that with keywords. Coming up with a list of a few hundred keywords that people might be searching the internet for that relate to your business can be a bit daunting for those that are new to it.

The good thing is there are tools that can help you. Personally I tend to use the Google keyword tool first and foremost. You can do this by typing in a term related to your business and it will generate a list of terms related to this term. Or you can type in a website, maybe your competitors and it will generate a list from the content on the website.

Step 2 - Select your keywords

Once you have your list for starters you then need to select the keywords that you want to focus on. I take into account 2 factors when looking at keywords. I want the words with plenty of traffic, and I want the keywords with less competition.

I can guarantee that everyone in your industry will be targeting the top 10 main keywords. So, if you are just getting started in can be a real boost to target some of the secondary keywords. These keywords will still have good traffic volume, but there will be less competition.

Google Keyword Tool will give you a good indication of both traffic and competition.

Step 3 - Group your keywords

Once I have a list of a few hundred keywords with good traffic I then group them together. You can do this simply in an Excel spreadsheet. At the top of each column I put a main keyword, and I then group similar keywords under this column. You will probably finish up with 5 or 6 groups of keywords after you have finished this process.

I then look at each of these groups of keywords and from within each group I select the main keyword that has the most traffic and the least competition.

Step 4 - On Page Keyword Optimisation

After the grouping process you should have 5-6 main keywords and groupings of secondary keywords that relate to each of these main keywords.

These main keywords will then form the basis of your site URL's, Page Titles, meta descriptions for each page, navigation menu and page content.

When you do this it is vital that you do it in such a way that you do not detract from the user experience of your website. All of these factors should consider usability first and search engines second, but it is entirely possible to enhance your search engine rankings quickly and easily by doing this without affecting the usability of your site. In fact it will often enhance the usability of your site as well.

For example, if you are a florist one of your navigation menu headings might be 'products'. After this process you will find that 'products' will not be one of your main keywords. You may find that 'roses', 'flowers', and 'gift baskets' will be among your main keywords that you can then use in your navigation menu. This enhances both usability and search engine performance.

This process of identifying your keywords will take some time to begin with, but in my experience it will help you to focus on what your site is really about, and it will enhance your search engine rankings from day 1.

More traffic, more sales, happy days.

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