We have received so much feedback from our Spy Who Loved Key(words) blog post, and many requests to dig a little deeper into Keyword Research. So now that we’ve excited you with great advice on finding niche-specific keywords, let’s take a step back and discuss the factors that must work together to create those beautiful golden keywords that will drive organic traffic.
Keyword Research: A Scientific Method
Before you can begin optimizing your website, you need to know the online behaviors of your ideal customers. How would they describe your products or services? What do they type into a Google search? The more you know about your customers, the better chance you have of making your website appear in their search results – at the very top of the page where they are 33% more likely to click.
You may already have a few words in mind that you assume your customers are searching for. After all, you know your customers better than anyone else!
Even so, Keyword Research is still a necessary first step in Search Engine Optimization for your direct sales business. It is a calculated, methodological process that eliminates conjecture and guessing games and helps you pinpoint the specific words your customers are using – the words that find the balanced sweet spot between high relevancy and low competition.
1st Factor: High Relevancy
A keyword is popular when it is frequently searched. The more popular a keyword is, the more traffic it will bring to your site (if you rank highly for that keyword). So all you need to do is analyze the popularity of keywords and choose the most popular, right?
If you are just now getting into the SEO game, and you have any competition whatsoever, you will have a very hard time ranking for the most popular keywords. For instance, if you own a hardware store, your popular keywords might be “tools”, “hardware”, and “repair”. It could take you years and years of daily dedicated SEO efforts to ever start climbing up the search engine results with such competitive words!
You want to see a return on your time investment within weeks or months – not years! Obviously, the perfect keywords need to be highly relevant to your business. They need to be words your local customers are searching for. But they have to be words that you can logically rank for in a timely manner.
2nd Factor: Low Competition
Thankfully, your local customers are not going to search for “tools” if they want to find a hardware store in their hometown. Instead, they will most likely search for something like “Sacramento hardware store” or “where to buy hacksaw Sacramento”. This is called a long-tail keyword – 2 or more keywords that are less popular, less competitive, have a less search volume, and more specific to a niche market than a singular popular keyword.
Location long-tail keywords (city name + keyword) are a great option for a small local business, but that’s only the beginning!
Here’s another example:
Let’s say you are an IBO for TripleRoot, a company that offers merchant account services and free upscale POS systems (and a Flying Man Production). If you attempt to rank for highly competitive terms like “merchant account” or “POS”, you will have a hard time seeing any fruits of your labor, because the big players in the industry have an unlimited budget and are probably a decade ahead of you. Even if you do start ranking for one of those terms, your traffic will seldom be relevant. Think of all the different reasons someone would search for “POS”:
- A student at the University of Minnesota wants to know the tour dates of P.O.S. (the underground hip hop artist from Minneapolis)
- In a rush, an internet user pushed Enter before typing “Post office”
- A consumer is researching the changes in his POS Insurance plan after the Affordable Care Act
- A middle-schooler heard “p-o-s” at school and doesn’t know what it means
- A merchant wants to purchase a POS system
Obviously, there is only 1 person on that list you want to attract. This is why long-tail keywords are so important! “Where to buy a POS System” or even “How much POS systems cost” are long-tail keywords that will bring you much higher quality traffic.
In conclusion: Long-tail keywords are vital to your Search Engine Optimization because they are much easier to rank for AND they filter out the non-relevant traffic.
The more specific your keywords are, the easier it will be to convert those visitors to customers. You want all of your visitors to experience the “search and reward cycle” – an instant gratification to what they were seeking.
Target the right customers, hone in on their long search words, and you’re off to a great start!
Now you know what makes the perfect keywords. The next step is learning how to find them, which we have explained here.
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