If you’re just starting with a new SEO company (be it us or not), having a new website built, building up a new marketing campaign or anything along these lines, it is IMPERATIVE you know what keywords are important to you.
Let’s take that one step at a time. IF you’re already familiar with keywords and what keywords are the most beneficial to YOUR company, you might skip this post. If you have no real good idea what a keyword is (or how a keyword actually can be 4 or 5 words!) then you might want to read on.
What IS a keyword?
Simply put, a keyword is a word or GROUP of words (phrase) for which you wish to be found. Most people end up making this more complicated than it really is so let’s go through this simply. Let’s go with an imaginary company that provides car repairs. We arent’ going to get complex here so don’t get scared.
Our imaginary company will be Tom’s Auto Repair in Clayton NC. Let’s further say that the owner’s name is Tom Fitzgerald.
When we first ask someone what they want to be found for, if they have no experience in this field, they will almost always say their company name. WRONG. Ladies and gentlemen, that is the WRONG answer in the big scheme of things. If they’re looking for your company name, they SHOULD find you without a problem. If someone knows your specific name, Tom Fitzgerald, they may tap in “tom fitzgerald car repair” or any other number of variations and will be able to find you. Since your name is going to be all over your website, you don’t need or want to waste efforts with any search engine optimization company focusing on getting your name more optimized. This should NOT be confused with creating auxiliary properties like Foursquare, Google MyBusiness, Angie’s List, Yellowbook, G+, Yahoo, Bing, etc properties that also come up when someone searches your name, but you should not be worrying about someone being able to find you by your company. Those people realistically are already aware of you and will be finding you.
What words SHOULD be targeted?
The ones where possible customers are searching for your services or products. Plain and simple. Forget worrying about optimizing and essentially blowing your budget on your company name – spend your money on the SERVICES and PRODUCTS that you offer. Let’s ease into this a bit.
So, based on this, you might decide that you want to be optimizing for anything to do with “cars” – whoa Bucky! Not so fast. “Cars” by itself is pretty broad. How so you ask? Well, while you probably want to see people looking for “car repairs” or “auto repair clayton” or something like that, “cars” can also turn into “model cars”, “toy cars”, “clown car”, “cars for sale”, “car magazines”, “race cars”, “junk cars”, etc. In short, a whole LOT of terms that have NO relevance, meaning or benefit to YOUR company. We don’t want their traffic.
Broader is not better
One of the BIG concepts to take away here is that the MORE SPECIFIC YOUR TERMS, the MORE TARGETED traffic you will have. I personally LOVE to see some great traffic – but. IF I get 100 hits and 99 of them bounce back to the search page in under 5 seconds, that is NOT lost on Google. They see that you do NOT have what customers want. You WILL end up taking a hit. On the flip side, if I have a very targeted keyword group and bring in only 10 hits but 8 or 9 of them stay onsite for several minutes, THAT is also not lost on Google. They see you have a high retention factor with those visitors – and will tend to rank your site up.
Let’s get targeted traffic
That said, let’s think about words that might be more targeted and bring in more of the customers that we DO want. “car repairs” immediately comes to mind, and even though it IS 2 words, it is still referred to in the SEO world as A keyword LOL. We’d probably want to add on some “auto repair” and brothers, “car repairs”, “auto repairs”, “vehicle repair”, “vehicle repairs” and some flips on that like “repair autos” or “repairs trucks”, etc. So we’ve got that kind of stuff sort of in mind. We’ll want to use this in our SEO work, but we don’t want a whole page of “We repair trucks and we repair cars. We also do auto repair.” The content would be bleak indeed.
Let’s think about some of the services that would be good to be found for in a Google or Bing search. How about things like “oil changes”, “transmission repairs”, “brake replacement”, “wheel alignment”, etc? Does our shop do things like that? Now if we throw those terms on the page, we’re starting to give the potential customer a better idea of what types of services we offer – as well as Google and all the other search engines.
Search engines understand some concepts, but they’re not human – not yet at least. So just because I say our company does “auto repair”, there’s no indication to Google that we might do engine repair, or do the oil changes, or anything else along those lines. If we want to be found for something, it’s a GREAT idea to make sure you mention it somewhere on your page/site. You don’t need to hit the search engines over the head with your term, but keep your information and terms relevant and they’ll fill in the blanks much better.
Search Location, location, location…
Now that we have your service targeted, we get to the concept of location! You may also hear “geo-location” mentioned. Those little maps. Being found for the city. This can open up a whole NEW can of worms too, so we’ll keep this simple. We have someone that wants a “car transmission repair” and they search for it. In THIS case, Google often interprets these as “local” searches. The simple way to look at this is you are likely looking for someone here locally to provide this service.
Contrast this to a search that is more likely to be “global” in nature. A “global” thing might be “big bang theory episodes”. See how that would NOT be a local search term? The results for that query would be the same (or likely would be the same) in Clayton North Carolina or in Juneau Alaska. When you do a search for the specific car repair, it is more likely to be locally focused. Maybe you are sitting in Raleigh though and you want to find a repair place closer to home in Clayton. So NOW, you’ll end up typing in “car transmission repair clayton nc”. You might find the video below… or something else.
The takeaway here is that the more focused those keywords are, the more you likely it is that you want to be found for it. Do I care if I show up for transmission repair in Chautauqua NY? Not. NOBODY is going to drive or have a car towed 10 hours to get a transmission repaired. At least on any NORMAL vehicle. However, if I’m IN Clayton NC and someone is searching FOR a Clayton repair place, well, I want to be the big man on the SERPs.
ACTION LIST – PICKING GOOD SEO KEYWORDS:
- Pick specific keywords for services that will make you money. 1 service makes you a buck and another makes you 100 bucks. Unless you want to try to provide 100 of the “buck” services – go for the higher dollar value term. Don’t waste your time selling disposable pens when you can be selling the desk with a much better profit margin.
- Be specific. We’ve seen how “general” and overall intent can play a HUGE part in what is sent to your site – and the results.
- Think about how you want people who do NOT know you to find you. A specific service, product, etc.
- Side note going along with selecting keywords – Generally the more services you have, particularly BIG service areas, the more website pages you should have to represent them. If you have engine repair and provide both gas and diesel engine repairs, that might be worthy of breaking them into their own areas. Don’t try to cram everything into one page to save $100. Tripping over pennies…
- Ask your SEO company to see what additional common terms people are searching for with geo included in YOUR area. We use Google Keyword Tool among other things and can get a pretty good idea of what things and with what volume people are searching.
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