Keywords play an important role in small business marketing. If you've landed here, then you know keyword strategy should be considered before redesigning your website or publishing a blog post. Keyword optimization helps search engines understand what your content is about, and if your site ranks high for the keywords your prospects use, then your small business website will receive search engine traffic from people interested in your offer. So, finding the right keywords is essential, but where do you find them? 

Start with Your Intuition

  • You know your business and your customers best, so start with what you know. For example, if your small business sells handmade Game of Thrones jewelry, then obviously "handmade Game of Thrones jewelry" would be a good starting point. Start by making a list of what you think search engine users might enter in order to find products and services like yours.

  • Or ask friends and family what terms they would use to find a business like yours -- their answers may surprise you!

Google Keyword Planner

  • Sign up for Google Adwords and use the free Google Keyword Planner tool to explore keywords for your small business in greater depth. Here you can enter a single keyword and get dozens of related keyword ideas to explore. You may find that your initial instinct was close but not quite right. For example, the tool may reveal that people aren't searching for Game of Thrones jewelry so much as they're searching for Game of Thrones pins, necklaces, or bracelets. Look for keywords that are relevant, that have high monthly search volumes, and low or medium competition.

Free Keyword Research Tools

  • Try other free keyword research tools to analyze or find keyword combinations. Google Trends allows you to type in multiple phrases and compare how search volume for each term has changed over time.

  • Übersuggest and Soovle both make keyword suggestions. Tip: if using Soovle, use the right arrow key to change search engines. Some marketing automation software also include built-in keyword discovery tools.

Tips for Choosing Keywords

  • Relevancy. No matter which tool your small business uses to find keywords, it's important to choose keywords that are relevant to your offer and audience. For example, if your website sells unique hand-crafted jewelry and one of the most promising keyword phrases is "buy jewelry supplies," think again. It doesn't matter how much traffic that phrase will bring you because it's attracting the wrong audience. People searching for that term want to make their own products, not buy yours.

  • Variety. Choose a variety of related keywords and plan on incorporating them into a single page. Once you decide on your primary keyword, look for terms you can use as secondary SEO keywords. Related terms are helpful for keyword optimization because they give additional context to your page.

  • Performace. Next, track results. Use analytical tools to see which pages are performing and which ones may need to be fine-tuned. Finally, as you discover keywords that bring traffic to your website, make sure to make the most of that traffic. Does the page's content make sense for the keyword search? Does your call to action make sense?

Keywords are important to an overall digital marketing plan that includes content marketing, blogging, social media, and email marketing

Finding keywords to drive traffic to your small business website isn't easy. Fortunately, your intuition and either free or paid keyword software can help you get started. Once you know your keywords, read up on how to boost your Squarespace traffic with SEO and SEM.


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