Marketing Your Small Business on the Web: Keyword Research

By | July 29, 2011

Your business finally moved to the web, and you tell your walk-in clients about it and put it on your business card and signs. Great. You even create a mailing list and market your website through a couple social media outlets. Even better.

With just that, you’ve accomplished a lot for you business to keep your client base strong and help attract potential clients. Still, there’s one more huge step (plus a million other tiny things you can do to improve your site): Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO essentially aims to improve visibility on major search engines, namely Google.

This topic often becomes lost with many small business websites because most of the discussion regarding SEO is written by and for bloggers attempting to reach thousands of hits per post to gain revenue from AdSense and online ads. Some of this discussion can be helpful, but many guides on SEO out there are not that relevant for small business and contain a good amount of superfluous information that small business websites don’t need.

 

Research

This is one of the most important parts in the process of SEO, and it is far too often overlooked. There’s no limit to how much SEO research you can do for your business, but I’ll cover some generally good ideas here:

  • Brainstorm search queries. Consider what words potential customers would type into Google to find your company or its service, and make a long list of these words. These are your potential keywords; make this list as fast as possible.
  • Research your keywords. Sign up for Google AdWords, and put your keywords into the “keyword tool” and use the “ad text ideas” generator. This will give you an idea of how much competition and search volume your keyword has and suggestions for related keywords that might have less competition (like long-tail keywords). In this research process, you can start to trim your list down to the most promising keywords.
  • Analyze Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for each keyword. Put some of your keywords into Google, and study the sites that are your keyword competition. Look for similarities in your competition, compare content and links, and see how your site can improve upon their site and their SEO. You have to be better than the high rankers.
  • Search for your site. Start with just typing your website name or URL into Google to see if it is indexed. If you can’t find your site through these searches, it probably isn’t indexed, and you’ll have to do some troubleshooting to find out why.

 

Implementation

Now that you’ve done all this SEO research, how do you implement it into your site?

  • Edit HTML code with SEO tags. This is the biggest part of SEO. Make sure you incorporate your keywords into the following:
    • Title tag (use different keywords for different page titles)
    • H1 of each page
    • P text
    • URL architecture (you want it to look like www.mysite.com/my/content instead of www.mysite.com/allmycontent/?category=my&othercategory=content)
    • Alt tags and filenames of images
  • Create a meta description. This is the blurb under your site in a SERP.
  • Add business address and phone number. Try to get this text somewhere on every page, perhaps on the footer of the site. Use mailing address format with the phone number at the bottom.
  • Add a robots.txt. This will make it easier to track search engines and also tells search engines what pages they can crawl.

 

Author Bio:

This guest post is contributed by Patricia Garza, who writes about gadget, technology, design, social media, e-learning related articles at online university rankings.