If you are planning a website for your small business or are looking to increase the effectiveness of an existing website there is nothing more important than spending time on the first step of the process. No, it’s not which hosting company or designer to choose. It’s not how you want your website to look or behave. It’s your keywords.
If you are trying to expanding your business using the internet or generate leads from your website, you have three options. You can choose to pay to advertise, you can choose to optimize your site for the search engines in the hopes of generating free traffic, or you can do a combination of the previous two techniques. No matter what route you take, keyword research and selecting the right keywords for your site is a very important but often overlooked step in the process.
If you are scratching your head at this point wondering exactly what a “keyword” is, then here is a basic explanation. Keywords are the terms that a page or site is focused on. They are also the terms that your ideal customer would type in to a search engine if they were looking for what you have to offer. For example, if you were an air conditioning company operating in Chicago, you might target a keyword such as “Chicago air conditioning” or “air conditioning Chicago”.
The goal is that you will generate a list of words and phrases that are relevant to what your company offers and receive enough interest from web searchers to make them worth your effort. Not all keywords will perform the same way. Some keywords simply get very little in the way of search volume no matter how relevant to your site they may be, while other keywords are searched for on a daily basis.
Using the previous example, it might surprise you to note that according to the public Google search data, “Chicago air condition” gets very few searches in any given month while “air conditioning Chicago” receives 2000+ queries each month on Google alone. If this were your business the simple choice of keywords could have a profound effect on whether or not your online presence was profitable for your company.
Once you have found the right set of keywords to target for your site, you will want to make sure that they appear in the text on your site and even in your domain name if possible. These small tweaks can make a big difference in the number of free visitors your site receives from the search engines as well as the amount of money you pay and traffic you receive from paid advertising in Google Adwords and similar networks who take landing page quality in to account.
By doing diligent keyword research for your website you stand to gain more traffic and more sales than you would if you skip over this critical part of the process. Choosing the ideal keywords to target and following good website optimization practices can turn your simple website in to a profitable source of new leads and customers for years to come.