Keyword Research 101

One of the most important parts in any B2B online marketing strategy is the keyword research that goes into deciding what terms you should be targeting for your website and your search engine marketing strategy. Neglecting keyword research can drop your search engine rankings resulting in your company getting beat out by the competition. Thankfully, basic keyword research can be easily done even by a novice. Follow these few simple steps on how to do keyword research.

Make a List of Relevant Keywords

Social engineering conceptThe key to keyword research is to first develop a list of keywords you would like to rank for, and then second, to refine that list. When you think about your business, try to imagine what your target audience is likely to type into a search engine in order for your site to appear within their search results. Think specific. Conversion rates for specific keywords, also called long tail keywords, are a lot higher than those for one-worded, ambiguous keywords. This is because a person searching for a vague term such as “valves” is more likely to just browsing and to still be in the very early research stage; however, a person searching for a specific term such as “industrial control valves” knows exactly what they are looking for and is more likely to be ready to purchase.

Sometimes the best way to get started is just to open a blank document or to take out a pen and paper and start writing down all of the relevant words, phrases and modifications that you can come up with, in the perspective of your target audience.

After that, there are many ways to help move the brainstorming process along. The following online tools can help you discover new keywords and gauge the average monthly searches and the competition level of those keywords:

Here are some other tricks on how you can discover relevant keywords to add to your list:

  • Google related searches – Do a Google search for a targeted term and scroll to the bottom of the search results to check out the “related searches.”
  • Your Website’s search bar – If your website has a search bar, take a look at the words that visitors are typing in to find out what they are searching for. This information could be found via your website if the functionality is available or by setting up site search reports in Google analytics.
  • Analyze top ranked sites and competitors – Use Google search to identify the top ranked sites and competitors for keywords on your list and review their content and meta tags for keyword ideas.

Refine Your Keyword List

The second step is to refine your list in order to determine which keywords would truly be valuable to your website or business. In this step, you will refine your list based on relevancy, competition and traffic.

Are my keywords relevant?

Determine if the keywords on your list are relevant to your business by asking yourself a few simple questions:

  • If someone is directed to your site after having searched for a particular keyword, will they find what they are looking for, or will they bounce right off?
  • If they are to find what they are looking for, will this visitor become a valuable lead?

Who is my competition?

  • Find out who you will be competing against – Go to Google and start searching for your keywords. Take note of the websites you see in in the first page: Are there any familiar names? If nationally recognized companies such as Grainger and Amazon take the top ten spots in the search results, ranking for that keyword can take years of work, so looking for more refined or specific keywords would be more beneficial.
  • Find out the competition level – To find out this information, either use the Google Keyword Tool and strive for keywords that are low or medium competition or go to Google and check out the number of search results for a specific keyword. The more results, the higher the competition.

Do people search for this term?

Being ranked highly will not do you much good if no one searches for the keyword you are targeting. Targeting terms that are highly searched for and do not have a lot of strong competitors is what you need to be looking for in order to achieve SEO success. By removing infrequently searched terms, you will not only improve your rankings on Google, but you will also be improving your website in order to target your audiences.

If you follow these guidelines, you will end up with a list of your most valuable keywords that should be used for your digital marketing initiatives. Still have questions and/or not sure how to get started with your B2B online marketing initiatives? Check out our B2B search engine marketing guide or contact SVM E-Marketing Solutions.

About the author

Online marketing strategist on a mission to help B2B businesses effectively reach their target audiences and convert them.

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