Keywords: Unlocking Your SEM Success


When you begin Search Engine Marketing (SEM), the first thing you do is explore potential keywords. Keywords, sometimes called keyword phrases, are the terms that your customers will type into Google or any other search engine in order to find your company. These are the terms that you will then want to incorporate into your website copy, social media pages, and blog posts.

We’ve developed a three step process to help you find the keywords that will be the best fit for your business.

  • Step One: List Phrases You Think Are Appropriate

    Back away from the computer and compile a list of terms that you think customers and clients would plug into a search engine in order to find your business. Using a pen and notepad or, even better, a large presentation pad or white board, will help you brain dump all of the possible terms that you creatively list.

  • Step Two: Test Your List

    Return to the computer and type each of the keyword phrases on your list into your favorite search engine. Study the types of things that are coming up in the search results. Are they similar to your business? For instance, one of our clients is a professional organizer and one of the services she provides is closet organizing. However, when you type “closet organizer” into Google you find products like shelving, track systems, and drawers used to help individuals organize their closets themselves. This keyword was obviously not a good fit for her. Make sure your visitor will see similar types of products or services to yours. If a searcher is not getting what they expected, they will try another search term. Cross off any keywords that are producing results that are irrelevant to your business.

  • Step Three: Check the Competitiveness of the Terms

    Once you’ve narrowed down the list by eliminating extraneous terms in step two, you can check the competitiveness of these terms using Google’s Keyword Tool. Plug in your keywords and Google will tell you how many individuals are searching for those words per month, as well as how competitive the words are. For best results, choose keywords with high monthly searches and relatively low competition. You may find that all of your potential keywords are highly competitive. In this case, focus on monthly searches.

Google will also make suggestions for additional keywords based on the phrases you input in the Keyword Tool. This can help you come up with additions to your list, but be sure to go back and search these terms on your own in Google to ensure that the results are similar to your offerings. People often forget this important step when they rely solely on the Keyword Tool for building their list.

Developing a list of the optimal keywords for your business is part science and part art. Often we rely too heavily on technology, trusting applications like the “Keyword Tool,” but when it comes to compiling your keyword list, trust in the human perspective over the tech.

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