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Keyword Research 101: A Beginner's Guide for Small Business Owners

Keyword Research 101: A Beginner’s Guide for Small Business Owners

So you’ve heard about keywords but you are not quite sure what they are, or what they do… Fret not – isle help – with a handy guide to keyword research.

What are keywords?

First things first. Keywords are simply the words and phrases that people are typing into search engines. If you can understand what those words are, you can better tailor your website and content to show up in those searches.

Why bother?

Think of keywords as the bridge between your website and your potential customers. Picking the right keywords helps Google understand what your business is all about, which in turn helps Google point interested people in your direction.

Step-by-step basic keyword research

Step 1: Brainstorm

  1. Start with Your Business: What do you offer? List down the products or services you sell.
  2. Think Like a Customer: What words would you type into Google if you were looking for your own business? Write down all the terms that come to mind.

Step 2: Use free tools

  1. Google Search: Simply start typing your brainstormed keywords into Google and pay attention to the autocomplete suggestions. These are frequently searched terms.
  2. Google’s “People Also Ask” and “Related Searches”: These sections (found in the Google search results) can provide additional keyword ideas.

Step 3: Check keyword volume and competition

  1. Google Keyword Planner: This free tool can show you how often people are searching for a keyword (search volume) and how many other websites are trying to rank for the same term (competition).
  2. Go for the Low-Hanging Fruit: As a small business, you’ll want to target keywords with lower competition but decent search volume.

We use SE Ranking as our tool of choice. It has both free and paid versions.

Step 4: Consider long-tail keywords

These are longer, more specific keyword phrases. While they may have lower search volumes, they are usually less competitive and more targeted. For example, instead of “shoes,” you might aim for “women’s running shoes for webbed feet.”

Step 5: Localise

If you’re a local business, don’t forget to include location-based keywords like “coffee shop in Edinburgh” or “duck expert near me.”

Quick recap:

  1. Brainstorm: Start with what you know about your business.
  2. Use free tools: Google is your first best friend here.
  3. Check volume and competition: Aim for low competition but decent search volume.
  4. Consider long-tail and local keywords: Be specific and localise.

Basic keyword research doesn’t have to be scary or complicated. It’s all about knowing what your potential customers are searching for and making sure you’re speaking their language.

Find out more about SEO and how to make small, easy changes to boost it in our SEO Guide.