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How to make the most of your keyword research

Keyword research is important. One of the question we hear all the time is, “How do I get to the top of Google for *insert industry relevant keyword* here.” The answer is there are numerous reasons and ways to increase your business’ search engine visibility. The better you understand your buyer personas, the better you’ll understand what they’re searching for.  

How to make your keyword research work for you

Keyword research should be fun. In order to be effective, however, you must take off your business owner, or sales rep, hat and put on your customer’s hat, as if  you were a customer searching for something in your industry.

For example, let’s play a game. Pretend you are the owner of a local plumbing company and you’re new to the area. You’re learning that it’s a competitive area. There’s this one plumber who you see on TV all the time and no matter where you go in town you’ll see a billboard with his face on it. How the heck are you going to compete with this guy spending thousands of dollars each month on traditional marketing methods? You’re going to lay a foundation online and let it compound over time. It’s 2018, and internet real estate is crucial to a business’ success.

In order to lay that foundation, you must get inside your customer’s head, understand what they’re searching for, and then use those keywords everywhere you can (naturally). The goal is when someone types in a plumbing-related question, your company shows up.

How do I know what keywords to target?

Obviously, knowing what keywords to use can be tricky - especially in competitive industries where there are  a lot of other companies with strong internet presences. This is where the actual research comes in. You have a pretty good idea of some general terms a potential customer might search. And now you have to see how hard it is to rank for those keywords.

  • Why is my water bill so high?
  • Why won’t my toilet stop running?
  • How do I know the plumbing is good in this old house I am buying?
  • Plumber near me
  • Pittsburgh plumbers

Your list should be much longer than that and can be generated using some awesome tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or more advanced tools like Moz. These tools will show you rough estimates of how many times each keyword is being searched per month, how difficult it is to rank for that keyword and, equally important, whether or not you have a good opportunity to rank for certain keywords.

The next step is to analyze those keywords and find your low-hanging fruit. A good example of low-hanging fruit is a keyword with a solid amount of monthly searches and a low difficulty. This is usually a long tail keyword. An example is, “When to know it’s time to replace my fixtures,” as opposed to a broad keyword, such as “plumbers.”

Once you find that long tail keyword you create content around it and monitor your rankings through Google Search Console. The more you create educational, natural content around that keyword, the more movement you will see toward page one of a google search result.

Where do I put all of these new keywords?

Google is constantly changing its algorithms, but no matter what changes, they will always reward stellar, natural sounding content around the keywords you’re trying to rank for. Here are some places Google will be sure to notice your new keywords.

  • Page titles
  • Headers (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
  • Page Content
  • Blog Posts
  • Image Alt Text

Page titles are exactly what they sound like– it’s one of the first things Google sees when it crawls your page. You can optimize your page titles on the backend of your site no matter which platform you’re using. There are also plugins like SEO by Yoast that try and do this for you, based on the page’s content.

Headers are also easily recognizable, and important, when it comes to SEO. A common mistake people make are just bolding and increasing the size manually in their content management system. Please don’t do this. Be sure to highlight the text and select the header style you’d like in the paragraph styles dropdown of your content management system. Also, a little hint ... not everything should be an H1. Try and limit it to one H1 per page.

Blog posts are also a great place to work in relevant keywords. If you’ve made it this far in the post you understand how seriously Google takes quality content. It can be tempting to just stuff your keywords into a post and just throw it up there. Google is very smart and only getting smarter,  seeing right through keyword stuffing and not rewarding you with higher visibility.

Image alt text is important as well. Google can’t read images. Therefore, it relies on image alt text to understand what the image is trying to portray.  

When will keyword research payoff?

Keyword research is extremely important, but it takes time. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. It takes, at minimum, six months to see any significant traction, and that’s assuming you’re blogging weekly. The best part about blogging is that it compounds. Each time you post a blog, it’s another page for Google to index, and another opportunity for you to rank for relevant keywords. Stay the course, it will pay off.

Are there any shortcuts? Can’t I just pay Google?

There are no shortcuts to improve organic search. However, there is a way to increase search visibility through Google AdWords. No, it ain’t free. However, since you’ve already went through the trouble of figuring out which keywords your customers are searching, it might be a good idea to develop an AdWords strategy and budget around those keywords. Keep in mind, the more competitive your industry, the higher the cost to be competitive.

One great thing about utilizing an AdWords strategy is you will be able to see specific data for each keyword. For example, you can know which keywords are generating the most impressions (being seen the most), generating the most clicks and generating the most spend. All very valuable information that can translate into organic search strategies as well.

Give us a call…

If you’ve read this entire post and realize the value of the keyword research, but you’re struggling to find the time or resources to actually implement this strategy just give us a call. We help companies of all sizes increase their Internet footprint and we’d love the opportunity to learn more about your business.

Chris Vendilli
About the Author
Chris is the founder and CEO of Vendilli Digital Group. In his free time, you’ll find him camping, fishing, or playing beer league ice hockey with a bunch of guys who refuse to admit they’re already over the hill.
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