10 Jul How to Keyword Research for your Business in 2013

Many businesses achieve a false sense of accomplishment if they are ranking on Page One for their business name or a single keyword phrase associated with their business. If few people are searching for your business name, then ranking number one for it will not produce the desired results. Understanding how to keyword research is necessary to better understand what your potential business opportunity is for good search engine rankings. You need to determine the number of keyword phrases and total amount of monthly searches that are associated with your business. This is a more complete traffic picture. However, with the Internet changing so rapidly, you now need to create a keyword portfolio, as opposed to just a list of keyword phrases.

How to Research Keywords

It is imperative that you use the same keyword phrases that people are actually using to locate a business like yours. Don’t guess! Guessing can result in good search engine placement for a keyword phrase that produces little or no traffic. The initial step is to create a keyword portfolio for your business. A keyword portfolio includes the following types of keyword phrases:

If you are trying to attract local customers, your keyword portfolio will include the geo-modifier, e.g. city or town. For example: dentist Charleston SC. In addition, Google uses the surfer’s IP address to determine their location to ensure that if they search for just “dentist,” the correct local results are returned.

The branded keyword phrases are the list of phrases that surfers are using to locate your specific business name. These phrases are also important because potential customers will use them to search for your reviews and testimonials to decide if they want to buy from you.

Long tail
These are less competitive phrases that are three words in length or longer. Although they produce less traffic, they are less competitive and will usually rank easier.

These are the words or phrases that means exactly or nearly the same that are associated with your niche. For example: Divorce lawyer, divorce attorney, family law attorney, and family law lawyer all pertain to the niche and will be searched for accordingly.

Also, even if niches may be different, if they are similar, surfers may search for one using the other niche’s keyword phrases. For example: plastic surgeon and cosmetic surgeon.

Incorporating the associated synonyms for your niche is an important component of your keyword portfolio.

Auto suggest google auto suggest example
Google displays a list of phrases while the surfer is typing in a search query. When you type in your root niche keyword phrases to see the phrases that are returned. It is also advisable to type in your business name to discover how potential customers are searching for your business.

TIP: If you type in the root keyword phrase and follow it with a letter, you will discover addition keyword phrases. For example: weight loss a, weight loss b, etc. all the way to Z.

Niche related
These are specific words used in your business niche. For example, a divorce attorney would have keyword phrases associated with his or her services: restraining order, alimony, domestic abuse, etc.

The goal is to use the keyword portfolio in your website’s content, as well as your social media and content marketing campaigns. Do not list the keyword phrases, but rather incorporate them contextually into the content.

Digital marketing consultants use keyword research tools, such as the free Adwords keyword research tool or a paid tool, such as Jaaxy to discover the keyword phrases associated with a root keyword. For example, typing in the root phrase “dentist Tampa” will display the associated keyword phrases for this local business, how many monthly searches there are for each, as well as the estimated cost-per-click (CPC). For example:

keyword research exampleA good SEO resource will organize the keyword list and optimize the web pages for associated phrases. Did you realize that ranking for each keyword phrase has the potential of generating over 2,000 targeted visitors per month? The projected PPC costs can forecast the competitiveness of the keyword phrases. The more competitive the keyword phrases, however, the longer it can take to achieve top search engine ranking.

NOTE: As mentioned earlier, for a national campaign, your Internet marketing resource will generate a list of long-tail keyword phrases that are less competitive and easier to rank for in the short term.


Keep in mind, keyword research for a local business is different than a business who sells nationally. However, it is becoming increasingly important that a national company also incorporate a local search strategy. Trying to rank nationally for general keyword phrases can be extremely competitive and time consuming. For example, the keyword phrase “back pain relief” generates over 22,000 exact searches per month but is extremely competitive and achieving a Page one ranking would be expensive and could take over a year.

When targeting a national audience, you need to discover the long tail keyword phrases that are easier to rank for. As mentioned above, long-tail keyword phrase is three words in length or longer and has less monthly searches, but they are easier to rank for. For example, “how to get rid of lower back pain” generates 880 exact searches per month and is less competitive. Your digital marketing consultant will use keyword research and analysis tools to determine the best keyword phrases to use for your optimization. A national campaign begins with the long-tail keyword phrases to obtain faster ranking results. Then it expands to include the more competitive phrases to achieve good rankings in the long term. This occurs after your site grows in authority from your ongoing SEO campaign.

Our next example is also for a local business. Look at the box below for the keyword phrases and monthly traffic for a locksmith in Tampa, FL:

keyword research graphicThe list represents the online locksmith market in Tampa, FL. If the Acme Locksmith Company is only ranking for its name, then it may only receive five visitors per month. If the business is also ranking Number Three for “locksmith in Tampa,” the business will receive 8.5% of the 110 monthly visitors for that keyword phrase. That is about nine visitors. The total traffic Acme receives in our example is 14 visitors per month from the organic placements out of a potential of 1,751 visitors.

By not ranking for the other phrases, the Acme locksmith company is all but invisible for the majority of the surfers seeking a locksmith in Tampa, FL.


By understanding how to do keyword research, you will be optimizing your website content for the phrases in the keyword portfolio; Then your business can potentially obtain good search engine ranking and steady targeted traffic. Additionally, by incorporating a PPC campaign to test the keyword list to determine the converting keyword phrases, the web pages and online content can then be optimized and ranked for those phrases.

Now add a Google+ Local listing (if local), optimized YouTube videos and other highly ranking content and your business is controlling Page One with multiple placements. This is what we refer to as Niche Dominance!

It is important to remember that search engine rankings are volatile, and with increased competition, it is becoming more important that you work with professionals. Expect your rankings to fluctuate; however, if you are in a highly-specialized niche with little competition, you may not see as much variation.

If your goal is to achieve Niche Dominance, work with a professional digital marketing consulting firm with the proper experience. Do not solely rely on an SEO campaign. Rather, ensure that you have a comprehensive digital media marketing strategy that incorporates SEO, as opposed to using it as a single solution.

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