Findability and Keywords 101

What exactly are keywords—why are they relevant—and how can YOU determine the ones you need to use to make your internet marketing efforts more successful?

The content on any business’ website must contain the correct keywords. After all, no matter how much money you’ve spent on your site, no matter how beautifully designed it is, no matter how fantastic your services—if no one finds your site, it’s virtually useless.

So how do people find your site when they are searching online? By using keywords. Therefore, your site must be optimized with the keywords people are using to search for whatever you are offering. (This is called search engine optimization, or SEO.)

Simple, right?

But that begs the question, how do you, as a website owner, know exactly what terms people are using when they search for your type of business?

Keywords are literally the key (no pun intended!) to being found online. No matter what someone is searching for—whether it’s a product, a service, or just some information—they do so by typing keywords into the search box. So, whether they type in “affordable independent financial adviser,” “registered investment expert” or “Denver Colorado broker” they are hoping the search results will show them exactly what they are asking for.

That is, in fact, the search engines job… Google will “crawl” all the websites online, looking for the ones with those matching keywords.

These are examples of long tailed keywords to be exact. (Plain old keywords would be “broker,” “investing” or “financial advisor”.) People use long tailed keywords when they are ready to whip out that credit card and make a purchase. They know exactly what they are looking for.

If you offer financial services products, but the term “financial services products” is nowhere on your site—you will not turn up when a customer searches uses that specific long tailed keyword—and one of your competitors will likely get the customer, instead of you.

So, to be competitive online, you’ll need to do some research to determine the most common ways people are searching for your products and services, and include those terms on your site. In that way, Google and other search engines can find you, and list your site in the search results page (hopefully page one!) and your customer will land on that beautifully designed website!

USING THE GOOGLE KEYWORD TOOL

Do you think you already know how your target market is searching online for what you offer? People may be looking with very different terms than the ones you’d expect. To properly optimize your site so that search engines can connect you with your potential customers, you’ll need to use the right keywords.

This free tool is part of Google’s adwords feature. Simply put in any keyword or phrase, and the tool will show you all related search terms, and the monthly search traffic for each one. You can see the global search traffic, or the local search traffic. If your business is a brick and mortar store or provides a personal service, you would likely be more interested in the local traffic. If you operate mostly online, you might be most interested in the global results.

By looking through the list of results, you might discover that the keywords you are now using get nowhere near as many searches as some of their alternatives. Armed with this new information, you can start tailoring your website’s content to reflect the way the most people are searching for what you’re offering.

Here are some of the things you can do with the Google Keyword Tool:
Search for keyword ideas using any combination of keywords, a URL, and categories.

Download selected or starred keywords, all keyword results, all keywords for certain queries, or keyword ideas in bulk.

Choose to see statistics for Mobile Search, and filter your results by search volume and competition types.

By the way, if you go onto YouTube, you’ll find a slew of videos showing how to use the keyword tool for a variety of different purposes. Just search “Google keyword tool” in YouTube’s search box.