Keyword Tools: Get Out Of Your Head and Into Your Business

By Heather Lutze, CEO 
Findability Consulting & Speaking

As a trainer in Search Marketing SEO–which I like to call Findability–I work with business leaders and teams that are stuck in their own time honored ways of marketing. This is no new news to me. I conduct half-day and full-day trainings helping businesses align with their online customers and adjust their Findability strategy. We have some great moments of learning, a-ha moments and oh sh*t conversations about the findings.

In an effort to help businesses hone in on their “ideal customers” online, I often facilitate keyword brainstorming sessions and instruct on clients on the keyword tools that work.Enlightenment via brainstorming sessions and use of keyword tools  is KEY to success. All businesses from solo-preneurs to multi-million dollar corporations stand to significantly increase the effectiveness of their online spend and related revenue.

Consider this:

  • As a business owner/ leader you’ve become very comfortable with your own, well-used keyword phrases.
  • You originally sourced your keywords from what you know of your business.
  • You search for these keywords every week or perhaps even every day to make sure you still rank.
  • You gave these keywords to the “geek” who manages your web site and you went back to work, comfortable in believing that you did a good  job to become findable online by new prospects.

But the words and phrases you came up with are not necessarily the unbiased keywords your customers are using. I can tell you that this is a huge problem, because after meeting with hundreds of companies over 13 years of Search Marketing execution, I’ve seen time and time again that the BUSINESS LEADERS GUESS WRONG! (Sorry for the gratuitous use of caps but this is so important.)

Guessing–and using–the wrong keywords can mean leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table!  Why not get some keyword brainstorming help from your own team?


Supplies You Need:

  • Large Flip Chart Sheets with the Post-It Sticky Backing
  • A pad of sticky notes for each participant
  • 8.5 x 11 sheets with the following phrases at top of sheet in 24 point Font
    • Competitors
    • Bitches, Moans & Complaints By Customers
    • Position/Titles You Sell To Primarily (Identify the difference between the researchers and the check signers)
    • Things You Do Not Do or Offer
    • Industries Served That Make You The Most Money
    • Keyword Modifiers i.e. Affordable, Luxury and Best

Now that you have your room set up, invite:

Anyone who touches the customer directly: Receptionist, Sales People, Web Person, PR Person, Key Executives and Marketing Executives. Explain the project. You’ll have different kinds of learners in the room, so follow these steps to get them all engaged:

* Write down some keyword ideas in front of group, you can illustrate this on the white-board first.

* Give them all a minute to jot down their ideas in each of the Trigger Categories

* Then give them the post-it notes and markers, turn on your favorite ITunes playlist and get to work. Keep the music loud and encourage them to not think too hard, just get as many potential key phrases written down as possible.

* Give your team about 10-15 minutes to complete the exercise. Think of questions customers ask the search engine, kike, “How do I find…?”, “What is…?”.

* Have a volunteer to collect each of the sheets, remove duplicate ideas and match up similar post-it notes. Have the same person read off the findings–then talk about them as a team.

* You will be AMAZED at the different perspectives on how customers might be searching for you that will come to light?

 Now take these keywords, organize them by category in an Excel spreadsheet and use a keyword tool like Google Keyword or to see how frequently each of those phrases get searched each month.

NOTE: The Google Keyword Tool is changing to the Keyword Planner in the coming months and you will have to have an Google AdWords Account to see the search info. I highly suggest you set one up, so you can have access to this tool.

This was one of my most startling recent keyword breakthroughs:

 Train The Trainer= 60,500 US Searches Per Month
 Training The Trainer = 1,220,000 US Searches Per Month

Holy Mackerel! This company was using the standard reference as their keyword phrase, rather than determining what phrase is being searched most. Only three little letters of difference, and yet huge revenue is hidden between these words.

Please email me questions and comments about how to conduct this type of keyword brainstorming session. Remember, whether you’re a solopreneur or part of a large company, get your and your team’s heads into the game and connect with your “new” targeted customer online. Your bank account will thank you.




  1. Great and very valuable blog post Heather! I have seen you do this process, and it is astounding for the creativity, clarity and focus it brings. Thank you for the reminder, and we are scheduling our session right after I send this. Very valuable!

  2. Heather, this is brilliant and I am going to try this with our team at an upcoming meeting! We do get stuck using the same words that we think EVERYONE is using for our clients…Thank you!

  3. This was a fabulous session and even more astounding was that a week later when we were digging into our “homework” we found the search term Trainer Trainer comes up 3, 250,000 a month!

  4. Very helpful. Keywords are not words, BUT key phrases that the regular person would say in a Google search.

  5. Hello Heather.

    I love the site, the main page is very cool. A fresh use of rotating graphics.

    Are you going to write a new book anytime soon?

    Thank you.


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