Selecting Your Keywords
Doing good keyword research can be frustrating. The Google tools available are meant for mass marketers, the people who pay thousand per day in advertising fees. Using Google’s Keyword tools to research local business often results in a screen full of ‘not enough data’.
The 2 or 3 three calls a day that your local plumber might get may not seem significant to Google with their millions of searches per day, but those calls will be significant to your business is plumbing.
Two of the best research tools are Google and the business owner. Google allows you to analyze the search query numbers and competition levels, and their natural search shows you the competing sites. Examine these top sites and see what they doing to rank where you want to be, and duplicate that, only better.
The business owner is probably a more valuable research tool. He talks to his customers and knows what they ask for. His personal knowledge of his market is critical to understanding the local consumer he wants to attract.
The Google Adwords and Keyword Tools are available to you after you login to your (free) Google Adwords account (https://adwords.google.com/).
From here you can access the Keyword Tool, Adwords tool and your Google analytics.
The Keyword Tool allows you to enter one or more queries and it generates a list of related searches with search volume, competition, and other information. The Traffic Estimator takes your key word(s) and a cost per click, then estimates the ad position (among the paid ads) and number of daily clicks. Adjust the bid price until you have near #1. Organic listings get better results than paid ads, so your results may be much better.
A good place to start picking keywords to test, and to help select from the suggested keywords, is your own market understanding. Think like the local consumer you are. What would you type in to find this service? Concentrate on the benefits the owner is selling or the problems they are solving, not the products they carry. The keywords you go after should reflect that ‘local consumer in need’ mentality. Other useful tools exist to help you find your key words include:
> LSI Keywords (http://lsikeywords.com/) shows you the top 10 results and then breaks down the keywords in the websites giving you an idea of what others are competing for.
> Market Samurai (http://www.noblesamurai.com/) is an industrial-strength tool for doing market research. It automates many of the searches and
selections for you and has other useful modules. It is a one-time purchase, has a free trial period, and the keyword module stays active after the trial
> Local Niche Spy (http://localnichespy.com) is valuable in finding localized domain names.
Localizing Your Keywords
In many areas, it is hard to locate local data, so you need to do your keyword research on broader terms. These give you a national result and an indication of the general market.
Now you can add the localization terms to see which combinations are being searched for.
You can do a quick reality check by copying your list of general keys, pasting them into the search tool again, and then adding your localizing information (city, metro area or neighbourhood) before and after the key words. Run the analysis again to see if any search terms stand out.
The keywords you now have should bring interested local consumers to the web site, if they can find it. The next step is to check what you are up against.
TESTING YOUR KEYWORD COMPETITION
Once you have selected candidate keywords, test them by doing a Google search on the terms. This first page is your competition, not the thousands of pages behind them. You only have to beat one of these pages.
‘SEOQuake’ is a simple free plugin for your browser that lets you see a lot of information about these sites. Locate and install the plug-in and then you are able to check page rank, backlinks, domain age and other statistics.
The more pages there are on page one with a page rank of zero, the better your chances are of making the phrase work.
USING YOUR KEYWORDS
Now that we have identified some keywords, what do we do with them?
Your keywords need to be in your URL, post title, description, tags, and category and in the body.
If you want to rank for ‘Brisbane Cosmetic Dentist’, that would be a good name for your post. Use the term in the post and enclose it in <H1> Heading tags, and use the term within the post body. Use this, or variations, in the tags and page title.
Ideally, your main keyword should be enclosed just once in <H1> tags in the document body. Keywords can also be applied to your images’ titles, alt-text and description properties.
With all these items at your disposal, you can use the primary keywords in the main areas, and use the derivative keywords (<your city>plumbing and plumbing in <your city>, ‘plumbers’ instead of ‘plumbing’, etc.).
One last thought on your keywords – keep your keywords in the context of the website. The more focused your web is the better the results will be.
Search engines such as Google is looking through the internet for relevant content non-stop. They have this unique automatic program that they often refer to as “spiders” that has been scouring the websites and list them based on an algorithm that no one really knows. The fact is, Google looks at your website in a different manner. It sees your website as a plain black and white version without all the fancy add-ons. The first element that it notices is your Title Tag because it is located at the very top of your site.
The title tag is found at the top of your web browser.
Technically, your Title tag is not actually found on your web page, but instead, it is found at the top most portion of your web browser (e.g. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.), Because of this, it is very important that your keyword is found in your title tag.
How Do I Change It
If WordPress powers your website, you can simply change your title tag by changing your “Blog Title”. This can be done under the Settings Option, then Click General.
However, if you are using an HTML website, you may need to tweak some codes. You can find your title tag in your header. Try to check somewhere in between the HTML tags <head> and </head> is that tags <title> and </title>. Key in your keywords between these tags and voila! you get to change your title tag.
Geo tagging is not actually a new technique in the SEO world, it has been around for sometime but local internet marketers are quite unfamiliar with it.
Geo tagging is done by putting your metadata in you HTML code. With this, Google spiders will know your site’s location. This can also be done on the images on your site. This technique helps your website rank for the local searches. In metadata, information such as your longitude and latitude coordinates as well as variables like your altitude is included. With geo-tagging, you will have a good chance to appear in local searches like “pizza Toowoomba”.
Although geo-tagging helps your website’s SE ranking a lot, you can still rank without. But then again, why don’t you just apply it? It’s free and it will give you a better edge.
Tracking your progress
One of the problems with tracking your website’s standing is that your viewing habits affect your results. Once you have visited a site repeatedly, Google assumes it important to you and ranks it higher than others see it.
The very first item you should install on your website is Google Analytics. The analytics gives you a complete view of traffic, its sources, and the keywords that bring visitors to your site. You may find hot terms that bring visitors – optimize for those phrases and get even more visitors.
Free tools for tracking your rankings include:
> SEO Centro (http://www.seocentro.com/) lets you enter your keyword and
URL, then gives you your rank position in the 3 major search engines for
the top 40 competing sites.
> ‘Scroogle-Scraper’ (https://ssl.scroogle.org/) is a free service that sends
your request to Google anonymously and gives you unbiased results. This
is a good tool to check your standing through the top 100 sites.
> Advanced tools like Market Samurai (http://www.noblesamurai.com/)
provide rank tracking and competition analysis, making this very simple.
The rank tracker even offers graphs of your sites’ performance.