Right off the bat, we have to clear a few things up. The term keyword is the biggest misnomer in digital marketing. In the industry, we are really referring to key phrases. A single keyword has little value. When was the last time you typed a single word into Google? Maybe never? Usually, you are typing in a whole phrase. Right? So, when you hear an SEO specialist referring to keywords, they most likely mean keyphrases.
While we are at it let’s clear something else up. How or where do I apply an SEO keyword/keyphrase. Do I use them in my actual content? Do I use them in my meta tags, like my meta title and my meta description? Do I “buy” them in a paid pay-per-click campaign? Yes. Yes to all of those options. Think of them as actual keys, if every link on a search engine result page (SERP) is a doorway to your business, then keywords are the phrases that will unlock them.
So let’s make this easy and get started.
LOW HANGING FRUIT for KEYWORDS
If you are a local business the easiest key phrase formula is [your business category + your city]. For example; Computer Repair in Beaverton, Coffee Shop in Gresham, or Business Lawyer in Clackamas. Another easy trick is using Google’s auto populate tool. Watch the short video below for that one.
FURTHER UP THE BRANCH
If you want to reach out to a larger audience geographically, pair your service with a targeted audience. For example; Bird Control for Agriculture, Gourmet Petfood for Cats. SEO services for Local Businesses. You get the idea.
Don’t be afraid to use ugly words. The days when we used “inexpensive” instead of “cheap” or “pre-owned” instead of “used” are almost gone. In the world of search engines, it is better to target the words your visitors use versus the type of phrasing you wish they would use. Mouse-over the interactive graph below and see how many people are interested in “Used Cars” vs. “Pre-Owned Vehicles”.
GET TO THE ROOT OF THE SEARCH
Finally, my other type of keyword (keyphrase) is what I call the symptom keywords. These are the phrases that do not directly describe your business or service but are the questions your visitors would ask to find your product or service. For instance, let’s say you do auto repair, use keywords that people would ask google; What does the check engine light mean, How often do I change my spark plugs, or Why does my heater blow cold air.
GOOGLE AUTO-POPULATE TRICK
Check out the short video below that shows an easy-peasy way to discover relevant keywords for your business.
REVIEW AND KEYWORD TOOLS
Make sure you use key phrases and not single keywords. Again, how often have you typed a single word into a search box? Use the key phrases in your content in an organic way. Any more than 1-3 percent could be considered spam. Use the keyphrase in your meta-description. You can also use the keyphrase as your blog title or paragraph title.
Tool to determine if you are over/under using keyphrase | http://tools.seobook.com/general/keyword-density/
Google’s tool to find a keyphrase | https://adwords.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner