This is how you can know exactly what keywords people use when they look for your product or service

A few weeks ago I wrote on my blog about the relative importance of keywords. And though more is not necessarily better (actually, stuffing a webpage with keywords is going to hurt you) it is a good thing if you know the keywords your customer use, so you can work them in to your webpages and blog posts in a natural way. So here’s how you can find out what search terms your customers use: First do a little brainstorm with your team (or on your own) to come up with possible search terms. Think product names, service descriptions, but also how a customer would frame a problem they have that you can solve. Or the solution to that problem. ‘Plumber’ and ‘plumbing’ are good keywords if you are a plumber, but so would be ‘plumber + your city’ and ‘water leak’ (problem) and ‘water tap replacement’ (solution). Think like your customers. Just write down all the keywords you can come up with. You’ll sort them out later. Second, look in your website stats and see if you can find the words people used to find you. These are the words you are currently found with. Add these to your list. Then check out the keywords your competition uses. You can do that by typing in some of the keywords from your list in Google and check out the first 3-5 websites that are shown. On their pages, do a right click and ‘view source’. You get an html-overview of that page. Look at the titletag and description tag. They shoud be in the top of the document. Also look for keywords in the headline of the text and in the text itself. By now you have compiled an impressive list of possible keywords, but you still have no idea which of these your customers use the most.  We’ll fix that now. Just go Google’s KeywordPlanner here: You might need to sign up or at least sign in with your Google account. Now here you will have to play around a bit with all the options you have. But the end result after 10 minutes or so should be a list that is sorted on most volume search terms. You can download that list as a csv-file. So, now you have a huge list of keywords you know your customers are using. Cool! Now you should do one more thing: Create a Keyword Effectiveness spreadsheet. It should have the keywords in the first column, the monthly search volume in your country or area in the second column, the allintitle numbers in the third column, the total number of results found in the fourth column and the KEI (Keyword Effectiveness Index) in the fifth column.keyword effictiveness indexNow you should paste each keyword in Google and search for it like this: allintitle: keyword. That way you get to see all the webpages that have that search term in the title. Put the number of search results in the allintitle-column behind the keyword. Then in Google delete ‘allintitle: ‘ and hit enter again. Now you get all the search results (way more). Put that number in the ‘total results’ column. Finally, click in the empty box in the KEI column and devide the local montly volume by the allintitle amount. You now get the Keyword Effectiveness Index. This shows you if you at least have a shot at getting a good position in Google for that keyword. Please bear in mind that you’ve devided the number of monthly searches for your area or country by the world wide number of websites that have that keyword in the title of a webpage. So this KEI only serves as a means to sort all your keywords in a ‘most likely to succeed’ list. Now  I know this is not the most fun chore on your way to online success, but if you put in a few hours work, the rewards will be awesome and I guarantee you will a) earn it back many times and b) laugh and smile all the way when you see the results coming in. So eat the frog and do it. It’ll pay off. And you only have to do this once. Okay, so if you have gone through your list of keywords and have created this Keyword Effectiveness Index that is tailored to your business, you can now sort it according to the KEI column. What you will see is that some search terms are a combination of words that you would not have thought of in the beginning (sectional sofas). And it is very unlikely that the general, main keywords that consist of one or two words (interior design) are high on the list. That’s because every website in your industry is trying to get on the first page in Google for that keyword. Chances are low you can achieve that. But the good news is you now have a bunch of keywords of which the search volume might be relatively low, but the chances of getting on the first page for them are high. These are the keywords you should use in your website, in the title tags of your pages, in the headlines, body text, image descriptions and such. If you are doing Adwords (paid advertising) these are the keywords to focus on. It’s a rookie mistake to spend money on those generic, high search volume keywords. But more on that later. For now, spend some time and create this list of keywords to use them now and in the future. Yes, it’s quite some work, but it is not difficult and you can do this! – Chris –
August 3, 2014
Chris Vermeulen
Stuff Google Likes, Website Improvement, keyword research, keywords, SEO