I love to cook. But I’ve learned through hard-fought experience that the first step to cooking something new is reading through the entire recipe. Eating dinner at 9 pm because you didn’t realize beef stew took two hours to simmer to perfection makes a lasting impression. Just like stumbling blindly through a new recipe, incorporating keywords into your site without researching them first is a hit-or-miss. And when it comes to your business goals, as to your stomach, you don’t have the time or money to miss.
Step 1: Brainstorm
Before you begin your search, brainstorm. Think of what you would Google if you were searching for your product, and write down as many variants of the phrase as you can. If your company is a doughnut bakery, for example, you’d write down keywords like “Tampa doughnuts,” “bakeries in Tampa Bay,” and “best doughnuts in Tampa.” Don’t forget plurals and long-tail keywords, like “Tampa bakery near Dale Mabry.”
Step 2: Research
Next, perform keyword research using either paid software or Google’s Keyword Tool (which you can find for free in the AdWords section). Google’s Keyword Tool allows you to enter a URL and receive recommendations or your keyword ideas. I suggest using both the URL and your brainstormed keywords for great results.
You’ll receive data for the specific keywords you entered, along with some suggested keywords. No matter which software you use to perform your research, you’ll see the same data for your keywords: competition and average monthly searches.
This metric will have some version of low, medium, or high, indicating the level of competition for a specific keyword. “High” competition means there are several sites competing for that specific keyword, whereas “low” indicates a low amount of competition.
Average monthly searches
A keyword is useless if no one is searching for that term, and this metric allows you to see, on average, how many monthly searches are performed. A keyword with no monthly searches is not a good keyword.
The key is to find keywords with a balance of competition and monthly searches. A marketers dream is to find relevant keywords with 10,000 monthly searches and low competition, but these days that likelihood is slim. Choosing a high competition keyword isn’t taboo, but you may be better off choosing some with medium and low competitions to see more traction. I recommend making a spreadsheet with your data so you can easily sort and filter as you make decisions.
As time goes by, you’ll become more adept at filtering through the data and choosing winning keywords for your content. Do you have any keyword research recipe tips you’d like to share?
About the Author
I'm Autumn Nicholson, Director of Internet Marketing. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English and took the first editing job I could find, at a marketing company in South Carolina. I joined Farmore Marketing in 2014 to put my internet marketing experience to good use—and to spend more time on the beach. I invest much of my time volunteering for nonprofits, reading, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix. You can connect with me here: