Writing helpful articles and publishing them on your website is a great way to generate more targeted traffic organically. This strategy, better known as content marketing, is helping thousands of small businesses compete with their larger counterparts. Content marketing has leveled the playing field.
Every great small business content marketing campaign should start with one thing: a solid keyword list.
The list should contain at least 100 keywords you know your customers are searching for and are relevant to your business.
These keywords describe your unique products and services, alert potential customers of your competitive advantages and product benefits and tell the search engines/searchers where you are located. If you don’t know what keywords you’re focusing each and every piece of new content on, you should start keeping track of it right now.
If you need help coming up with this initial keyword list or you already have your list but need to add to it/remove from it, I have some common mistakes to alert you of. Be sure to avoid these items next time you’re working on your keyword list.
1. Focusing on general or irrelevant keywords
Whenever I talk to small business owners, I always check out their website pages to see if they contain meta keywords. These keywords should give me some sort of indication regarding what the focus of the page should be. However, I usually see two glaring issues immediately; general keywords and irrelevant keywords.
Let’s say you’re a fictitious lighting company for example. You wouldn’t want to focus on the keyword “lights” or “lighting”. These keywords are far too general, meaning they’re extremely competitive. So when you target them in your content you have a very low likelihood of appearing on the first page of the search results amongst the larger players in the market who have more pages and more inbound links (read: more authority).
Even worse are irrelevant keywords. How would you feel if you searched for “doughnut place nearby” and the search engine retuned a baking store where you could buy ingredients to make bake bread and a confectionary store where you can pick up a can of candied nuts? You would feel confused, which is why you’ll want to make sure your keywords are relevant to the page content. The doughnut store wouldn’t use the keywords “dough” and “nut” because those are irrelevant to the actual product offering (and they’re too general!).
2. Focusing on multiple long-tail keywords
Usually long-tail keywords, or individual keywords that have been put together to form a phrase, are great keywords to focus your content on. Going back to the lighting store example, a good long-tail keyword would be “track lighting installation kits”. The query is more specific and can be added to phrases like “Where to find track lighting installation kits?” or “3 track lighting installation kits for do-it-yourselfers”.
A unique situation where a long-tail keywords can get you in trouble is when you try to focus more than one on any page. Looking at the lighting store again, you wouldn’t want to try to plug in multiple iterations of a long-tail keyword on the page like “awesome track lighting installation kits”, “easy track lighting installation kits”, and “discount track lighting installation kits”.
Just stick with the iteration you know matters most to your target customers. If they’re mostly concerned with quality, use “awesome”, if they’re concerned with time-management and ease, use “easy”, and if they’re concerned with price, use “discount”. Don’t try to use all three on the same page or squeeze all three adjectives into one like “awesome easy discount track lighting installation kits”.
Note: You can test these keyword iterations in your headlines using a headline test in BoostSuite.
3. Choosing similar keyword iterations
The search engines are smart enough nowadays to tell the different between abbreviations, acronyms, and plurals, so don’t be extremely concerned with getting every single different iteration of a single keyword on a page to cover the bases.
Looking at the lighting store example, if you’re located in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can use NC or North Carolina but you don’t need to use both because the search engines know the difference. Same thing with “ceiling fan light” and “ceiling fan lights”. There’s really no difference between the two in the search engines’ eyes. They also know that “DIY” is the same as “do it yourself”.
The key with all of these tips is to just stick with one long-tail keyword per page that you can easily wordsmith into your page title, meta description, h1 heading, URL, and body content a couple times. If you start focusing on 3 or more keywords per page, there’s no way you’re going to be able to add all of those keywords to all of those areas without sounds robotic or even worse, idiotic!
Have you ever done any keyword research for your small business? How long were the keyphrases that you used in your content marketing? What did you hate or love the most about the process?
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