Keyword Research: The Basics

Good morning internet fans! It’s Ryan Perry with Simple Biz Support. It is Internet Marketing Thursday. And I have to apologize. As soon as we started the episode, I’ve got banging going on at the building.

It’s either a very large woodpecker or somebody’s doing maintenance on the building. I have no control over it, so if you hear banging, it is what it is. It is Thursday and therefore I have Virginie Dorn CEO of Business Website Center down in Petaluma. Good morning Virginie.

Virginie Dorn: Good morning Ryan, how are you?

RP: I’m doing wonderful as long as this banging doesn’t continue all day. They’re actually painting the building, so I’m assuming they’re trying to fix some stuff before they put paint over it, but it is what it is. I’m sure the building will look much nicer when they’re all done.

VD: Hmm. I hope so!

After all that banging with the paintbrush.

RP: I mean it was literally like, as soon as I hit “Okay let’s start the broadcast”, “krr krr krr” I’m like really? Come on. But, it is what it is. We should probably move on though and today we are going to talk about keywords, and doing some keyword research, what the difference is between a keyword and maybe the long tail keyword and then things are getting a little bit more complicated when it comes to keywords these days because with the voice-activated software like Siri and then Google’s, putting their product out, and I’m trying to think if it was IC, IHC or one of the other phone manufacturers has their own version of Siri now. So versus typing in “Dentist in Santa Rosa, now we’re going to be talking more in a natural way as you put it, where it’s “Siri, find me a dentist in Santa Rosa.” Therefore the search term’s going to be completely different.

VD: Yes, so that’s becoming more common. Not just phones too, because now you have screens and desktop computers when you can talk to, so people are doing less typing and more talking to a screen, which is kinda weird in a way, a bit science fiction but it’s happening, everywhere in offices across America. So we do have to take into consideration the natural way people ask a question when searching for something on the internet now then they can speak them, they tend to use more words, when they type it they tend to use less words. So this is all important and to take into consideration when you’re interested in Search Engine Optimization… I do not hear you.

RP: Sorry I muted the microphone because of the banging going on, and I have to remember to unmute it. This is just going to be a great episode I can tell.

VD: It’s like live TV. I love it.

RP: Yes it’s the best! There’s a reason why I never got on the news.

VD: Well lets talk about what the keyword is.

RP: You know, keywords come out of it. I was talking about the fact that Google had an update earlier this year, and I forgot the name of it, and it basically had to do with changing their algorithm to better understand of, that visual or voice search. Because Google’s all, it started out all we had was a keyboard and so it was “dentist” and we might go “oh geez, ‘dentist’ gave me a return from a national level, and I really don’t care about ‘dentist’ nationally”. So then we got smarter and we said “Okay, dentist Santa Rosa” as an example. And then Google said “Oh Okay you want local?” and then Google got even smarter and started, then we had the local map section, which is now Google Business, where we type in “dentist” and Google said “Oh well, we’re smart enough now that we can know that it’s probably on a local search”, so they have a separate database for that.

Then this latest algorithm update, and gosh I want to say it was six or nine months ago, they are targeting people that are actually speaking. So it will be interesting, as Google gets smarter about the voice side of things, if they’re going to blend the two together that if I say, “Siri” or “Google”… But, you can’t say “Siri” because Siri’s not using Google’s search engine. But if it’s a Android phone and we’re using Google and we say “Hey Google, find me a dentist in Santa Rosa” Is that search result going to be the same as a search result for somebody who types in “dentist”? Because ultimately, we’re looking for the same thing, even though we’re typing and saying it differently.

VD: Yes, so again that ties it into the long term keywords and what they are is the combination of five or seven more words in the search. So you said “dentist”, maybe “dentist that specialize in small children in Santa Rosa California”. That would be long term keywords. It’s actually estimated that now about 70% of searches on the internet… For… On Google, not on the internet, on Google, are now long term keywords. So as a SEO person you and I, and as customers when on websites you really have to pay more attention to those long term keywords. And there are huge advantages as being found for a very specific keyword sentence.

I wrote down a few notes here. First, the green wall targeted visitors to your site because you’re actually truly answering a unique need that searcher has. So, if you specialize in young children and you’re a dentist and you’re in Santa Rosa and they find you, you’re a perfect match for them. You have a much higher chance of turning the prospect into an actual sale. They are less competitive as well. Everybody wants to be found for dentist but unless you want to turn out dentist, truly it’s not as interesting as being found as the gentle dentist for small children in Santa Rosa. You have more chances there than trying to be found for dentist across the nation. And for most businesses, it makes no sense to be found in New York if you’re in California. So I always have to calm down my customers and telling them, “I know you want to be found for dentist but truly you have a small radius around your office and people can attest so being concerned by your city and your county is so much more important than being found by someone in Utah.

RP: Right and, that’s where when you’re building out content for your website you want to make sure that you’ve the target or that is to specify which cities you want to be found in. A lot of people are now getting smarter about content and dentists is a great one because if you ever looked up dentist articles, blogs, articles, any type of stuff it was always, well, how do you whiten your teeth? Or how do you brush your teeth? How many times should I floss my teeth? All real generic boring stuff. And as content writers have gotten smarter and SEO people have gotten smarter also, they’re starting to actually write about things that their community wants to hear about. So the reality is, as an individual, I don’t necessarily just want to hear about dentist stuff from my dentist. Yes, I need to make sure that they know what they’re doing but I’m going to be more engaged if they’re talking about local events, local festivals, local going on, what’s going on in Santa Rosa that interests me I’m more likely to engage with them because there’s a higher interest level.

And now, from a marketing point of view, you have me top of mine because I’m engaging with you on a regular basis and that’s very beneficial especially in social media. So when you do write content, I had one content writer that I used for a while who was fabulous and she would write about the different type of foods that you could get at a Farmers Market that were healthy for your teeth. So now, we’re incorporating local Santa Rosa Farmers Market and we actually talked about the specific farmers market, where you could go, what time it was and all those type of things but we still tied it back to dental care. And so there was a relevancy there, therefore, a higher interest and from an SEO point of view we’re talking about dental care, we’re talking about Santa Rosa. So we’re geo-targeting, we’re bringing those two things together, making that more likely to be found on Google or Santa Rosa as an example.

VD: I agree with you. Geo-targeting is extremely important and people keep forgetting about it. One thing for the users out there or the site owners to keep in mind is, if you are going to geo-target for a specific service, make sure it’s included in your content, not just in the meta title, the meta description, the meta keywords kind of hard coded at the top of your page for the box but also in the content itself. So again, dentist for small children in Santa Rosa at some point throughout your content you have to have those keywords put clearly visible and readable by the box and they have to be exact terms, too. So if you want to be found for that exact keyword search, it has to be which one exactly the same at least once, two maybe three times throughout the content.

You and I always talked about writing for Google versus writing for natural people, humans, and it’s more important to write for humans. As, Google’s gotten very smart about it, they would know when you’re trying to do keywords stuffing. So make sure you include the keyword in your copy. Make sure you do an exact term match at least once in your content. Another thing I think we talked about is targeting a, one keyword search per page and not try to be found for everything, every location, every service, on one single page. You dilute the message, it doesn’t work. People have tried. I want to be found for everything and anything, yeah, but you will get found for nothing if you do it that way.

RP: Yeah. And that’s where blogging is so important. It’s amazing how many, especially small business, and for me small businesses, somebody has a local audience. So it’s just an attorney, auto body shop. Typically, they’re only looking for clients in one specific cities, maybe a county, those type of thing. So you look at their content on their blog and you did a blog like five times last year and then it didn’t work for them so they stop blogging. And when we talk about long tail keywords, we talked about geo-targeting, all of these things tie into blogging so very well because one blog correctly written about a long tailed keyword such as, a small child and dental care as an example.

It’s really hard to put that into a website all by itself unless you truly do just specialize in small children, then you might have a single page on your website that just talks about that. But, you may not be able to go, “Geez”. If you’re a dentist and you want to be found in five different cities, you gotta put all five of those cities into one article. Like you just said, when you do that, you start valuing the quality of that article because Google’s saying, “Well, geez, is this really about Santa Rosa, is it about Windsor, is it about Petaluma. What is it about?” Versus if you blog, you could have one blog that talks about Santa Rosa, one blog that talks about Windsor. The downside is it takes more time. It takes more work. However, if you’re going to be in business long term, you want to add this quality. You want to add quality content. These are assets that you are building into your website. And I feel like I’m talking a lot today for some reason, so…

VD: No, you’re fine.

RP: Do me a favor and tell me something wonderful.

VD: About your haircut, maybe?

Maybe not. Well, I did have something in that. Let me see… Well, how do people find keywords? Oh, you know, one thing people don’t realize is, depending on which way you put your keywords, it will render different results. So, a “Therapist for families,” is different than a “Family therapist.” So, it almost sounds identical. The order in which the words are placed will render different results and different ranking. So, something…

RP: Yeah, and I think what’s important is that people, that they are still a little confused about Google, the algorithm… All they have to realize is that Google is a map there, the algorithm itself is a mathematical formula, but it’s in a computer so it’s all zeros and ones.

VD: Yes.

RP: So, “Therapy”, is broken down into zeros and ones. “Therapist” is broken down into zeros and ones. And guess what? It looks different. Therefore, it is different. Google is a… Being a computer, computers are typically very black and white, in the sense that they only can do what they’re told to do.

VD: Yeah, and you should do research. Like “Therapy” and “therapist” is a very good example. If you look at “family therapy” versus “family therapist”, you go to Google AdWords, Google Webmaster, Google Analytics, you can see the value of each of those combinations, and one is going to be more searched than the other. I cannot remember if it’s psychologically. Or lawyers versus attorney based on where you are in the country. People are going to use lawyers more frequently on the east coast. On the west coast, they tend to favor attorneys. Same profession, different ways of describing the service. So, you have to do your research before you start targeting “therapist” or “therapy” to make sure that’s in line with what people are actually looking for.

RP: Yeah. Totally. I hate to tell you this but it’s 10 o’clock already, so our time is up. I know there are some other things we wanted to get into which is… We talked about keywords. We talked about the importance of keywords in SEO, but where do you go and how do you find this information. And a lot of people, I don’t think, understand or realize that you can actually find it for free on Google. I’m thinking next week, why don’t we talk about that because that’s an all day subject anyhow, getting logged into Google and actually doing some keyword research. And maybe we’ll do some screen shares on those types of things.

VD: Sure. Talk about Google Trends, and all those free tools, are now available to anybody who has a computer.

RP: Exactly. Alright, with that being said, I hope everybody enjoyed this broadcast. It was a little bit of an interesting one, but Virginie, as always, I appreciate your time and I hope you have a wonderful day.

VD: You, too. Good bye.

RP: Take care. Bye.


About the Author:

Ryan Perry is the founder and CEO of Simple Biz Support, Inc. Ryan started video blogging in 2009 as an alternative to written blogs to create visibility and credibility online. During the workweek, he enjoys helping small business owners harness the power of video to grow their companies. On the weekends, he enjoys hiking and searching out waterfalls throughout the state of California.

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