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January 23, 2013 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
A lot of businesses are creating content and they work really hard on it. Unfortunately, they don’t know the basics of SEO and they don’t understand the importance keywords. I have written about researching audiences and targeting audiences in content, but to reach these audiences you need to consider the words people will use when doing a web search.
There are many articles out there on keyword research and how to do it. I recommend reading some of them from respectable and well-known SEO sites. I am going to give you some links to some fantastic keyword research articles, but first I want to offer some tips to keep in mind before you research.
I used to work with some Realtors. They had all these words they wanted to use in online marketing and they hoped to be on the first page of Google for these words. Some examples:
To some Realtors “premier” and “luxury” are great words to use to describe homes, but people doing searches for a home are rarely searching for those words. They are searching for neighborhoods they are interested in, number of bedrooms, family friendly, homes in a particular school district, etc.
People outside of the real estate industry are not concerned with the “fancy” words Realtors use to try to make a sale. They are concerned with the basics and that is what they are searching for.
I worked with one Realtor for a long time and she took my advice to change the focus of her keywords in her content. They payoff was significant and she reached a much larger audience.
In the list above I had the word “Suncoast”. Many news organizations use that term for my area, but the locals don’t use it to search. It is a waste of time and energy to write all about being on the Suncoast if you are hoping to bring in traffic, because people don’t search for it and the search engines haven’t associated it with any particular city at this point.
Another mistake I have seen clients make is focusing on words like “Southwest Florida” and “Northeast” Texas. These words don’t specify a location/city where a business is located. In the two cases I saw these words used, the city the business was located in was not mentioned anywhere. The businesses thought the words sounded more “fancy” and would make them sound “larger”, but that isn’t the case.
Very few people are searching those types of locations with keywords, but many people are searching for things in a particular city. Use the names of cities or towns and you can even use neighborhood name to describe your location.
I live on the West coast of Florida. We can see the Gulf of Mexico over here and we see it from the beach. I have had local clients insist on using only “the gulf” to describe the views, properties and articles about visiting Florida. A better word to use is “ocean”, but I have met resistance every time I mention it.
Technically the Gulf of Mexico is an ocean basin and part of the Atlantic Ocean. Calling it the “ocean” is perfectly fine, but people have insisted it is a “gulf” and therefore it must be correct. Even if they were right I would still recommend that they use the word “ocean” in their content and marketing because most people coming to Florida on vacation want to be near the ocean!
Tourists, Florida newbie’s and even locals search for words and phrases related to the ocean. Websites targeting these audiences have to give the audience what they are looking for. Be being overly particular you can miss reaching an entire audience.
Basically I have been telling you throughout this entire article to use words that most people will use, but I want to stress that point again.
Think about what you would search for and keep those words in mind. Ask your friends what they would search for and do some keyword research. Before you invest the time and money in creating content you need to figure out which words you should be focusing on in your SEO and content.
Beginners Guide to Keyword Research
The Best Keyword Research Method Ever Invented for Blogs
End Dirty SEO Keyword Research Now!
Be Careful Using AdWords for Keyword Research
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