Using Keyword Research To Reach Your AudienceLocal businesses have to constantly compete with larger, more well-known businesses for sales and search engine rankings. One useful method of increasing rankings is through keyword research. Keyword research involves using tools to determine what phrases people in the area are searching for that relate to your business.

Keyword research is an evolving method of improving local SEO tactics, but it can be mastered, with practice. Here’s a beginner’s guide to using keyword research.

No more Google Keyword Tool

Google recently transitioned from using its old keyword research tool, the Google Keyword Tool, to the new tool, AdWords Keyword Planner. The difference between the Keyword Planner and the Keyword Tool is that the Planner requires an AdWords account and focuses on ad campaign planning, but it can be used as an all-in-one resource for ad campaigns and keyword management; the Tool was free and could be utilized by users without an AdWords account, and was used more generally for SEO and keyword research.

Some are concerned that Planner won’t be as SEO or keyword research friendly as Tool, but this is not the case. Planner allows you to input keywords and search specific locations to see the search volume of those keywords in the area you’ve specified – similar to what Tool allowed you to do.

Starting out

Deciphering the whys and hows of local keyword research can seem daunting, but once your search rankings and sales increase, you’ll be glad you took the time to figure it out. The first step is to use keyword research tools at your disposal to find out what phrases related to your products or services people in the area are searching for.

Next, take the keyword phrases your audience is searching for and/or the keywords you want to rank for and do a quick search to see who your competitors are. Analyze a few competitors’ websites and see what they’re doing as far as design, link profile, social media, URLs and content that influence their rankings. This will allow you to compare your website to the competition and get an idea of where to improve.

How to Utilize Keyword Research Data

Now that you’ve uncovered what your target audience is searching for and how the competition is doing, it’s time to put that information to use. Focus on what your target audience is searching. For instance, if your business sells organic dog food and your audience is searching for the phrase “healthy food for small dogs,” you’ll know that you should target that phrase on your site.

Be aware that it’s not about stuffing search phrases wherever possible on your site. It’s about writing blogs or reaching out on social media with useful content that answers your audience’s questions. If the content is valuable to customers, they’ll share it with others, which will bring more people to your site, consequently raising your sales and search rankings.

No business, global or local, can be successful without knowing what audiences want. Keyword research makes it much easier for local businesses to find out what consumers are searching for and how to reach them. By making use of keyword research data, your business can succeed in creating content that appeals to your audience.

Image credit: KROMKRATHOG on Freedigitalphotos.net

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