The VPM Blog

Choosing the Right Keywords for Small Businesses

Posted by Don Crow on Oct 26, 2015 9:54:04 AM

Keeping the search engines fed with a steady (and healthy) diet of great keywords is essential to your website being found. While there are lots of tools out there to help you do some great keyword research, the best strategy for choosing the right keywords for small businesses depends on two key components:

1. What it is you do, in the language of your ideal buyers, and

2. Where you sell the products or services that those ideal buyers are looking for.

choosing the right keywords for small businesses

For number one, you'll need buyer personas. Those are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers that will help guide you to creating content that will please them, which in turn, pleases the search engines. Once you know who your ideal customers are, you can begin thinking about what it is you do in terms those customers will search for. This ensures your site and articles are right there waiting for them at the top of the search results.

For example, one of the "industries" we work with here at Verge Pipe Media is Higher Education. Within Higher Ed, we need to further refine our approach to appeal to the actual communicators and marketers within the schools and colleges of the United States. While they aren't the decision makers, they are the first step in getting Verge Pipe Media found, which then starts the conversation, which then leads to a meeting with the Dean and administrators, and the rest is on us.

Armed with this information, we can then begin choosing the right keywords to help our potential customers solve problems, improve their communications and marketing and to just generally inform them about the latest in Inbound Marketing best practices.

What that looks like in practice are keywords and phrases such as:

  • "how to use inbound marketing to recruit top students"
  • "how to use social media to appeal to online donors"

We can then take these keywords and phrases and develop a content plan, which then leads to a meatier editorial calendar and then individual blog topics being assigned to our team for writing. Voilà!

Now let's say you aren't selling services nationwide and you really just want to sell costume jewelry in Atlanta, Georgia. Pas de problème!

For point number two from above, you still need to know who those ideal customers are before you can plug in the, "where." I'm going off the top of my head right now, because I'm not currently in the market for nice costume jewelry, but I'm going to say the ideal customer here is a woman:

  • age 21 - 35,
  • who is either a college graduate or about to be
  • wants to stay trendy but preserve her own style
  • loves going out to trendy bars with her girlfriends and lives in a condo in the midtown area of a metro area

We'll call her, "Brittany Baubles!"

AUTHOR NOTE: Before anyone comes at me with Twitter shade, my wife assisted every step of this buyer persona.

When Brittany goes looking for jewelry that isn't mainstream, she's very likely to use words like, "boutique" and "trendy" in her Google search. She may use, "costume" but we need to ensure we capture the language of our buyer here, not necessarily of the seller. This is where researching your current customers is so vital! If she really wants to zero in on Thursday night's outfit, she's very likely to add, "best."

If she lives in Atlanta and just goes searching for, "boutique in Atlanta" she's going to see over 52 million results and a large map full of red dots. She's not even going to bother with that list. Unfazed, Brittany then tries, "best boutique in midtown Atlanta" and gets a much more manageable 507k results and a much smaller map with fewer red dots because it's closer to home.

There is lots of competition in the small business space and utilizing inbound marketing is a lower cost way to yield the results you are looking for:

Increased web traffic + more customers = higher return on investment

If you'd like to learn more about Inbound Marketing overall, or how search engine optimization fits in the overall mix, click on the button below to learn more and get started.

5 Core Services of Inbound (updated)


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