Article by Jane Tweedy, Business Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre
Why is keyword search so important?
Keyword research is something you may have heard website developers talk about and never really understood why it is so important for small business. To be found online, and even when communicating to potential buyers face to face, using the right keywords can make the difference between slight interest and a sale.
Be found online
We conduct a lot of business online. When we’re looking to buy, we do our research on products, services and suppliers online, and often complete the purchase online. This can happen without speaking to a single person. All the research starts with the words and phrases we use for these searches through various online channels. The key to a good result from our searches, even if they’re voice generated using tools like Siri, Alexa or Google Home, they’re all driven by keywords. Even asking for a personal referral starts by asking the right question (using the right keywords).
Starting a keyword search
As a small business owner, how do you find what keywords your customers are searching for? We recommend starting with the high-level ideas you have about what you provide and what problems you solve. For instance, if you are an accountant you would look up things like accountant, accounting service, tax return, and similar variations. If you’re a graphic designer you may look up graphic designer or some of the things that you offer, for instance, logo design, branding or graphics. Once you have a few starting points you can go online and conduct some research.
Unfortunately the Google Keyword Planner has been hidden from general use, though you can still access if you have a Google Ads Account. Another tool you can use is a Chrome extension which attaches to your Google Chrome browser called Keywords Everywhere. This turns every standard Google search into a search with keyword statistics. It tells you how many people have looked up that keyword or keyword phrase in the last month.
You can also sign up to tools like kwfinder.com and this will allow you to find more information, like how many people search for that term across google.com.au, whether Australia wide or down to city level (Sydney). This is great to work out what words may be better than the word you’d thought of, but also gives you alternatives to look at you may never have considered.
High level keywords (a single word or two) can mean so many things, for instance, plant rental could mean the rental of pot plants for a business, or it could mean the rental of an excavator because they are also considered plant equipment. Therefore, it may highlight some issues with your potential search terms and may require you to do something different.
So rather than high level single word keywords, what we do instead is add more words into a keyword phrase, referred to as long tail keywords. Next we look up the entire phrase, rather than the single word. The same can be done for product listings.
Long tail keywords
include conversational type questions, for instance, how do I write a business plan. If that is a popular search, it could become a title for a blog post and that way we really nailing what our market needs. Note these searches will have far less searches, but they’re more relevant.
An example. I may start off looking for a dress and realise there’s too many dresses. So what I look up instead is ‘vintage dress’, and there may still be too many options. Next I look up ‘vintage dress for sale Penrith’ or I look up ‘blue vintage dress’ or ‘40s vintage dress’. I’m adding more keywords to refine my search. When I’m homing in like this, I’m far closer to my buying decision. I’m no longer doing general research, I’m actively ready to buy.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Keywords are a key part of starting your search engine optimisation (SEO). We now offer workshops on search engine optimisation so please check out the wsbusiness.com.au website for the upcoming courses where we teach you how to use these keywords to really catapult your business forward.
Keywords and search engine optimisation apply wherever we are online. This includes places like blogs, on product descriptions on our sale sites like eBay and Etsy, and on our own websites. It can also apply to online directories. It’s so broadly applied, and therefore this is an area that can’t be ignored by small business. Understand your keywords and get found online! If you need help determining the right words to connect with your customers, please book in to see one of our Business Connect business advisors through our centre.
Have you heard of the Business Connect service?
Business Connect is a NSW Government funded service helping intending or existing small business owners and key staff to address any concerns with their business, and learn new skills through workshops. Please make an appointment to see one of our business advisors for up to four hours business advice at no cost with no catches under the NSW Government Business Connect program! Book now!
What About ASBAS Digital Solutions?
Western Sydney Business Centre also provides the Federal Government Australian Small Business Advisory Service (ASBAS) Digital Solutions program. We can provide advisors with the first hour free and additional hours heavily subsidised for existing business owners. Click here for ASBAS.