Most people just have no idea where to start with keywords.
There will be keywords that are obvious to you – your services and your service area(s) are a good place to start – and those are all many successful sites ever use. But there are others, ones that take some brainstorming, or may occur to you over time. These not-as-obvious keywords can net you extra traffic that your competitors miss, so they are worth looking for!
There are three positive outcomes for targeting specific, “niche” markets and the keywords they are searching for:
- You are much more likely to hold a top spot in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) when there are less sites vying for those keywords.
- When people find you, you are more likely to be exactly what they are looking for, so your conversion rate will be higher.
- More search terms, naturally. Secondary phrases allow you to add to your keyword list. Some words will simply “add on” to your primary, or more obvious, words giving you both the more generic phrase e.g. “dog trainer in SF” and a niche phrase “positive reinforcement dog trainer in SF”.
As you work on your list of possible keywords, consider these pro keyword strategies:
Many people keyword their site for their city or town, state and sometimes county, but often familiar nicknames are overlooked. Examples: Tri-cities area, Market district, Laurel Park Neighborhood. If these are the names people in your area use to express where they live and search for services, then using them on your site can net you some valuable traffic.
Last minute keywords:
People often search when they are in a hurry or have forgotten something important. Examples:
- puppy classes starting this weekend
- puppy classes starting soon
- house-train your puppy fast ( I bet figuring the cost of a new carpet can add a bit of urgency to this search!)
Do you help with any other urgent problems? A last minute keyword might bring you business others are missing!
Do you sell any of the products you recommend to your clients? Often when people are ready to buy, they search for the specific brand they are looking for. For instance, if you have an in-facility store that sells a specific type of leash, collar, etc. make sure you place the actual brand name on your store page – e.g. “Buy such and such” collars here.
Natural, readable language is best for websites so, rather than repeating one phrase over and over, use similar overlapping words and phrases. “Dog training”, “dog trainer”, “train your dog”, etc. can all be used on a page to avoid obvious repetition and to spread your keyword net a little further. And don’t forget the “s”. Plurals can and should be used too. In fact many people searching for a dog trainer are likely to use an “s”, i.e. “dog trainers in SF”.
Matching your keywords to your audience
If you are trying to attract a specific sub-group of your chosen target market, consider what adjectives they might use in searching for your services. A dog trainer could consider “private” dog training or “personal” dog trainer. Boarders might consider “luxury” dog boarding. Walkers might offer “free pick-up”. Usually what makes you special is part of what makes good keywords.
Are you are targeting people that have been burned by a less than positive dog trainer? Try “no punishment”, “positive”, “gentle” etc. Is your target market already educated in your methods? Then by all means, use “Positive Reinforcement”. Do be cautious though, when using industry specific language anywhere on your site. Speak to your audience in the words they would typically use.
Cater to special needs
Just as a prospective client might search for a certain type of Dog Pro, they might also be searching based on the special needs of their dog. Small dogs, active dogs, shy dogs, working dogs, older dogs, reactive dogs… Services or classes built specifically for a certain type of dog allow you to keyword service pages for niche words along with your more general ones for example “dog daycare for small dogs” or “dog walking and runs for high energy dogs.”
Have a testimonial page on your site
I highly recommend that people sprinkle short quotes from their client testimonials through-out their site, but to also to have a full page of testimonials in their full form on its own page. Not only do testimonials give people a reason to trust you by seeing how others view you, the words that others use to describe you can contain valuable keywords you never thought of. Make sure your SEO uses the keyword “review” in the title tag. Then when people look for reviews on your business, they may find your testimonial page as well as other review sites, giving you better control of what people see.
Questions and Answers
Providing answers to questions your prospective customer might have and answering them can be a great strategy. Often people search in the form of a question. Like “how do I stop my dog from barking?”
NOT to be confused with FAQs about your services like “where are classes held” and “what should I bring to the first class” – those are general info questions for clients who have already found you – these are questions that the client is asking herself before choosing a dog pro.
Keyword questions can be sprinkled into pages or they could be on their own “tips” page. These types of question keywords are also handy for use in videos and to title blog posts. Think of questions your prospective client might ask before deciding she needs a class or wants private training. Think of what a devoted dog mom might ask herself about leaving her dog home alone. Some examples: “Why does my dog chew on my shoes?” or “can my dog learn to use a litter-box like a cat can?” Whatever your answer, you now have an opportunity to sell your services to the questioner.
Comparisons and Negative Keywords
Many people searching for a service may wonder which type is best. For instance, YOU may know why positive reinforcement works and is better for a dog, but does your less well informed web searcher? By comparing your services to others, not only do you help people make a better choice, you draw in people that are searching by both types of keywords positive and negative.
Comparisons or other information like a blog post or article specifically about a negative keyword can bring traffic AND educate searchers. I have a client that has targeted the whole “dog whisperer” keyword and used it as an opportunity to explain why choosing Cesar is NOT the best choice for a beloved pup. Another client explained why her cage-free boarding is less stressful than a typical boarding kennel. She gets the benefit of having the common keyword “boarding kennel” on her page even though she would otherwise avoid the word kennel.
Target new trends and keywords
While you may not want to hang your whole business on the newest trend, at least a small percentage of your target audience may be aware of “the latest” in your industry. Make sure those words show up in your keywords somewhere on your site.
Being number one for a keyword does not always equal success
Keep in mind that coming up number one for a search does not always mean you will get prospective clients from it, or even that anyone will find it at all! You could theoretically place a nonsense phrase on your site, and you will surely come up #1 for that search since it is unique, but will anyone actually search for it but you? No.
How do you know when you’ve chosen well?
Keep track of your traffic with Google Analytics or another program to track visits to your site. See where visitors come from and how they searched for you. See what pages are doing well and which are not. Adjust keywords accordingly over time.
Never rush it
Do give your initial keywords plenty of time, and each adjustment also. Google does not crawl sites every day, and may respond to changes slowly. Plus as your site grows in stature and becomes more linked in to the internet, you will do better overall. But if your site is doing well in general and you see one or two pages are under-performing, it’s time to analyze why.
Time to get started!
Click here to read Choosing Your Keywords: the Process