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One of the first things you need to do as you embark on an online marketing campaign is make sure that your keywords are a) relevant to your site and offering and b) are low hanging fruit.

What do I mean by low hanging fruit?

It’s all well and good to swing for the stars, but if you (and more specifically, your website) are just starting out, you need to build some traction by first ranking for keywords that you can more easily achieve.

For example, if you are a plumber in Vancouver, “plumber vancouver” might seem the obvious choice as a keyword to go after.

And at 2,400 searches a month, it is very tempting. Think of what you could do with all of that traffic.

Your business would go through the roof.

Except…

 

There are 25 million other results for the search term “plumber vancouver”. 25 million other sites thought that targeting or mentioning “plumber vancouver” would be a good thing.

If that doesn’t give you an idea of how competitive this term is, look at the average cost per click (CPC) you would have to pay for an online ad – almost $30. Per click.  

 

Never mind, you say. I’m going to go for it. 

 

Fine. Say you go for it. Say you’re really successful and 2 years and 10’s of thousands of dollars later, you rank for “plumber vancouver”. What are you going to get for it?

You may get a ton of traffic coming through. Some may actually want to buy your services, AND live within your service delivery range. But others may simply live too far. Or want a specific type of plumbing service you do not provide.

Some may be doing some general research on plumbers in Vancouver – either customers for price checks or your competitors looking to see what the top ranking sites for “plumber vancouver” have that you don’t.

Is the amount of business you’re going to get from this type of traffic going to be enough to pay back your investment? Will you earn enough from the extra business to make a profit if you manage to recoup your costs?  

 

Probably not.  

 

Unless you go about it the smart way.  

 

This is where low hanging fruit, otherwise known as “longtail keywords” comes in.

Long tail keywords should be specific to a singular type of service you provide, and (ideally) include buyer intent. So (continuing on with the plumber example) while:

  • “plumber vancouver” is a generic catch all – covering all types of services all over Vancouver,
  • “emergency sewer repair yaletown” is specific in both the type of service provided and the neighbourhood within Vancouver that you are targeting (i.e. within your service delivery zone).

If someone in Yaletown is searching for an emergency sewer repair plumber, you can be pretty sure that they need your service and are ready to take action. This is the kind of client you want to target and attract.

Then, as you rank for a number of specific services and neighbourhoods, your site will gradually build in authority (while bringing you customers) so that you naturally and organically end up ranking for larger keywords such as “plumber vancouver” without any undue effort.

Hopefully by now I’ve convinced you to go with long-tail keywords in your marketing plan.

So how do you go about finding the right keywords?

1. LIST OUT ALL YOUR SERVICES

What services do you provide? Break your overall service down to as detailed niches as you can – then aim to rank for those.

2. RESEARCH THOSE SERVICES ON GOOGLE

 

  • Search those services in Google and see what comes up in it’s suggestions.

 

  • These will appear as suggestions in the Google search box as well as a list of suggested searches at the bottom of the page.
You can see that if you simply type in “plumber vancouver” the suggestions focus on price (“cheap”, “rates”) as well as “emergency” and “best”. Even starting out with those keywords (e.g. “emergency plumber vancouver”) will get you better traction than the generic catch all of “plumber vancouver”, but you should aim to get more specific than that. (Note: the word “best” is over-targeted and discounted by Google a bit, so best to avoid targeting that specifically)
Simply by searching for the term “pump service vancouver” a number of other interesting suggestions come up.
Go through each of your services, doing a Google search and recording the suggested search terms. Then Google each of the new search terms and see what else comes up as a suggestion. Keep doing this until you feel you’ve got enough to work with. This will become your list of potential keywords to rank for.

3. REPEAT STEP 2, BUT THIS TIME SEARCH IN A LARGER CITY

 

If you find that you don’t have a lot coming up in search results, it may be because you are based in a small city with smaller search volumes.

This doesn’t mean that people aren’t searching for your terms in your city, it may just mean that Google isn’t showing the results. They do this for a couple of reasons:

  • It’s unlikely that Google will track every single website and every search at every moment of every day. It’s more likely that they take samples and extrapolate averaged results from those. So, simply put, they may not catch all traffic that is happening across the web.
  • It’s also likely that Google does not share all of its data publicly. They do make money off of this knowledge by using it for their advertising service after all.

So to get a sense of what kind of search terms people might use that relate to your original long tail keyword, simply repeat your Google suggestion exercise but search in a larger metropolitan area.

So if you are based in Waterloo, Ontario, search “pump services toronto” and see what comes up.

 

4. AVOID USING KEYWORD TOOLS FOR IDEAS

 

Mostly because everyone else is using them, getting the same results, and going after the same keywords.

You want to find the terms that real people are using to look for services related to your business.

If you are stuck, you can use tools like Answer the Public  as this will help you see what people are actually looking for.

You can use keyword tools to see how competitive a specific term would be however – that would be useful.

5. PUT YOURSELF IN YOUR CUSTOMER’S SHOES

 

If you were a customer that needed your particular type of service, how would you look it up online? What phrase would you type into Google?

Type that in and see what other suggestions come up.

Ask your friends and family how they would look it up, and research those phrases as well.

6. CHECK OUT THE COMPETITION

 

What keywords are your competitors targeting? Sure, you want to be unique and go after the road less traveled, but you can get some good value out of seeing what your competitors are doing.

This way, you can see if there is a field or niche you’ve overlooked.

Then you can use the above methods to research it so that you come at it a different way from your competitor.

7. DECIDE WHICH KEYWORDS YOU WANT TO TARGET.

 

This can be based on:

  • average income the service they describe would bring to your business
  • how much you enjoy delivering a particular service
  • how competitive that terms is (i.e. how quickly you think you can rank for it)
  • how likely it is that someone would click on your link and take action, based on that keyword

Ultimately the keywords you target should cover an aspect of your business that you want to grow, and that would actually result in tangible results (i.e. customers).

Don’t worry so much about ranking for large volume, “vanity” keywords – focus on getting clicks from people that are ready to take action.

 

 

8. SIT BACK AND WATCH THE TRAFFIC ROLL IN

 

Ok, so obviously there are a few more steps to take in order to rank for your selected keywords.

But taking the time to do your research will put you well ahead of the competition – and will save you a lot of lost time as you embark on your online marketing journey.

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