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A quick guide to keywords for business owners

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What are keywords?

You use keywords on a daily basis, even if you don’t know what they are. Keywords are specific terms that you use to find things online. It’s typing things into Google like ‘Sainsburys opening hours’ or ‘CRM software reviews’ or ‘specialist personal tax advisors’. Google process on average a staggering 3.5 billion searches like these every day.

Keywords are also what potential customers use when they’re searching to find your products or services online. For example, if you’re a florist, your keywords might be ‘florists in Kent’ or ‘buy flower bouquet’. If you’re a consultant, your keywords might be ‘executive coaching’ or ‘leadership development coach London’.

How do keywords work?

So how does Google connect you with (hopefully) the right website when you search for something online?

It starts by reading or ‘indexing’ websites to find out what they’re about. It picks up on keywords that have been used in the text like ‘florists in Kent’ or ‘executive coaching’.

Google then thinks to itself: ‘Ah-ha. Here’s a business who’s a florist in Kent/ executive coach in London. When someone searches for ‘florist in Kent’ or ‘executive coach in London’, I’ll include them in the search results, because they’re relevant.’

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you’ll straight to the top of page 1. If all you needed to do to get to the top of page 1 was to include keywords on your website, everyone would be at the top of page 1. Which is, or course, impossible.

There are a lot of other factors that Google uses to determine exactly where it will place you in the search results… whether you’ll be at the top of page 1, or at the bottom of page 36. But that’s a mammoth topic in and of itself. For now, let’s just focus on keywords.

Why does my website need keywords?

In a nutshell, if you don’t use your keywords in your website, it will be more difficult for potential customers to find you online. If customers can’t find you online, you won’t get their business.

This is because if you don’t use keywords, Google stands a much smaller chance of understanding what it is you actually do, and therefore may not include you in the search results when a potential customer searches for your services or products. And remember: if customers can’t find you online, you won’t get their business.

Think about it. Google doesn’t have human intelligence (at least, not yet). It’s limited to a mathematical algorithm. Google can’t work out that if you say ‘I help CEOs revolutionise their performance at work’ you’re actually an executive coach in London. You have to actually say it using those words – leaving no doubt in Google or just customers minds about what you do. Those words are your keywords.

How do I find out what my keywords are?

Researching your keywords is one of the most valuable and important activities you can do to market your website. By understanding your keywords, not only do you learn what terms to focus on within your website content, you’re also learning about your customer. With this knowledge, you’ll be more effective at attracting and keeping your customers.

The best way to find out what your keywords are is to get professional keyword research done by a specialist search/SEO company. If you’re not in a position to get professional keyword research done or just want to get a quick idea of what your keywords are, the good news is researching your keywords is not as difficult as it sounds.

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