Arguably, the biggest challenge every business faces is attracting more customers. Even the biggest of businesses, who could survive seemingly for a long time on their own merit, actively participates in marketing efforts to bring in new customers.
There are many ways to accomplish this. We talk about them and will continue to talk about them frequently here on the blog. For your business, it will likely be a combination of different strategies depending on who your target customer is, what industry you are in, and the message you are trying to spread.
WHAT IS A KEYWORD?
When we talk about keywords, there is a lot of misconception amongst small business owners. It doesn’t help that over the years, the definition of an effective keyword strategy, and even what a person means when they use the word, has changed significantly.
This will not be a comprehensive definition, but I will aim give you a brief understanding: A keyword is a particular word used on a particular section of your website, in an effort to direct web traffic and searches to that page. Now, depending on the type of business you have, there are different kinds of keywords that can be used in different ways.
One more thing you need to know about keywords is the two major ways in which they are used. There are more than two, but these are the overarching schools of thought: Stuffed Keywords, and Optimized Keywords. Keyword “stuffing” is a technique that has been used for a long time. Essentially, you litter a page or post with the specific keyword you want that page to rank for, and the search engine sees that the keyword is on your website more than on your competitors, and therefore, your website shows up first.
However, that is now how things work today! Google has gotten much smarter–it is able to use data from many sources other than just how many times “Yummy Bread” shows up on your bakery’s website. In fact, nowadays, keyword stuffing is largely considered a black hat technique. Google will actually penalize a site for doing this! SO, what is the way around? I’m glad you asked. Enter Optimized Keywords.
Rather than focusing on the amount of times a keyword is used (though that is still a factor), this strategy involves a bit of research on the front end to find out specifically what someone would search to buy exactly what you are selling, and shaping the keyword around that with as much specificity as possible.
There are still best practices when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as far as frequency and placement, but the main premise is that you want to be using better keywords rather than more frequent keywords.
Here are 5 ways that you can attract more local customers using the Optimized Keyword strategy:
- Give your customer the best education about your product that they can get anywhere. You don’t always have to be selling. In fact, you shouldn’t always be selling! Part of building trust between you and your potential client or customer is that you have what it takes to get the job done. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t take student loans and a college degree to attract customers. Not one customer of mine has ever asked for my educational credentials. Good thing, because I don’t have any! Not in this industry anyway. I simply prove that I know what I am talking about, and that is good enough. In many cases, that is better than a piece of paper.
- Find out the likes and dislikes of your customer base. Sometime, we will do a post highlighting how to target your particular customer and create a buyer persona. But for now, just know that you need to know what things your ideal customer likes and dislikes, even if it’s not directly related to the product you are selling. In the context of keywords, you could add some local flare with a topic that is relevant to your business. For instance, I could write an article with the title, “SEO More Delicious than a Krispy Kreme Donut”. If you are a customer looking for SEO services and are familiar with this area (where KK is headquartered), you will appreciate the “local touch” of my article.
- Pick topics/keywords you know something about! It is a mistake to optimize your website for keywords and topics that you are not well-versed in, simply because you will be attracting the wrong customer! I realize that, especially if you are a new business, you may not know everything about your craft–this especially applies in technology related businesses. What I’m mainly trying to say is that “fake it till you make it” is not a successful long-term business strategy. Devote time to learning these new skills, and THEN write about them and start optimizing your site for them.
- Figure out your customer’s questions, and answer them! It’s likely that your customer has tons of unanswered questions about what your product or service can offer them. If you already have an established customer base, you could very simply email them or ask them on social media to send in their questions to you. Let them know that, for the benefit of your customer base, you will be compiling a list of questions from which to form content. They will appreciate the effort and investment you are making in their education! Customers want local small businesses who care–make sure they know that you are one!
- Lastly, make your keywords specific. If you are a small local car dealership selling Mazda’s, you are not going to complete locally for the term “Mazda”. However, you could compete with “2011 Blue Mazda 6 in Yadkinville, NC”. In fact, there will likely be no other competition! You will have far fewer people searching the term, however, the ones who DO search for it are much more likely to convert. Remember, it is not website traffic you are after–it is conversions. More on conversions in a later article.
The big idea here is just simply making sure that your business goals are lining up with the needs of your customer base. Once that relationship becomes skewed, there is no way to get back on the same page. Customers and businesses don’t really think of it in these terms, but it amounts to “broken trust.” If, when a potential client clicks on your website, you are providing them with the content they expected to be there, trust has at least been established.
Try out optimized keywords on your website. As always, if you need help, give me a holler! I’ll be here to answer any questions and help however I can.