A Small Business Guide To Keywords

August 16, 2022
5 min read

You just started a small business and you keep hearing the term keywords... but you have no idea what it means. That’s because keywords are very important. Knowing how to identify the keywords for your business and how to use them effectively in your marketing will make all the difference when it comes to getting in front of the right audience.

Consider this blog post your small business guide to all things keywords. We help you understand what keywords are, the different types of keywords, and how to identify the right keywords for your business. After you finish reading this post, you will have the tools to confidently navigate the world of keywords.

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So... What Are Keywords?

Keywords are words or phrases that define what your business is all about. Keywords are also what people use to search for your products or services online.

Keywords should be framed in the language your ideal customers speak. For example, a car dealership might sell pre-owned vehicles but their customers might use the words ‘used cars’ to search for them on Google. That means one of their keywords would be ‘used cars.’

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Why Are Keywords So Important?

Keywords are important because they are how new customers find you online. The right keywords tell Google and other search engines what your business and content are all about. So when you use those keywords on your website and social media pages, Google knows to show your business to people searching for what you do or the services you offer.

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Keywords are as much about your customers as they are about your business. They need to represent the needs of your customers and the language they use to find things online.

Keywords also need to be specific. While you might own a massage clinic, that keyword is pretty broad. You need to consider where you are located and who you serve. An Edmonton Massage Clinic that specializes in prenatal care for women is going to have different keywords than a massage clinic in Boston with a focus on sports injuries and deep tissue massage.

woman typing into black laptop

When you hone in on the right keywords for your small business and use them effectively in your online marketing, website content and social media feed, Google will begin to recognize a pattern and label you an expert in your industry. And Google loves to put experts on the first page. This means people searching are far more likely to find you organically.

Fun Fact: The first organic result in Google Search has an average click-through rate of 28.5%, according to a newly published study. That’s incredibly high!

What Are The Different Types Of Keywords

Paid advertising that uses keywords every day to serve people advertisements is a billion-dollar industry. People spend their entire professional lives learning and using keywords for businesses.

This is all to say there are a lot of types of keywords and different ways to use them. As a small business owner, you really only need to understand these two types of keywords.

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Broad Match Keywords

Broad match keywords are words that describe your business or industry but are often used by other companies and even other industries. They are very general search terms.

Broad Match Keyword Examples:

  • Fashion
  • Jewellery
  • Baking
  • Marketing

A lot of people likely use these words when they search for things online which means there are a lot of other companies using them, too. While these terms will help people find you, they might not be the right people. In fact, these keywords are the least likely to convert an online search into a new customer and sale.

Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are much more specific to your business and are typically phrases that contain 3 or more words.

Long Tail Keyword Examples:

  • Online dress designer
  • Women’s gold chain necklace
  • Local bread shop
  • Small business marketing agency

Long tail keyword specificity helps people narrow in on the right business for their needs. Because they are also less general than broad match keywords, they also have fewer people using them to search online which means less competition. Even better? Long tail keywords are more likely to bring the right person to your website and convert them to an actual customer.

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How Do I Find The Right Keywords For My Business?

Keywords are incredibly effective when you are using the right ones strategically and consistently. Here are four steps to help you determine the right keywords for your small business.

Step 1: Make a Broad Match Keywords List

notepad and pen

Make a list of important topics and phrases that relate to your business. Come up with 5 - 10 words and be as general as you like.

Example: If you are a local vegan restaurant, some of these keywords might include brunch, lunch, dinner, vegan food, dessert, drinks and food specials.

Step 2: Create Long Tail Keywords From Your List

black woman typing into apple laptop

Now that you have an idea of the general terms people use to search for restaurants, it’s time to get more specific. Take your original list of words and match each one with 2 or more specific words that narrow in on your business.

Example: As a local vegan restaurant, you decide to get more specific with your terms as they relate to your specific menu. These long tail keywords might include dairy-free eggs Benedict, vegan-friendly salad dressings, tofu stir fry bowls, gluten-free desserts, locally-sourced mock-tails, and Tuesday happy hour specials.

Step 3: Start Searching

magnifying glass over laptop

Trying to think of keywords but hitting a roadblock? Head to Google and get searching. Start typing in some of the keywords you have already written down and see what comes up in suggested searches underneath. This might get the creative juices flowing and help you come up with more keywords.

Step 4: Use a Keyword Planner

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This might be the most important step in the process and one most small business owners miss. So if you put even a little time into keyword research and a keyword tool, you will be lightyears ahead of the competition.

Most marketing agencies pay big dollars for keyword tools for their clients. But for your purposes as a small business owner just getting started, take advantage of free keyword tools.

cellphone with screen on Google

We highly recommend Google Keyword Planner, Keyword Sheeter and Keywordit. Keep in mind, that these are entry-level planners and are meant to support your keyword research process.

Where Do I Use my Keywords?

Probably the most technical component of keywords is where to use them and how to use them effectively. For our purposes here, we are going to be very general but give you a solid understanding of where your keywords go. Which is everywhere.

The keywords you have chosen for your small business should show up in almost all parts of your marketing online. This includes your website, social media bio and specific posts, blog content, advertising, business directories, etc.

There are specific keyword usages in all these different places but just know that some of your keywords should be present in all of these places. We also recommend not overdoing it.

‘Stuffing Keywords’ is when someone tries to stuff as many keywords as they can into one piece of content. Google frowns on keyword stuffing and will actually make it harder for people to find your content. Use your discretion and keep your audience and their online behaviours and language in mind.

person writing the word 'audience' on whiteboard

Need Help With Your Keyword Strategy?

Keywords are how you get found on Google organically and that is one of the most important aspects of any small business marketing strategy. We have a lot of experience helping small businesses get online successfully. That includes branding and keyword research.

If you have more questions about your keywords or need help with how to use them, reach out to us. We’re happy to help! :) And be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more marketing and small business tips.

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