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By: John Bonini on December 19th, 2012

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The 3-Step Process for Choosing the Right Keywords


choosing the right keywordsRemember the Yellow Pages?

How convenient, right? Whenever you were looking for a service of any sort, you simply flipped through this 85-pound book and sorted by industry to find a possible solution. Well, like most other forms of physical media, it's lost its mojo to the Internet.

Now, Google has essentially replaced the Yellow Pages. More and more, consumers are taking to the search engines in order to find a solution to their problems. In fact, according to HubSpot, 78% of Internet users conduct product research online. The best part? You don't have to pay to rank high (organically, anyways) on search engines like Google.

However, in order to rank higher and increase your search engine visibility, your website needs to be fully optimized with the right keywords your target market is searching for. As you could imagine, this involves some thorough research and proper execution to get right. Below, I've detailed the three steps for ensuring you're on the road to choosing the right keywords and rank higher in search engines.

If you're interested in learning more about turning these tips into actual results, be sure to check out our free ebook "How an Inbound Marketing Agency Does Search Engine Optimization."

Choosing the Right Keywords: The 3-Step Process

Step 1 – Keyword Research

Here's where you need to get in the head of your ideal prospect. (Figuratively, of course.)

What are their needs and challenges? What are they searching for when they take to the search engines? While this type of information may seem hard to attain with any kind of certainty, there are tools available to you that make it more of a science rather than a guessing game.

For instance, HubSpot's Keyword Grader enables you to add your own keywords you think may be relevant and find out if they actually are. Adding keywords is as simple as typing them into the field and hitting, "add keywords." As you can see below, you can add many keywords at the same time.

The 3-Step Process for Choosing the Right Keywords

It's all great, but how do you know what keywords to actually type in?'s where it's okay to guess. Base your keywords off your product/services offered, and use social media as a way to engage with your target audience and find out what they want to know.

What kinds of questions are they asking on social media? What types of content are they engaging with and/or sharing? There's a lot to be learned by monitoring your social media channels.

Once you have a large list of keywords you think could be a good fit, enter them into the HubSpot Keyword Grader and you'll be able to weed out the bad ones and implement a more powerful keyword strategy. Also, depending on the type of business you're running, you'll want to keep your keywords local as well.

So...instead of "oil changes in Connecticut," go with "oil changes in Wallingford, CT."

Step 2 – Implementing the Right Keywords

Once you've entered enough keywords into HubSpot's Keyword grade that effectively cover all parts of your service and website, it's time to take the guesswork out and read the data you're given.

HubSpot's tool grades keywords based on the following criteria:

  • Current ranking

  • Number of global searches monthly

  • Difficulty

Depending on the type of business you own will determine the level of importance of each of these criteria. If you're target audience is local, obviously global monthly searches isn't as important as say, difficulty and current ranking.

However, if you do business on a national or international level, global searches is of extreme importance, as if offers greater opportunity to drive more traffic to your website.

So after you've entered your keywords, your analysis will look something like this:

The 3-Step Process for Choosing the Right Keywords

As you can see, we've filtered this analysis by current ranking, so we're shown all of our top ranking keywords, their global searches, and the difficulty involved in ranking high for it. However, for lower ranking keywords, we'll want to implement ones that have a lower difficulty (in order to improve the ranking) and also have higher global searches to maximize the benefit.

Another great benefit of the HubSpot Keyword Grader is the recommendations tab. Don't have the time or patience to scroll through hundreds of keywords and analyze each one to determine which to use? No problem, as the recommendations tab will do all that work for you and suggest the best keywords for you, as shown below.

The 3-Step Process for Choosing the Right Keywords

As you can see, if even lists the criteria for how these recommendations were chosen on the sidebar. It's providing you with keywords that have room for improvement, but also have the opportunity to do so given the lower difficulty rating.

After utilizing all the available tools and analyzing your keywords, you'll have everything you need to ensure you're using the right keywords to increase your search engine visibility.

Step 3 – Track and Measure

The final step is tracking and measuring the performance of all the keywords you've chosen to implement. Are your rankings for each keyword improving? Are you driving more traffic as a result?

If after a reasonable amount of time the answers to these questions is no, perhaps it's time to reevaluate your keywords and try implementing different variations that may perform better.

Using the HubSpot Keyword Grader, this will be easy to do.

Increase your Search Engine Visibility

The importance of implementing keywords into your campaign cannot be overstated, as the dramatic consumer shift to online product research has made it a necessity for your website to rank high.

If you're not getting found by prospects, your competition could very well be.

To learn more about ranking higher in Google, check out our free ebook, "Why Google's Latest Algorithm Change Hates your Website." 

The Marketers Buyer Persona Kit

About John Bonini

As the Marketing Director of IMPACT from 2013-May 2015, John lead the IMPACT marketing team. He also wrote for the HubSpot Blog, Social Media Examiner, and Convince & Convert among others. In his free time, John enjoys playing guitar, high-fives, and anything with marinara sauce.

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