It’s a commonly known fact that Marketing is expensive. A trade show can cost from $20,000 to $200,000. Magazine and print advertising costs thousands of dollars and direct mail or telemarketing costs are astronomical. Unless you’re Kellogg’s or Pepsi, you don’t even consider television or mainstream media advertising, it’s just too expensive. What’s more interesting is the calculated ROI (Return on Investment) of these traditional marketing avenues has been steadily decreasing as the prices have been increasing. It’s not just the cost driving the ROI down but also the effectiveness of the medium. People are pretty awesome at ignoring stuff they don’t want to see.
Can you tell me what a single billboard said on your drive to work? Me either…
So, you wisely ask: “if marketing is so expensive, and SEO is the “cat’s pajamas,” just how much is it gonna cost me?” Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. You won’t spend a dime out of pocket expense to have the most important and impactful marketing weapon. All it takes is a little knowledge and some elbow-grease (and maybe a little brain-grease too).
Let’s walk through some steps to aide in your SEO keyword process (using FREE tools).
Step 1. Create your list of potential keywords: This is the list we would like to narrow to 20 (or so) but will start out with 50-100, descriptive 3 word phrases about your business, product or offering. I like to use an excel spreadsheet; we will be compiling a lot of data on each word, so list them vertically in column 1.
Step 2. Research SEO keywords using the Google Keyword tool: You will have to sign up for a Google account anyway so you should go ahead and do that now. Make sure you add access for Google analytics, Webmaster Tools and Google Adwords, you’ll need all of those…
Step by step in Adwords – remember this tool is designed to help select paid search terms – but it works just the same for selecting SEO words. You just don’t have to pay per click.
- Within the Google Adwords interface you will click “Tools and Analysis”>”Keyword Tool”
- Under “Find Keywords” there is a text box titled “Word or Phrase”– enter your list of keywords here and press “enter.”
Note: you can also enter a competitor website or category to see Google’s suggested SEO words
- Once your list has been entered the results will show on the tabs below. I prefer to sort by “Global Monthly Searches” and look at the highest searches first. This is the exact count for searches of that specific keyword.
- What’s the recipe?
- Ideally you want Low competition (or on the lower side higher is harder to break into)
- Ideally you want High monthly searches (irrelevant words don’t do you any good)
- This tool is best for eliminating words with few monthly searches and targeting relevant words with high search volume.
- Enter all of the data for each keyword into your spreadsheet. I like to enter competition and search volume in column 2 and 3, this way they are sortable in the future. Now select the top 20 based on your criteria (relevance, high monthly searches and low competition)
Step 3. Finish the spreadsheet. Finally you need to search for each of your target keywords on Google to see your actual baseline ranking. In the 4th column of your spreadsheet enter the position number. Each page on Google has 10 search results so if you are the 4th position from the top on page 3, that’s number 34. Remember don’t count the “Paid results” at the top or side of the page.
Note: Hubspot is a marketing software company which has a fantastic keyword tool as a part of their Inbound Marketing Automation Suite It shows every one of your keywords and where your website ranks in Google. It tracks each keyword’s rank history and shows which page on your site has the top position for a word or phrase also. It’s not free but worth a look. The hubspot blog is also a great resource.
Now you’ve successfully built a target list of keywords to pursue and set a baseline to show ROI improvement in the future. Next, putting this plan into action.
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