You wouldn’t be the first to hear the term ‘keyword research’ and think that something so technical sounding requires a brain that’s hard-wired to interpret long lists of confusing data. In reality, though, keyword research doesn’t have to be that tricky at all. While I can, and always will help my clients to select the best keywords to make their website as SEO friendly as possible, it is never a task I would undertake without asking lots of questions first so that I can really get to grips with their business, their USPs and their target markets. Many of the nearby marketing agencies in West Sussex will try to convince you to part with your cash and insist that they are better off doing your keyword research on your behalf. Is that a dig at them? Well, yes actually. I prefer to be honest about things. Can I help you pick the best keywords? Absolutely. Should I pick them exclusively on your behalf? No! If you really want me to and just don’t have the time to consider your keywords along with me, then I naturally will but this is not something I would ever charge extra for – it’s a necessary part of any SEO copywriting job and certainly not an added bonus or an extra. Speak to most West Sussex marketing agencies about SEO keyword research and you will receive a quote for it. Is this another dig at them? Absolutely it is! The truth is that the best person for the job is quite often you yourself – no one knows your business better than you do.

The Google keyword planner

I’m not against using programmes to help inspire you, but I do believe that they should do just this. Programmes that help you select the keywords for your website should prompt and suggest ideas that you might not previously have considered. That being said, I don’t believe that any SEO consultant should ever generate a list of the top searched keywords and then just present that to a client as their best option. The Google keyword planner is a very useful tool, it’s free to use and as it’s owned by Google, you can bet your life it’s accurate. The negatives? The information you see is what your competitors can see if they go hunting too. Figures are generalised and rounded up or down, sometimes quite significantly, and the focus tends to be on search volume. You might think this is a good thing – but bear with me. What the Google keyword planner fundamentally is, though, is a programme and when it comes to knowing what your target audience is searching for online, I don’t believe that any programme, no matter how advanced it may be, can deliver the same level of human insight as a real person.

Manually selecting the keywords for your website

“How do I select keywords for my website, manually!?”

The question might throw you into a state of panic but it really needn’t. Start with the obvious. What is your business or service, and where are you based? If you’re a scriptwriter based in Brighton, then ‘scriptwriter’ and ‘Brighton’ are going to be pretty obvious keywords. Also consider variations of these words, like ‘script’ and ‘scriptwriting’. Now think about things in a bit more detail. What type of scripts do you write? Are they comedy? Then you might add the words ‘comedy’ or ‘funny’ to your keywords.

The key benefit of manual keyword research is that it allows you to think outside the box and focus on what are known as ‘long-tail keywords’. Long-tail keywords are longer, more precise terms that are far more targeted to a specific end user. Think about how many websites you would be competing with if you structured a web page around the term ‘scriptwriter’. You would most likely never make it to the top of Google. Now think what would happen if you started making your keyword longer (to make it easier, a long-tail keyword can be thought of more as a ‘key term’). How many people are going to be typing something like ‘experienced freelance comedy scriptwriter in Brighton’ into the Google search bar? Not as many as for the term ‘scriptwriter’, but you’ve got a far better chance of coming up in the results and getting an enquiry from it. Now do you see why focusing on the volume of searches shouldn’t be the only thing you consider?

Where I can add even more value to your keyword selection is by helping you with competitor SEO analysis. As an experienced SEO professional I know how to see exactly what keywords your competitors are trying to appear for and it goes without saying that having this kind of information can be very useful indeed! That’s a whole topic in itself but you can read more about SEO reporting and keyword tracking to find out more. Alternatively, just drop me a line and I’d be happy to have a chat.