Keyword Research Guide For Small Businesses

Keyword research can sound like a daunting task for a small business. But, the good news is, you don’t have to be a marketing professional or a tech whizz to try your hand at keyword research to reap the benefits of using strategic keywords to direct more traffic to your website.

Understanding and targeting keywords frequently used by your target customers will enable you to produce relevant content to your audience, rank higher in search results, and increase your conversions. Not sure where to start? Here is your guide so you can ace your keyword research for your small businesses.

Sharpen Your Focus

Keyword research is a fundamental part of your SEO strategy and it’s important to be able to pinpoint the goals of your keyword research. In order to use keywords effectively, they also need to be in line with your business goals. What is your aim with keyword research? Are you looking for keywords to optimize the main page or direct traffic towards your blog content?

If your keywords are related to shopping ads then commercial keywords might be a better choice. Examples of these include ones that incorporate local SEO such as ‘bakeries near me’. If, on the other hand you want to create blog content, less commercial keywords would make more sense. You could try ‘wedding cake design ideas’ instead, and build content around it.

The results of both types of keywords would be different, therefore it’s necessary to plan where you want your keywords to be found. As a first step, start by making a list of topics about your business, and what customers might be looking for that leads them to your site. This could be done as a group brainstorming activity to quickly generate ideas on what products receive the most traffic, or what customers are looking for when they find you.

Make a list of the common terms you come up with associated with your business and try typing them into Google as an exercise. This is an effective activity as Google will make suggestions of more commonly searched keywords and phrases. You can also try keyword research tools that will provide information to help you decide which keywords to invest in. This will help you target your keywords. 

Find The Core Keywords & Define Topic Clusters

As you get further into your keyword research, you’ll realize it needs a basis. If your keyword research is for your content or blog then you’ll usually find a number of foundational keywords as the next step. From here, you need to find the core keywords and define topic clusters.

Topic clusters are essentially collections of pages or articles all linked under one topic. Search engines are now adapting their algorithms to favor more broad, topic-based content. This is one of the reasons you need to stay on top of your SEO strategy and keep up with these changes. Your topic cluster needs to be based around one topic, which you can create as a ‘pillar’ page. A pillar page needs to be an authoritative, long-form piece of content that addresses a general topic in an organized, logical way. For example, this page on Bengu — your pillar page could be an overview of content marketing, accompanied by pieces of cluster content like an article about blogging.

By creating a wide range of topic-focused pages linking back to the pillar page, you’re letting the SERPs know that your page is an authority on the topic, and this will improve your ranking. 

By doing your keyword research and creating content around this, you’ve already set a foundation for your topic clusters. Ideally, you need around five to ten subtopics for each pillar page. A good idea is to look through your existing content and find topic cluster opportunities. Take into consideration buyer personas as well, and think about what they might be searching for. When you’re building topic clusters, utilize the keyword research you’ve been doing and integrate it into your content. 

Make sure your landing pages and forms are optimized with your keywords and that they are strategically placed in order to rank higher and bring organic traffic to your funnel. Google Forms, or its more powerful alternative, is a great way to create beautiful and appealing forms representative of your brand to ensure your directed traffic turns into conversions. 

Dig Into Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are a way to boost your keyword strategy even further. Long-tail keywords are three or four keyword phrases that are more specific and relevant to your exact products. If a customer is searching for something this specific, chances are when they find it, this will turn into a sale. Therefore, optimizing your long-tail keywords should generate more conversions.

Long-tail keywords are much easier to rank for, and focusing on them is an effective SEO tactic. The reason for this is fewer websites will be competing for those exact keywords. Although they are also less frequently searched, the potential customer searching for this is more likely to buy what they’re looking for as what they are searching for is highly specific. 

In order to find out which long-tail keywords to use, consider what makes your product special. If you offer cruises in the Caribbean for example, highlight specific features such as facilities for children or over-fifty groups. This way you will be able to target your niche market and be more likely to generate conversions. 

Getting your website to rank for a specific term can be tricky, the key is defining exactly what your product, service, or site has to offer. This should be central in selecting your long-tail keywords. Once you have outlined your long-tail keywords, undertake keyword research again. Use keyword tools to analyze the results. By finding out which works best in generating conversions, you’ll be able to utilize these in your topic cluster content. 

To Conclude 

Keyword research can indeed be time-consuming, but it’s not as hard as you may think and once you’ve tackled it once, you’ll master it in no time. After the hard work is done and you’re sitting watching all the traffic being directed to your site and the increased conversions you’re receiving, you’ll realize keyword research is crucial for your SEO strategy and a tool that is a necessity in your marketing toolbox

Looking for more ways to bring customers to your website? Download our Online Presence Guide to level up the new front door to your business.

Tegan Tedd is a content marketer at Paperform. She loves writing about marketing, technology, and workplace productivity.

Additional reads you may find interesting...

View All
2021 Legal Trends Report: gavel with scale of justice on desk
Legal Practice Tips

Clio 2021 Legal Trends Report: in summary

Content marketing and social media tips: side view of photo editor working in a creative office
Small Business Tips

Content marketing & social media: 4 easy tips for getting started

A single pine tree on a rocky summit
Small Business Tips

Meeting customer expectations during a holiday season like no other

Person at desk in front of computer waiting on phone
Receptionist Tips

Have trouble handling the emotional weight of phone calls? You’re not alone.

Choosing a business number: overhead view of faded yellow vintage telephone with notebook and numbers on monochrome background
Small Business Tips

What your phone number says about your business

How to find and analyze your website traffic: two people look at a computer in a bright office space
Small Business Tips

How to find and analyze your website traffic

Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering - Ruby

Using virtual receptionists for part-time answering

What is a conversation worth: illustration of a confused person with complicated calculations hovering above their head
Small Business Tips

What is a conversation really worth? We calculated the exact dollar amount.

Top 3 legal marketing strategies for 2022: man looks at laptop
Legal Practice Tips

Top 3 legal marketing strategies for 2022

24/7 live chat: a Ruby chat specialist and a potential new client use computers in split screen with a live chat window between them
About Ruby

How Ruby’s 24/7 live chat solution grows your business and saves you time

Why empathy matters for your business: person listening to another person in cafe with laptop, papers, and coffee
Small Business Tips

Why empathy matters for your business

SEO and branding: star-crossed lovers—an illustration of two people with crowns surrounded by flowers
Small Business Tips

SEO and branding: star-crossed lovers

Title card: Authentic small business marketing with Jamie Adams of Scorpion

Ruby partner feature: Authentic small business marketing with Scorpion

Using chat as a sales tool: hands using laptop
Small Business Tips

4 ways to leverage live chat as a sales tool

How to attract more law firm leads: smiling woman in professional attire talks on phone while using laptop
Legal Practice Tips

Treading water? Here’s how to attract more law firm leads.

Try Ruby Risk Free

Call to talk to a live virtual receptionist and hear why 10,000+ companies Ruby.

Call Ruby Sign Up
Sales Support

Already a Ruby customer?

Let’s get started.

Ready to turn more callers into customers?

Missed connections translate to lost revenue. With Ruby, you have a partner in gaining and retaining customers. Plus, we’re so confident you’ll love our service, we offer a 21 day money-back guarantee*.

*Ruby is delighted to offer a money-back guarantee to first time users of both our virtual receptionist service and our chat service. To cancel your service and obtain a full refund for the canceled service (less any multi-service discount), please notify us of the service you wish to cancel either within 21 days of your purchase of that service or before your usage exceeds 500 receptionist minutes/50 billable chats, as applicable, whichever occurs sooner. Some restrictions may apply.