If you're thinking about SEO, you're thinking about keywords. And FYI, you should be thinking about SEO. Search engine optimization is critical to getting your local business discovered on the web. A survey from BrightLocal shows that Google organic traffic drives one-quarter of all traffic to local businesses.
For good SEO performance, one of the first things marketers need to consider is finding the right keywords. Remember, competitive keywords aren't always going to be the common phrases. The old saying, “Reach for the moon and you'll land among the stars,” does not necessarily apply to keywords – reach for the competitive but attainable phrases instead in order to make your brand a superstar in its own right.
Going for more specific, “long tail” keywords can help marketers find highly relevant audiences and enjoy higher rankings. Plus, a study from Optify.net indicates that long tail keywords that appear anywhere on the first page of search engines see relatively high CTRs. So maybe instead of “home insurance,” you go for a phrase such as “competitive home insurance quotes.” Focused searchers who look for the longer phrase are generally more likely to convert.
So how can you determine which niche keywords might drive the most traffic to your site? You want to stand a chance at high rankings and still keep your keywords relevant to your audiences, and there are plenty of online tools you can use to see which phrases are a fit for your business.
Here are four (free!) SEO keyword tools that ContentLEAD recommends.
1. Google Keywords Tool
The Google Keywords Tool is a commonly used and highly effective service from Google. Even though the tool is aimed at helping marketers with their PPC strategies, it offers useful insight on the competitiveness of different keywords.
You can enter keywords related to your businesses and see their corresponding search volumes, as well as search volumes for phrases that Google deems “related.”
If you check out this tool, you should note that the “competition” tab indicates how many PPC advertisers bid on a phrase – not how many organic listings contain it. Nonetheless, a keyword's paid search competitiveness is probably an indication of its organic search competitiveness.
2. Free Keyword Niche Finder from Wordstream
This service has a free offering and paid components. With the free version of the Keyword Niche Finder, you won't get to see the actual monthly search volume for specific phrases. Nonetheless, it's a quick and easy way to generate niche keyword suggestions related to head terms that might be harder to rank for according to their “relative frequency.”
For instance, when our go-to phrase “home insurance” is entered, the Niche Finder recommends 50 related keywords, including “home insurance mobile owner quote.” A chart indicates each term's frequency, and you can click on niche key phrases that are relevant to your offerings to see other similar suggestions.
3. SEO Book's Keyword List Generator
The Keyword List Generator allows you to input a variety of key phrases, and then returns new combinations and variations on these terms that may help you boost rankings and catch clicks. The free version doesn't offer as much insight as other tools in terms of search volumes and competitiveness, but it is a good way to get some new ideas about search phrases that may draw relevant audiences.
SEO Book claims its service offers a special advantage because consumers tend to search for permutations of the same terms, and the company says paid search marketers see 10 to 20 percent traffic lifts using its keyword variations.
In the past, marketers have ranked KeywordDiscovery as their favorite SEO keyword research source, according to a survey from Lee Odden. It's easy to see why – the (free!) tool collects data across the major search engines, so it offers insight to help boost rankings across portals.
Simply enter a key phrase and KeywordDiscovery offers a list of related terms, complete with their search frequency for the past year.
Once marketers have the right keywords in mind, it's time to put these phrases to work in the context of high-quality content strategies that will attract search engines – and online consumers!