Monday, November 19, 2007

Local Market Keyword Research

Targeting Your SEO Campaign For Local Markets

Many small business fail in their SEO campaigns because they fail to target the proper keywords. Defining your target market using proper (niche) keywords is one of the most important factors in a successful SEO campaign. On the other hand, many small businesses are scared to invest in an SEO campaign because they believe that the online marketplaces are too aggressive to compete in.

This article will clear up some of the confusion on local market keyword research, and how to judge how aggressive a local keyword market is. Make a LOCAL keyword list.

Sometimes when I answer the phone the first thing that I hear is “I’ve been online for 3 years, I can’t find myself on Google, HELP!!!” Of course my response is “don’t worry sir/ma’am we can help you out, first lets take a look at the keywords that you have picked out for your site.”
99.9% of the time the local carpet cleaning business will have the keyword Meta tag arranged like this “Carpet, Cleaning, Carpet Cleaning, Carpet Stain Removal”. When I see Meta tags arranged like this I always ask, “You’re a local business. Do you want people out of state calling you for our services?” and again 85% of the time the answer is NO!

If you target a local market, make a local keyword list for your business. Do not describe your local business using, what I call, national or international keywords. Below are some examples of a proper keyword list and an improper keyword list targeting the Bellevue, Washington carpet cleaning market.

Wrong Keyword list,

Carpet Cleaning Service

Proper Keyword List

Bellevue Carpet Cleaning
Bellevue WA carpet Cleaning
Bellevue Carpet Cleaning Services
Carpet Cleaning Company Bellevue

Take another look at your web pages Meta tags and see if you are using “National Market Keywords” or “Local Market Keywords.” If necessary make the needed changes, sit tight for a month or two, and run a new ranking report.

The next step will be to match the keywords used in the meta tags to the page content. Keep an eye out for that article!

Know how aggressive your keyword market is

Many small businesses look at a Google result listing and shake in fear. “Results 1-10 of about 2,500,000? How can I compete with that?” Before you rule SEO (or SEM) out of your marketing plan take a deeper look at how large your keyword market actually is. Lets stick with the Bellevue Washington carpet cleaning market for this example as well.

If you type the keyword Bellevue carpet cleaning into Google you should see, results 1 – 10 of about 224,000. If you notice all words on the result listing that are relevant to the search terms are in a BOLD color. This holds true with relevant words in the URL.

Knowing how Google indexes web pages we can assume that any web page on the Internet “housing” the individual words: Bellevue, Carpet, and Cleaning will appear in the results. So lets narrow down the “real competition” buy conducting a different search.

Lets search for only WebPages that have the words Bellevue Carpet Cleaning in the URL. We do this by conducting a Google search using Allinurl:Keyword. In this case we want to Google search for allinurl:Bellevue carpet cleaning

The results from this search jump from 244,000 to a mere 1,580. This is a number that a small business can compete with.

Recommendation: Homework

When creating your LOCAL market keyword list look for keywords that have ALLINURL:KEYWORD results of less then 2,000. This will ensure that your SEO campaign is not targeting overly aggressive markets, thus providing better keyword rankings on your first SEO Campaign.

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