Why All Minneapolis SEO Campaigns Need Quality Keyword Research
How often do you use search engines to find what you’re looking for? Whether it’s information about a problem, how to solve it or to find a great local business to help you do just that, these days, almost all initial enquiries are made through online search engines. As such, if you own a local Minneapolis company, it’s more important than ever to have an easily discoverable online presence. So, how do you make sure that people know about your business and how you can help them? Keyword research! It’s the KEY component to every search engine optimization strategy without which, your potential customers won’t even know you exist. Read on to learn why every local Minneapolis SEO campaign needs an effective keyword research strategy and how to implement one in your organization today.
What Are Keywords?
Keywords are simply the words or phrases that you type into a search engine to find what you’re looking for. They could be anything from ‘Minneapolis weather’ to ‘delicious green smoothie’ or ‘best Minneapolis SEO company’. But, regardless of what the exact term is, keywords are what Google or any other search engine use to crawl your website’s pages and bring up a list of the most relevant search results. Therefore, to help your potential and current customers find you online, you need to optimize your website with the right keywords to be found.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is the first and most important step in your local Minneapolis SEO campaign. It involves researching which keywords and phrases are being used by your target market to search the internet for your business, products, services and the problems that you can solve for them.
However, keyword research involves more than just thinking about which words and/or phrases people might use to find your business. A successful search engine optimization strategy hinges on being able to identify how high the demand is for particular keywords as well as how difficult it is to compete (or rank highly) so that your webpage actually shows up in when someone does searches for it.
For example, if you own a Minneapolis café that offers free WiFi and bottomless coffee in an environment that’s perfect for working, you might be able to use the keyword ‘best study café Minneapolis’. However, if this term is only searched a few times a month, choosing a different keyword such as ‘free WiFi café Minneapolis’ may bring more people through your doors.
Why Do I Need Keyword Research?
Conducting thorough keyword research should be the foundation of every single local Minneapolis SEO campaign. In fact, everything you do in search engine optimization should be based on what your keyword research has told you. As such, you need an effective keyword research process to enable you to:
- Connect with potential customers – Most people search for and find companies to do business with online. If you aren’t ranking for the right keywords, they won’t know that what you offer can help them to solve their problems.
- Find the exact terms your customers use – Some people might refer to all carbonated soft drinks as coke while some call it soda and others call it pop. So, if you’re not talking in the same language as the people you’re trying to attract, you’ll probably miss out on their business altogether. Keyword research can help you to find the same words that your target market is using.
- Focus on keywords that are possible for you to rank for – If the words and phrases you’re using on your website are too generic and/or competitive, your business will more than likely get lost and never be seen. However, effective keyword research will allow you to see what terms to focus on for the best results.
- Forming the blueprint for all your online marketing efforts – Once you’ve identified which keywords are important for your business to focus on, you’ll be able to use these same terms to direct your online marketing efforts in a direction that directly solves your customers problems.
- Monitor trends in your market – If no one is searching for ‘vegetarian café Minneapolis’ because vegan cafes have become the latest rage, it might be time to update your menu. Keeping up to date with keyword research can help you to identify opportunities and avoid being left with an unwanted product.
- Become a respected authority in your niche – Ranking well for keywords that are relevant to your target market means that your website might show up time and time again when potential clients are looking for information. As such, you’ll begin to build credibility as a true expert in your field.
However, because what’s online is almost always changing, it’s important that you don’t think of keyword research as a one-off task. It should be performed regularly so that you can watch how the market is changing and adjust your content strategy and offerings to meet the current needs of your target market and ultimately, drive your success.
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How to do Keyword Research for Local Minneapolis SEO Campaigns
Many local Minneapolis SEO companies skip the crucial job of keyword research because it can seem too difficult. However, effective keyword research is quite a straight forward process that’s easily tackled with a number of easy-to-follow steps.
Step 1: Create a SEO Ideas List
To start your keyword research, simply create a list of important topics that are relevant to your business. Aim for between 5 to 10 words or phrases that identify what it is that your business does and where your competitive advantage lies.
This list doesn’t need to be filled with an exhaustive number of synonyms. However, it should do a thorough job of describing your industry, what your product/service offers and what problem/s it solves.
For example, if you’re a Minneapolis advertising company, your ideas list could include terms such as print advertising, online advertising, advertising agency, lead generation and marketing.
Step 2: Start Building Your Keyword List
Once you’ve got a good idea of the general terms that are relevant to your business, it’s time to expand on these ideas. Take each of these keyword ideas and think about what people might search for to find your company based on what it is that you do. Don’t get too hung up on whether these keywords are the best or not. This is simply a starting point for your keyword research.
To help you to do this, put yourself in the mind of your potential customer and think about what problems they might be currently facing. Leading on from our example above, this could include things such as how to market your business in Minneapolis, best places to advertise Minneapolis, Minneapolis SEO company and what is a good return on investment for online advertising.
If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, type some of your idea words and phrases into Google’s search bar and see what related search terms appear when you start typing. You can also look at what keywords are already attracting traffic to your website, what terms people are searching for in your websites search box or use a keyword research tool such as the Google Keyword Planner to come up with related ideas. If there’s a company you already know that you’re competing with, have a look to see if there’s any keywords they’re ranking for that could work for you too. You can do this by looking on their website for focus keywords or use a tool such as SEMrush to conduct a free search that’ll show you the top keywords that they’re domain is ranking for.
Be sure to include both short and long tail keywords in your list. This means short, more broad keywords such as ‘advertising agency’ and more specific keywords with three or more words such as ‘top advertising agency Minneapolis’. Doing this will help you to create a Minneapolis SEO strategy that’s geared for both short and long-term results.
Step 3: Refine Your List
Once you’ve got a thorough list of keywords you think could be valuable to your search engine optimization strategy, it’s time to refine them by adding some measurable data. Use a keyword tool such as the Google keyword planner to search for your individual keywords. Here, it’s useful to create a spreadsheet that lists what your keyword is along with other important factors such as its total search volume, competition level and trends. Continue to do this for each keyword that’s on your list to build a picture of what your target market is searching for.
Don’t worry too much about the competition rankings given in keyword research tools. These only give a general indication of difficulty to rank for a particular keyword. In reality, how easy or hard it will be to be listed on the first page of Google depends on a number of factors including the quality of the website, traffic and links to the site. To give you a better idea of what the competition is like, search for your term in Google and visit the websites that come up. Assess for yourself how hard you think it may be to rank. More reputable, established websites will be generally harder to beat.
Once your table is complete, it’s then time to go through and rule out any terms that you don’t think will be valuable for your overall Minneapolis SEO strategy. This could include terms that have too little (or too much) search volume, are trending downwards or are too hard to compete with. However, it’s important to look at all of these factors together. For example, a term that’s currently got a low search volume but is trending upwards, could be a worthwhile long-term investment. Similarly, a critical keyword that’s got so much quality competition that it’s almost impossible for you to rank for as a new website, could be worth spending more time on developing for long-term results.
What are Long Tail Keywords and Should I Target them?
As we mentioned earlier, your keyword research should give you a list that contains both short and long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are phrases that contain three or more words to give a very specific search term. In general, long trail keywords won’t receive as the same number of searches as more generic keywords. However, because they’re more specific, the results found from these types of keywords are usually closer to what the searcher is actually looking for, making it more likely that you’ll convert them into a customer.
For example, if you type the term ‘auto repair’ into Google, you’ll be left with a whole long list of generic results that aren’t actually close to what you’re really looking for. However, if you type ‘affordable auto repair Minneapolis’ into Google, you’ll have a much shorter list of businesses that you’re probably ready to call for a quote.
Additionally, there’s usually less competition for long tail keywords which makes it easier to rank for these terms than generic ones. As such, long term keywords are essential to any local Minneapolis SEO strategy and should always be incorporated in effective keyword research.
Top 4 Keyword Research Tools
To help you conduct keyword research that SEO Minneapolis businesses will truly benefit from, try these top 4 keyword research tools:
- Google AdWords Keyword Planner – Allows you to find quantitative data on search volume, paid competition and view related terms.
- SEMrush – Free and paid features that allow you to view search volume, related keywords, trends, plus more.
- Long Tail Pro – Paid plans that gives you access to more detailed keyword research information.
- Ahrefs – Paid tool that’s focused on discovering what your competitors and ranking for and how to outrank them.
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