How to Build Your Starting Keyword List

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Written By Robert Dunford
I am a Marketing Consulting in the Great Toronto Area with over 25 years experience in building and implementing marketing plans for small business.

During SEO planning for your website, correctly managing the keyword research will be your foundation of success. It’s critical to get the keywords right and optimize your content for them if you want potential clients to be able to discover your business online.

Unfortunately, many business owners fall short in that regard, as their starting keyword lists are either incomplete or full of highly competitive keywords that are difficult to rank. With SEO keyword planning, you have to take everything into account, including what the competition is doing. If you’ve been struggling with keyword research, here are a few tips that will help you build your starting keyword list:

Think the Way Searchers Do

In creating a list of your core keywords, the first step will be to try to think as customer does. Better yet, ask a customer how they would search for your service. Alternatively, tools like Google Keyword Planner might help you get the base keywords going, as it provides suggestions based on the keyword you input. It’s also worth your time to explore the related searches for each keyword in Google’s “People also ask” box, as that will help you get to some of the keywords that people search.

Account for Search Intent

Once you have the basic list of keywords for your business and products, the next step is to come up with ways to modify them based on searcher intent. A potential customer who is in the consideration buying stage will likely have different queries from a customer who is looking to buy right away. While the former might ask “How does this product work?”, the latter is more likely to type in a query like “order product online” or “product near me”.

You’ll be much more easily discoverable if you do the keyword research this way. SEO planning and optimizing your content for these keywords will also be a more straightforward endeavour, as you will know what you need to do.

Decide Which Keywords to Keep

This method will provide you with a solid starting keyword list, but you’ll still have to evaluate whether you can use all of them. Some of them might not be as relevant to your business, or you may struggle to use them in content properly. Another aspect you should be looking at is search volume and competition since those will significantly affect whether the keyword is worth going for or not. Small businesses usually benefit more from long-tail keywords that have a decent search volume but are not yet overtaken by SERP giants, so keep that in mind.

Researching keywords and optimizing them according to search intent is just one of the many SEO tactics that professionals employ to ensure the websites they are optimizing rank better.

However, SEO is by no means a quick solution to your ranking problems – on their own, it usually takes business owners months before they see an uptick in the metrics. Fortunately, there are ways for you to see results faster. If that’s something you want or you have time to wait, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to discuss your marketing strategy and help in any way I can.

Rob Dunford is a Marketing Consultant in the Great Toronto Area with over 20 years of experience in implementing marketing plans for small businesses.

2 thoughts on “How to Build Your Starting Keyword List”

  1. This was very informative and much more attainable than other SEO articles I’ve read. It’s also very relevant for me. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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