When we’re looking into working with a potential customer, one of the first things we’ll do is take a good look at their website.

It doesn’t take long to get a good feel about how much understanding a company (or the search agency they’ve used!) have about how to use search engine optimisation (SEO) effectively for their business.

Scanning the title tags is a good indicator about if and how well each web page has been optimised. Title tags highlight the keywords and phrases that a web page is optimised for, e.g. the words and phrases that you want the search engines to find your web page for.

As an example, if you are a manufacturer with a page about plastic blue widgets and you want the web traffic searching for plastic blue widgets then ideally those words will need to be in your title tag and within the text of the page.

Many businesses are undermining their search engine rankings and missing out on web traffic by not addressing this aspect of SEO, either by not tackling it at all or by concentrating their efforts in the wrong direction.

SEO keywords ManchesterSo going right back to the start, which keywords and phrases are right for your business?

Here are some simple ways to research this:

Competitors:
Take a look at the title tags and text on your competitors’ websites. How do they describe themselves on the Home page? Which words do they use on webpages for competing products or services?

Customers and prospects:
What is your market searching for on the search engines? What kind of information would they want? Try to think like a potential customer, they are likely to be looking for solutions to a problem, specific benefits or features, product information, reviews and so on.

You can find out this information by talking to your customers directly; what were they looking for when they found you? Talking to your sales and customer service teams also helps; they probably come across some questions and enquiries regularly, which can point the way forwards.

One other way is to have a look through social media, what are people asking about related to your industry / products? Search for specific hashtags on Twitter to see the conversations taking place or join a relevant group on LinkedIn for example.

Free SEO keywords tools

If you don’t have one already, a Google Analytics account gives you access to reports on the queries driving traffic to your website.

Übersuggest and Soovle also return many useful suggestions when you enter potential keywords and phrases.

This process should generate a long list of ideas and suggestions. The next stage is to think about your strategy – which keywords and phrases should you target?

This is where Google’s free Keyword tool can help, by helping you understand which terms are most competitive. As a small business it might make more sense to focus most of your attention on the terms which are less competitive – focusing less on the more generic terms and going for the long tail (longer, more specific keyphrases).

The Artlab is an SEO company in Manchester. We develop effective keyword strategies for our clients based on thorough research and achieving results. Please call us on 0161 875 2528.