How to Find Keywords Using the Google Keyword Tool

Posted May 27th, 2011 in Online Marketing, SEO by Emily

Lots of articles on search engine optimization (SEO) tell you to find keywords and put them into your pages. It sounds simple, but most people don’t know how to choose them or where to put them on their page.

Keywords are single words or word phrases that you want to emphasize on your pages, so if someone types them into Google search, your site appears at the top.

Today I’m going to take you step-by-step on how to use the free Google Keyword Tool to do keyword research for your CityMax site. By the end of this article, you’ll know how to create a list of potential keywords and how to pick the ones that will work best for your pages.

1. Enter a broad range of keywords that are relevant to your website content.

Try to include a variety of word phrases. There really is no point to targeting a single word because the competition for them is so high. More on that later. Your list also doesn’t have to include every phrase you can think of, instead try to come up with phrases that use a variety of words. The Google Keyword Tool will generate a larger list of phrases for you from whatever you enter.

I’m going to use an example of a pretend Vancouver restaurant that focuses on high tea. You enter your keywords like this (remember to choose a country and language too):

google keyword tool - keyword research

2. Scan the keywords that are generated and expand your keyword search

A list of keywords based off what you entered will show below. Look through them and add phrases to your keyword search list. Remember your goal is find keywords that are relevant to your pages. If you’re not sure if a phrase is relevant, click on it and you’ll see what pages appear when you do a search for that phrase. If the pages that show match with your page content, it’s a good keyword for you.

3. Put keywords into groups

You’ve now got a huge list of potential keywords. Print them out and then grab some different colored highlighters. I like to group my keywords so like-keywords are together. You can also do this by copying your keywords into a spreadsheet.

If you’re doing keyword research for your website in general, each group can represent a different topic to focus on for each page.

If you’re doing keyword research for a single page, you’ll just be picking out the keywords that match your page’s topic.

4. Choose 3 keywords per webpage

Here’s what you want to look for in a good keyword:

  • Relevant to your content – You want someone who does a search on Google to find your site at the top and click on it. After they click on it, your page that appears must match with the person’s expectations or they’ll just leave. Remember, only choose keywords that actually reflect each page’s content.
  • Lots of monthly searches – You want keywords that often get entered on Google search. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean you want to pick the keywords that have the most searches…see the next tip.
  • Low competition – You have a better chance of ranking well for keywords that don’t have a lot of competition. Low competition is based off the number of webpages that appear for each keyword. Anytime you do a search on Google, you’ll see the approximate number of results for a search.

google keyword tool - choose keywords

You will want to choose 3 keywords to page. I find that any more than that and my writing starts to not flow well. It’s one thing to get people to your page, but if the writing isn’t compelling you’ll still lose the visitor.

Bonus:  Know how different keyword formats are weighted

Did you know changing the order of your keywords or inserting a word in between keywords in a phrase can make a difference?  There are 3 different types of keyword match types in Google.  Assume a person types into Google search:  high tea vancouver

  • Broad match: vancouver bc high tea restaurants. The searcher needs any of the keywords in their search and it doesn’t matter what order or if there are extra words.
  • [Exact match]: high tea vancouver. The searcher needs the keywords exactly as they are shown without any extra words.
  • “Phrase match”: place for high tea vancouver. The searcher needs the keywords in the same order as their search and it doesn’t matter if there are extra words.

On the left side of the Google Keyword Tool, you’ll find where you can show the results for all 3 match types:

google keyword tool - broad match, phrase match, exact_match

Later, when you’re writing for your pages, you may want to keep this information in mind so you present your keywords in the format that gives you the best results.

Next post, how to strategically insert your keywords into your pages.

47 Blog Topics for Small Businesses

Posted May 24th, 2011 in Getting Visitors, social media by Emily

47 blog topics for small businesses

Last week, I wrote about blog SEO (search engine optimization) and how a blog can help drive traffic to your CityMax estore. The main point is you have to write a post at least twice a week and then optimize it for search engines.

So, you sit down and get ready to write the most amazing article…and then your mind goes blank.

Let’s face it, it isn’t easy to come up with interesting topics that will mesmerize readers. To help you out, I’ve come up with a list of 47 blog topics:

  1. Tips related to your product or service (e.g. 8 Tips for…, 10 Ways to…)
  2. Write about “hot topics” in your industry and how it affects you or your customers
  3. What inspired you to do your business
  4. Show off new products that have just arrived and feature the ones you personally like best
  5. Show photos and/or videos you took at conferences and write about what you learned
  6. Show photos and/or videos you took at seminars and write about what you learned
  7. See what’s trending high on twitter and relate it to your business
  8. Interview someone in person, on the phone or with a list of questions via email
  9. Write about a mistake you made in your business and what you learned from it
  10. Write about a good customer experience
  11. Write about a bad customer experience and what you learned from it
  12. Read the newspaper and relate popular stories to your business
  13. Expand on an article you read in a magazine related to your business
  14. Come up with a list of 10 best blogs for your industry
  15. Put together a list of best blog posts relating to your industry for the past week or month
  16. Invite a guest writer to submit a post
  17. Take a customer question you get asked a lot and post an in depth answer (with pictures and video, even better)
  18. Have a debate with someone and post both sides of the argument
  19. Have a contest (have people post a comment to get entered in it)
  20. Review a tv show, movie, documentary, etc. that has or mentions products/services in your industry
  21. Compile a list of shows where your products have been seen (show pictures of the scenes)
  22. See what other blogs in your industry have written about for ideas
  23. Write about something you did several years ago and how it affects your business now
  24. Snap pictures anytime you see something your customers or potential customers might be interested in
  25. Review a book
  26. Put together a top 10 list of books
  27. Write about any charity work your business does and why you chose the charity
  28. Make a prediction about the future of your industry
  29. Check discussion boards related to your business for topics that have a high number of posts
  30. Write about how products in your industry have changed over the last 10, 20 or 50 years (it might be humorous)
  31. Put together a list of events your customers or potential customers might be interested in
  32. Give tips on what not to miss at upcoming events your customers/potential customers might attend (anything from what speakers to see, where to park, where to eat, where the cleanest washrooms are, which booths to visit)
  33. Relate your product to an upcoming holiday like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or Christmas (e.g put together the perfect gift for a father, wife, teenager, etc.)
  34. Relate your product to an upcoming event like the Olympics, Superbowl, etc.
  35. Do a case study of how a customer benefited from your product/service (include quotes and photos)
  36. Write about a scam in your industry that readers should be aware of (e.g. how to identify counterfeit products)
  37. Write a how-to for something people commonly need help with
  38. Put together a list of marketing successes and failures in your industry
  39. Post a list of 5 people you want to meet in your industry and why
  40. Compile photos from Flickr (do an advanced search for Creative Commons-licensed content only) where your products shown
  41. Put together a list of resources for your industry or customers
  42. Write about what happened at a company event, retreat or training session (include photos)
  43. Write about celebrities who have been seen with your product
  44. Explain how you’ve had to use creativity in your business
  45. Write about where you draw inspiration from for your products and services
  46. Describe how products are typically created and designed
  47. Write about how laws or government policies might affect your industry and/or customers

There will probably be some days where your writing is stellar and other days when writing anything is tough. Go easy on yourself. Not every article has to be a winner. Remember every post helps you get points with search engines for having fresh content, so no matter what blog topics your write about you’re getting ahead.

Blog SEO: Blogging to the Top of Google

Posted May 19th, 2011 in Getting Visitors, Online Marketing, social media by Emily

Blogging is a great way to drive new traffic to your CityMax estore, but only if you use a successful blog SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. Blogs are easier to get higher ranking for on search engines because:

  • They tend to have new content regularly.
  • They have the ability to accept comments which are looked upon as more new content.
  • Each blog post can be focused on specific keywords you want to target.

Blogs are also inexpensive to set up. I’ve used the blogging site WordPress for a few years, but Blogger is also an easy to use free program.

Here are some tips on how to get your blog SEO working for you:

1. Check out competitor blogs

Search Google for successful blogs in your industry. The ones that always seem to be at the top of search engines already have a winning formula, so copy their strategy. Specifically look at:  what topics they cover, which topics have the most comments, how often they post, what category names they use, what tags they use and how many images they use in their posts.

2. Choose keywords wisely

Use the free Google Keyword Tool to find the keywords which have high search volume and low competition. From the keyword tool page, click on any keywords you’re considering to see what kind of search results appear. You only want to use keywords that have search results that match with the blog post you’re writing.

3. Insert keywords into your blog posts

Use keywords in your blog posts, blog URL (web address), headings, image file names, image titles and alt tags (the text that appears when you mouse on top of an image) and blog tags. You can also create category names for keywords you want to target. As a general rule, don’t let inserting keywords trump quality writing. Remember someone will be reading your post and you want them to come back and read more.

4. Link back to your estore

Typically, you’ll want to make sure there’s a constant link to your estore in the column beside your blog posts, just like we have for CityMax at the top right. For some blog posts, it may make sense to include a link there too.

5. Post at least twice a week

Generally, you should post at least twice a week just to ensure Google notices your blog has regular fresh content. From my own experience, twice a week usually results in Google indexing my blog weekly.

This should help you get on your way to a successful blog.

Have You Defined Your Target Market?

Posted May 16th, 2011 in Online Marketing, Selling Online, Small Business Tips by Mara
Image by jronaldlee

Image by jronaldlee

Do you find yourself saying any of the following statements?

“I want to sell to everybody.”

“Everybody can benefit from my product/service.”

“I want to cast a wide net – everyone should know about us.”

If so, I want to give you a high five for your enthusiasm – but I also want you to read the rest of this article so you understand why your marketing consultant looks really uncomfortable when you say any of the above.

The world would be a wonderful place if everyone was the perfect candidate for your product or service. But the truth of the matter is, we’re all different. We all have different wants, needs, tolerances, and preferences. We’re all drawn to different things and we’re all trying to solve different problems. Which is why when you try to sell to everyone, you end up wasting a lot of time, energy, and money on people that are never going to spend money on you.

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The Easy Way to Get to the Top of Google

Posted May 9th, 2011 in Online Marketing, SEO, Small Business Tips by Mara
Image by Jeff McNeill

Image by Jeff McNeill

One of the absolutely most popular questions we get asked by CityMax.com customers is “how do I get on Google?”

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a complex game and sometimes it can take a while to get search engines like Google to notice you. It’s a delicate balance of targeting the right keywords, having the right content, using the right elements to build your website, and having the right sites link back to you – you can see how it can be challenging.

While SEO is definitely something you should focus on and ranking naturally through search engines is a fantastic goal, there’s a faster way to do it – it’s called advertising.

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The REAL Secret to Writing Great Headlines

Posted May 5th, 2011 in Small Business Tips by Mara
Image by @jbtaylor

Image by @jbtaylor

No matter how fantastic your small business’ product, service, or idea, it doesn’t matter unless you catch your audience’s attention right off the bat.

You could have the secret to all life’s problems wrapped up in a beautiful box, but if you don’t quickly tell your visitor how you have the answer to everything they’ve ever worried about, they’re not going to care.

So how do copywriters do it? How do they come up with those few, precious, magical words that make customers keep reading?

The first step, as you may have guessed, is to know what your customers are looking for. Essentially, you are offering a solution to a problem that they have. What is that problem? How can you help them?

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The Best Office In The World

Posted May 2nd, 2011 in Selling Online by Patrick

We’re moving! Tomorrow we’ll be saying goodbye to our legendary office of the last two years, and joining our friends at MeZine Inc. (our parent company). It’s been a magical time, and as this is my last day with CityMax.com, I thought a little retrospective of our highlights in our Gastown office would be fitting.

From having two office dogs, to street hockey and yoga, to hosting 300+ entrepreneurs and City Council for Spirit Day, to even having an Alaskan king crab run around – it’s been an amazing place. Check out the videos/pics if you don’t believe me.

Shaw TV Feature

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