Over the past few days Stan has drawn up a detailed outline of what he wants his site to do and who his customers might be.
At this point I generally introduce the idea of keywords to my clients.
Keywords are the words Stan’s potential customers (and yours) type into the magic search box in Google <disclaimer> other search engines are available! When someone types a search phrase into the box the search engines return the results they deem to be most relevant, and you can bet your life that the sites that rank top will have targeted their text very carefully to showcase those phrases.
(N.B. They will have used other tools too but for now let’s concentrate on keywords.)
Now here’s the thing, those potential customers may not be searching for what you think they’re searching for. In addition they may be searching for things you never even imagined!
Stan often wishes he could get inside his customers’ heads. I would tell Stan that he (and you) can do just that using Google’s keyword tool
Using this tool Stan finds that although lots of people are indeed searching for the term ‘widgets’ it’s a highly competitive phrase. He should use it certainly, but needs to bear in mind that everyone else who sells widgets online will be homing in on that phrase too.
But this is where keyword analysis gets clever.
Stan notices that there are a lot of searches for ‘red widgets’. He’s been toying with importing some but wasn’t sure if they’d sell. He sees now that there’s a nice niche market for red widgets within the bigger widget market place. He starts to think that if he can run a feature on red widgets on his website it will draw customers in.
He also notices that a large subgroup of people is looking for information on installing their widgets. Even better, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of competition for the phrase ‘widget installation’ or ‘installing a widget’ so he reckons that he should run an article or two and write a tutorial on this topic to begin to capture that particular section of traffic.
Finally he notices that another group of people are searching for information on ‘how to make a widget’. His hunch that it might be worth expanding his business to provide widget making kits and widget making workshops was correct.
Already Stan is strengthening his online business plan and seeing how he can move forwards. He’s beginning to see the power of the web.