Keywords & Your Online Marketing Strategy

Keys on a wall Keywords are just that: linguistic tools that unlock. What they open is e-business potential.

Typically, keywords define the ideas and topics your content covers. They come in two varieties: one or two-word phrases (head terms ) and longer phrases (long tail keywords).

But…a recent study by SEMRush  revealed keyword inclusion is not quite the “thing” it was a decade ago.

So what value do they have for your business?

Let’s break it down.

Yes, the SEMRush research showed that nearly one-fifth (18%) of the top-ranked pages that turned up from targeted online searches didn’t contain the keywords entered.

Forbes writer Jayson DeMers suggests that this is because Google now searches internet pages by looking for qualities associated with the search term entered. It’s also showing a preference for what DeMers calls  “natural and conversational language.”

Google algorithms are dynamic: that’s nothing new.

While search results are different than what they once may have been, the one-fifth that can’t be predicted is not the whole enchilada. What about the other four-fifths?

That’s why small businesses still need to invest time locating relevant keywords to use for blog posts and company web pages.


Think about the topic you want to tackle in your blog post or content you want to put up on your website.

Then think about your prospects.

How is what you’re writing about/posting relevant to them and their needs?

Say you are selling plastic shower caps and are writing a post on how yours are not only nice to look at but also made from recycled materials.

A starter list could look like this:

  1. shower caps
  2. cute shower caps
  3. eco-friendly bath accessories

Browse, shop or buy? 

Once you have a list, ask yourself to whom they would be most applicable among the types of prospects out there.

Entrepreneur writer and pay-per-click expert Richard Stokes suggests that companies doing online business organize all the keywords they use into three basic categories:

  1. browser – just looking
  2. shopper – actively comparing brands, prices etc.
  3. buyer – actively intending to purchase

Once you do this, you can begin to analyze each term.

Check and Cross-reference

Free keyword databases like SERPs and WordStream can help immensely with the process of keyword creation and research.

For example: a keyword search for “shower caps” on SERP offers these results:

Screen Shot 2017-12-28 at 3.39.09 PM

KEYWORD #1 – shower caps

As the shortest, most general keyword to describe this product,  “shower caps” has the highest volume of traffic. While it’s popular, the down side is that more established companies are likely occupying the first page of Google rankings for that keyword.

KEYWORD #2 – cute shower caps

The second term, “cute shower caps,” falls third on the SERPs list. It’s not as popular but still a term that prospects are using.

The takeaway here is that you might be better served using this term (or some permutation of it, like “cute shower caps for kids,”) rather than rely on “shower cap.”

You could also use it to help create a niche for yourself…and eventually own it by consistently producing quality content that emphasizes the aesthetics of your product.


Screen Shot 2017-12-28 at 3.38.35 PM

KEYWORD #3 – eco-friendly bath accessory

The third term, “eco-friendly bath accessory,” is general in how it refers to “bath accessories” but specific in how it refers to “eco-friendly.”

The phrase could be useful for those browsing for bath accessories to see what’s out there as well as those looking to buy within that market.

The volume listed is small. But a quick Google search that adds the term “shower cap” shows that a market exists, even if it is one that is primarily promoted by/on Amazon:

Screen Shot 2017-12-28 at 6.05.52 PMWhen you are doing this kind of keyword checking, consult at least two reputable databases. Then cross-reference your findings with what you actually see listed on Google.


 Once you’ve got all your basic data, you’ll need to think about what’s important to  your goals for the post and/or relevant pages on your company website.

Let’s look at our keyword list again.

The first search term “shower caps,” is general — and therefore much more competitive to rank for.  So while your post or page may turn up somewhere on Google, it will likely not rank on the first page of a Google search.

A post that references “cute shower caps” will attract everyone looking to style in the shower. BUT: because you’ve made this phrase more specific than “shower caps,” and because it’s not a high-volume keyword, your chances of ranking more highly on Google are better than if use the more generic keyword.

The revised keyword phrase “eco-friendly bath accessories shower caps” is extremely specific and nichey. So posts/pages that use this phrase will likely rank higher than “shower cap” or even “cute shower caps.”

And higher rankings mean greater potential for getting your product/service in front of the people who want them.

To sum up: of your business is new and/or you’re just making your presence known online, one strategy could be to mix in keywords intended for browsers, shoppers and buyers.

If you’re more established, home in on keywords that more aggressively target

  1. your desired niche
  2. shoppers and buyers most likely to be interested in your specific product/service

Compiling a keywords master list that are most relevant to your business and drawing from it as needed could also be useful…so long as you don’t get complacent.

Revisit, review, revise and expand: your business will thank you for it.


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