Keyword Research: The Basics For Small Business

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is the considered in the industry as possibly the most important step in your content writing. When you produce content within your small business, you’re doing so to reach and engage with your audience. Naturally, the aim with your online marketing would be to generate leads and convert customers, and keyword research will be a fundamental practice you’ll need to undertake if that is your main aim.

Whether you’re a in the B2B or B2C remit, you’ll need to know which keywords your customers are using to inform all of your digital marketing. Building your website, the content on your website, your social media strategy, your advertisements. In short, both your SEO and PPC advertisements (they two ways to generate traffic online) will both be at odds with themselves without an appropriate amount of keyword research.

In short, it’s the process of finding the search query that people are using to search for information your a topic. Within the “research”, you can look at the different ways people are searching, the keywords they’re using, how often those keywords are used. It’s the way in which we find the relevant keywords to optimize our content in both our paid and organic search marketing.

Keyword research is the process of finding the search query strings that people use to search for information on a topic, as well as how often those keywords are used in search engines like Google and Bing. Keyword research is the best way to find new, relevant keywords to expand your paid and organic search marketing campaigns.

Why does it matter?

Keywords matter because it determines how your content will be ranked and indexed on search engines. Content and SEO are part of the same strategy, but generally a copywriter may not be a SEO specialist, and vice-versa. They are not interchangeable, though it’s great to be knowledgeable in both if you’re writing content and promoting your business online.

Keywords are part of your SEO strategy, and are generally separate from content. In the industry, a copywriter or content writer may not be educated in SEO, and generally they will be given the keywords and topic that they should be using within their blogging services. Luckily for my clients, I handle both with competitor research, keyword research and looking to fully integrate my service to understand their industry; their audience, relevant keywords, and how to engage their audience.

In essence, keywords will put you in front of your audience and ensure your content is reaching relevant people for your industry. If people aren’t searching your keywords, they’re absolutely useless. If too many people are searching for your keywords, they may be too popular and you’ll have trouble breaking through the noise.

What does this mean for my digital marketing?

In digital marketing, there are several areas where you keyword research is going to really make a difference.  When you consider that Google now processes nearly three trillion searches every year (over five billion per day), you can see why keywords may be relevant to you. If you want to be found online, you’ll need to consider your keyword research. Particularly for the following:


Search engine optimization is getting in front of your audience on Google and search engines. The way this works is Google (and other search engines) send out robots that check our website, and keywords are how they identify what is relevant, and therefore which search queries to show our results on.

Google constantly change the way in which they are index and rank websites, though keywords will always remain. The focus seems to be now more about quality content and ensuring your mobile friendly, sure – but without the keywords, you won’t reach your audience.

This means you should:

  • Produce content is relevant to your audience
  • Use specific keywords on the landing pages on your website to ensure they are ranking on Google for the relevant terms
  • Ensure you use synonyms of your keywords and understand context
Content Marketing

How can you produce content, without knowing who you are targeting? And how can you target the right people, without knowing what they’re searching for?

Before we look at the different types of keywords, and how you can understand user intent when you are doing keyword research, we must ask the question; who are we targeting?

Not only that, but what are they searching for? What are they interested in? What search queries are used for people who are interested in my service?

These are going to then inform the topics we speak about within our content marketing, meaning we are providing value to our customers in response to the content they are asking for. Get it? It’s responsive marketing – you’re informed on how your audience is searching, the topics they’re looking for, and you can produce content relevant to their interests and needs.

Paid Campaigns

Are you using pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google? Then you need to know the right keywords to target, it’s extremely important.

If you’re aiming for very niche keywords, where there is low traffic, this can drive down how much you’re paying per click, though there is obviously not as much volume. This can be extremely useful when you’re advertising your business.

For example, if you’re a lawyer and you have a speciality, would you want to go for a high-traffic “Lawyers in the UK” or would you want to go for a more niche “Insurance lawyer in Leeds.” This is where understanding user intent comes in, and how what your customers are searching show exactly what they need in the moment – but to keep it simple, let’s start with a couple of ways you can start to understand your target market more and introduce keywords into your digital marketing.

Where can I find the keywords relevant to my business?

In my experience, there are two separate ways you can come up with areas and topics that you can produce content around and specifically target with your advertising. In essence, it’s either off-line or it’s online – it’s taking from your experience with customers and within your industry, or it’s going to keyword research tools that will allow to get an insight into what your target audience are looking for.

Your own experience

You got into business to solve a specific problem, right? To further understand your audience and the topics you should be looking to engage them with, you should consider:

  • Conducting customer research – speaking directly to customers regarding their current issues and problems that your service is solving
  • Brainstorming – come up with some ideas from your own experiences and the expertise of your team
Online research & tools

Online tools are going to be a more powerful way when you are looking at coming up with search terms and ensuring your keywords are specific to your audience. Considering the fact you won’t become and SEO expert overnight, you should try out some of the following tips to help you get started:

  • Google Keywords Planner – although you should not rely on this too heavily because of it’s tendency to be used for PPC Ads, the keywords planner that Google offers can give you some excellent insights into search terms, such as volume and how competitive each term is to become ranked.
  • Google Search Console – hooking up to the Google Search Console and looking at what you’re currently ranking for and the related
  • Google Autocomplete – Google will automatically complete search terms when you type in a topic. For example, if I type “How do I market my” into Google, it will give me several suggestions based on high-ranking search terms that begin with “How do I market my..” – you should try it with relevant topics
  • Google Related Search – at the bottom of every page when you search on Google, you’ll see “related search terms.” This can be gold-dust for your keyword research, utilize them.

There are also some other tools you can use online:

Google Trends

Keyword Tool

Yoast Suggest

There’s plenty more online tools you can use to optimize your keyword research, but those are the three I get the most use out of.

Are you reaching your customers? As I say to my clients, anyone can write a blog just like anyone can fix their own car. Consider this the Digital DIY – if you want to do it yourself, give it a try – but make sure you’re using keywords in your content and looking to rank on search engines for the topics important to your audience. That’s what will put you in front of customers.