Keyword research is the most important part of an SEO project. Before a small business can put together a plan to improve its rankings and traffic from Google, it has to know which keywords to target. In general, each page on your domain should target one or two unique keywords. You should have enough pages, targeting enough keywords, to cover the key aspects of your business. If you’re a roofing company that offers roof repairs, replacement, and inspections, you’re going to be looking for keywords that cover these three areas. Remember to look for synonyms too. For example, “repairing” a roof is the same thing as “fixing” a roof. You might look for adjectives and prefixes like ‘home roof repair,’ ‘ residential roof repair,’ or ‘metal roof repair.’

Picking the right keywords comes down to three factors:


  1.  How relevant is the keyword to the business and does it have commercial intent?
    • Keywords with commercial intent are more desirable — ‘roof replacement companies’ is better than ‘how to replace a roof’ because the prior has commercial (not informational) intent
    • A keyword like ‘roof replacement insurance’ might contain some relevant words but the intent of that query is not likely relevant to a roofing company
  2.  How many people search for that keyword in my serviced geography?
    • The more the better — your ranking is irrelevant if very few people perform the search each month
    • If you service the US and Canada, make sure to exclude the rest of the world in your research
  3.  How competitive is the keyword?
    • Lower competition is preferred because it will require less time and money to be successful
    • 95% of the clicks go to the top 5 rankings in this ‘winner takes most’ medium — make sure you target a keyword that you can win on
    • Look at the number of other pages with the targeted keyword in the page <title> or at Domain Authority to evaluate its competitiveness

I recommend Wordtracker for performing keyword research. It’s accurate, easy to use, and inexpensive. Almost anyone can perform keyword research with a Wordtracker account and some understanding of the factors discussed above.