Keyword Research

I was browsing through some old material and came across a post I put up on, a website designed to help local businesses survive the bridge closure that would require folks on either side of the bridge to make a 35 km detour to access the isolated part of town. It’s about keywords used on your website, and includes an excerpt from my 2011 book, “Online Marketing for Your Local Business.” (Boy it is past time for an update, though the keyword information is still gold). Here’s a link to the post.

And here is the post in it’s entirety:

“Keyword Research

Researching Keywords

What keywords are being used by your customers?

Believe it or not, everyone does NOT know what you have to offer. Just today I changed the cartridge in my water filter and realized it was the last one. I’ve been buying them from TSC in Peterborough. I wondered if I could get them someplace locally. I went to the manufacturers website, looked up their distributors and found Home Hardware on the list. So I went downtown to 13 Front St. East, location of our own Hastings Home Hardware. Sure enough, they have them. I’ve been buying them from TSC for 5 years. I don’t know why I didn’t think to get them in town, but there you go. At $7.95 each, and at least one every two months, that’s about $240 NOT going into the local owners pocket. I am sure I pay the same price at TSC, but even if I had to pay a buck more locally, it is definitely more convenient to buy them right here in town.

This is an example of someplace where attention to keywords could help, if a business had an online presence, and I was searching through the internet. It is also an example of how email marketing could help a business. If a local business owner collected email addresses for all his or her customers, they might be able to segment them into townies, and rural folks. The owner could then go down the list of things that folks on their own wells and septic systems might need, and send out a short email reminding everyone on his list of the filter cartridges, pump parts, biological digestion septic tank boosters etc. that he carried. Is this going to make him rich? No. But he could avoid having some dimwit like me spend $240 someplace out of town.

Take a look at the section down below which explores the concept of keywords at greater length.


You may have incredible products or services. They could be sterling quality, competitively priced, and 100% guaranteed—but if you call them whizbangs and your customers are looking whatchamacallits, you are going to have problems.

It is absolutely key to Internet marketing to know the search terms that will be used., and there is no way around it! You need to do some keyword research before you do anything else.

Let me give a simple example from real life, using Google, Google Maps, and the Google Keyword Tool. I was talking to a local artist who sold pottery from her home. She had an attractive website and also had some space in a storefront in town. She wanted to generate more customers using her website. So I suggested we take a look at what a Google Maps search would bring up. Google Maps is the “go-to” vehicle to find out where any service or product is in your local area.

A search for “potters near Peterborough Ontario” turned up nothing but Google Maps asking whether I meant a magician with the last name of Potter, located near Port Hope. A search for “pottery near Peterborough Ontario” pointed to a selection of potters’ studios and locations selling pottery. Much better.

Now it was time to turn to the Google Keywords Tool. Using the same phrases as above, the Keyword Tool showed that the phrase “peterborough pottery” generated just over 90 searches a month—whereas “peterborough potter” showed no results!

You might think that that was enough information, but there are some additional important points to consider. The Google Keyword Tool doesn’t show results for less than 10 searches a month. And another interesting result was that the number of local searches for the generic term “pottery” numbered about 450,000; the number of searches for “clay potter” was 8,100—in other words, about two percent of the more popular term. We know that “peterborough pottery” generated 91 searches. Maybe “peterborough potter” would only generate two or three. Also, there were 110,000 searches for the phrase “pottery ceramic” and similar numbers for combinations of those two words. What does this all mean for my friend? (Or for you when you research your own terms?)

Clearly, she needs to have the word “pottery” on her website. And to make sure she captures the attention of local shoppers, she needs to repeat the phrase “Peterborough pottery” a few times. She should also pay attention to two-word combinations around “ceramics” and “pottery,” as well.

What about “peterborough potter,” though? Well, here’s a suggestion. There could be anywhere from zero to nine people a month searching for the phrase “Peterborough potter.” The fact that Google Maps found none means that my friend could easily own that phrase. How significant would that be? If someone is searching for a potter in Peterborough on Google Maps, and she is the only one to show up, it could mean two or three more sales a month. That could mean 24 to 36 more sales a year. I’d call that significant. And all she has to do to own that phrase is add a page to her website that talks about her as a potter and her potter experiences, and make sure she includes the term “potter” in her description on Google Places.

If she is smart, she will also add some references to “ceramics pottery” to both places, as well.

From “Online Marketing for Your Local Business,” December, 2011, Paul Stevens, Bootstrap Books Publishing”


This entry was posted on September 7, 2015 and is filed under Improving Your Website, Keywords, SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Written by: . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.