SEO for Small Business: Keywords

If you’ve read or heard anything about SEO, you know that keywords are a part of optimizing your content for search engines. In this article, we’ll discuss what keywords are, how to generate a great list of terms relevant to your small business, where to incorporate these keywords, and how to optimize your keywords over time.
What Is a Keyword?

A keyword is any term or string of terms that a consumer might use in a search query online. For a small business, these keywords will by necessity relate to the products and services your company provides, as well as the industry vertical your business belongs to and the location of your business.

For example, if you own a pizza shop in Chicago, some relevant keywords might be:

  • Chicago pizzeria
  • Pizza shop near Chicago, IL
  • Local pizza restaurant
  • Pizza in Chicago
  • Pizza delivery 60605
  • Etc.

How to Generate a List of Keywords for Your Small Business

Chances are, you already have a short list of keywords based on your website copy, business listings, advertisements, and other online content. If not, the best way to start is to think like a consumer. How would someone searching for your business try to find you online, and what words would they use to perform a search?

To research additional keywords, there are a number of tools you can use; one of the best (and free!) tools is Google AdWords. Even if you don’t plan to run an AdWords campaign, you can use the Keyword Planner tool to find new keyword ideas, see the projected web traffic associated with specific keywords, and get a sense as to how competitive specific keywords are.

For even more keyword ideas, you can also take a look at your competitors’ websites, blogs, and online ad campaigns to see what terms they’re targeting.

Keep in mind that the more widely-used a keyword is, the more competition you’ll have for that term, which means that it’ll take more work to appear on the front page of search results when a user searches for that keyword. It’s a good idea to have a mix of broad/higher-traffic keywords and more specific/smaller-traffic keywords; broad keywords will show up in more searches, but specific keywords will direct more relevant traffic to your site.

Incorporating Keywords Into Your Online Content

Now that you’ve developed a solid set of keywords for your small business, what do you do with them? Incorporate them consistently into your online content. Places to include keywords include:

  • In the HTML title tags on your business website (these will be different for each page)
  • In the main headlines (H1s) on your business website
  • In the text on your website
  • In your local business listings
  • In posts that you write for your small business blog
  • In your descriptions and posts on social media profiles

Search engines index content from all kinds of websites, including local business listings sites like Yelp, Foursquare, YellowPages, and social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. Using rich keywords on all of your online properties will help boost your search ranking and help people searching for businesses like yours to find you online.

Analytics and Keyword Optimization

You might think that once you’ve incorporated keywords into your online content, your job is done. Unfortunately, that’s not quite the end of the story. In order to improve your search ranking and get your business in front of more eyes, you need to look at your performance over time using Google Analytics and other analytics programs you have in place.

How often you review and update your keywords depends on your site traffic / activity, your schedule, and whether you’re running AdWords campaigns (in which case, you’ll probably be looking at data a lot more often than the average site owner).

The Bottom Line

In order to reach consumers online, your business website, local listings pages, and social channels need to incorporate the keywords they’re searching for. With a little research, some minor site updates, and analytics in place, you’ll be up and running with keywords in no time.

[News] Small Business Optimism Is on the Rise

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Economy News] Small Businesses Optimism Hits a 5-Year High

News Source: Fox News

The latest Wells Fargo / Gallup Small Business Index, which calibrates the overall outlook for small businesses in the US, has hit its highest level since 2008, indicating a renewed sense of optimism from small business owners.

The poll revealed an uptick in small businesses reporting a strong cash flow for Q1 and higher revenue projections for the next quarter after a consistent string of quarters with declining economic performance and stability.

Key Takeaway: Although the overall economy is still facing a variety of issues, the small business sector appears to be in a more stable economic state than it has in months past—a great reason to be optimistic about the future.

[Social Media News] 53% of Facebook’s Ad Revenue Now Comes from Mobile

News Source: TechCrunch

This week, Facebook announced that it earned 53% of its ad revenue from mobile ($1.37 billion of its $2.59 billion revenue) in Q4 of 2013. This surge in mobile ad revenue falls in line with Facebook’s growing mobile user base, which hit 945 million monthly active users in Q4.

Facebook’s mobile app install ads and mobile app reengagement ads have also contributed to increased earnings, allowing advertisers to reach users within mobile apps or driving them back to mobile apps they haven’t opened in awhile.

Key Takeaway: Facebook has often been accused of being late to the mobile game, but they appear to be making up for lost time and seeing a big returns for their efforts. The same goes for small businesses: If you haven’t already invested in a mobile presence for your business, now’s the time to do so! 

[Restaurant News] Fast Casual and Fine Dining Led the Way in Revenue Growth for 2013

News Source: Nation’s Restaurant News

A new report from The NPD Group released this week showed strong year-over-year growth for the fast-casual restaurant market sector in 2013, with an 8% increase in customer visits over a 12 month period.

The fine dining market also saw a 6% increase in traffic, while casual dining, midscale, and quick service restaurants saw flat or decreased visits during the same time period.

The data suggests that growth was fueled in great part by franchise expansions.

Key Takeaway: Diners are more and more frequently spending their dollars at fast-casual and fine dining establishments. For small businesses in these market segments, now is the time to capitalize on increased consumer interest by making sure your business information is easy for local searchers to find across the web.

Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know! 

How a Busy Marketer Stays on Top of Her Online Listings

Managing the online presence for a gourmet restaurant, a boutique bakery, and a premier wedding and event venue is a task that most people wouldn’t consider taking on.
But that’s the task Deena takes on every single day as marketing manager for a New Jersey-based hospitality company.

“As marketing manager, I’m responsible for maintaining the web presence for our company and its properties across a multitude of media outlets,” says Deena. “That includes keeping our website up-to-date, but also means interacting with our customers and making sure we are in all the places we need to be.”

According to Deena, the biggest challenge in taking on this impressive task is deciding how to manage her most valuable resource — time.

“Today, there are just so many places we need to be. Weaving through all these different platforms can be a huge time commitment,” says Deena. “As a company, we want to get the most from the work that we’re doing, but also don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to get our name out there.”

Deena was referred to SinglePlatform, a local business listing platform. She signed on hoping it would help put some time back into her busy schedule.

“I felt like we were doing a good job keeping up, but when we found out that there was a tool that looked easy-to-use and would let us update everything in one place, we decided to give it a shot,” says Deena.

Multiple properties, one platform

Working with a SinglePlatform success manager, Deena uploaded business details for the company’s restaurant, bakery and event venue—into SinglePlatform.

In addition to business information like name, hours, and location, Deena was able to upload menus for the restaurant and bakery, and a list of services offered at the event venue.

With SinglePlatform, Deena could publish this informaton across the SinglePlatform publisher network, including review sites, search engines, and mobile apps like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, and Urbanspoon.

“Being able to log in, update our menus, and see where our information is being distributed has been a huge time-saver,” says Deena. “I don’t have to go to each of these sites and update our information. I can do it once, and know that our menus are staying up-to-date.”

A tale of three venues

In addition to saving time and helping her take control of the information people are seeing when they view the properties online, Deena says that SinglePlatform offers a number of benefits for each venue.

For the restaurant and bakery, being able to have their menus accessible on mobile apps like Foursquare and Urbanspoon has given both locations an unexpected advantage.

“When people are on-the-go and they are looking for a place to eat in their area, they’re pulling out their phones and want to be able to look at menus on a mobile device,” says Deena. “For our restaurant and bakery, it’s so important that they’re able to find our menus and see what we have to offer because it can really make the difference when people are deciding where to eat.”

For the event venue, which hosts more than 100 wedding per year, Deena says that the tool has made it easier to promote everything that the premier wedding venue has to offer.

“For newly engaged couples, finding a venue for their wedding is one of the most important decisions they need to make,” says Deena. “We know that they will be searching online, wanting to see what each venue has to offer and will make their decision based on that.”

Continuing to grow with SinglePlatform

More than two decades after opening its first location back in 1992, Deena’s hospitality company continues to deliver outstanding experiences to every guest who eats in their restaurant, visits their bakery, or attends an event at their venue.

With this commitment to excellence and the right tools to help them get their name in front of their audience online, the company will continue to bring new customers through their doors for decades to come.

Want to learn more about how SinglePlatform can help your small business connect with consumers online? Check out our website.