If you’ve ever tried to do SEO for your business, researched SEO, or even got a pitch from SEO magic optimization company, you’ve probably heard of KEYWORDS.
Keywords are these magic words that you put on your site and they will bring you traffic, money, and all of this magical fairy dust to your business. The good news is a lot of this is true, keywords do bring you all of this keyword greatness to your site and business. However, unfortunately, the bad news is so many people are doing them wrong that don’t get to see any of these great results.
But it’s not your fault, the traditional way of doing keyword research is all wrong and much more geared towards bloggers and SEO geeks who are happy to get any kind of traffic, this is not as effective for entrepreneurs and business owners who want traffic that is looking for their products and is ready to become fans and customers.
Most people will tell you to do keyword research like this:
- Think of some words you want to get found for
- Look up the search volume for these words in Google Keyword Planner (or if you’re fancy use uber suggest)
- If the volume is high, write a few blog post using the keyword
- Wait for the magic to happen.
Doesn’t this feel like a bad version of Jack and the Beanstalk?
There are major steps missing in this traditional scenario; like where should these keyword ideas come from, how do you know if it’s good traffic generating a keyword, how you should connect them to your business and products, and where should you use these keywords on your site and in your business?
So many questions most traditional keyword research strategies don’t answer. So I pulled together a new method to answer the questions and fill in the gaps for my business community.
Understanding the Keyword R.A.C.E. method.
In my book “My SEO Workbook” I introduced a new method for doing keyword research specifically with businesses in mind.
I call it the Keyword R.A.C.E. method. Finding the right keywords is like getting into multiple races to be number one, and using this method you can easily determine which race is worth running and which race is going to waste your time and effort.
Each letter represents a step in the process:
R- Roundup your keywords
The roundup step is where you gather words and phrases that could be your potential keywords. Unlike the traditional keyword research, you don’t start with just the words you think should be keywords but you research a number sources to find words that are associated with your business, your niche, and even your ideal customer. In the book I give 8 different ways to round-up some keywords, I recommend doing it at least 3-4 of the strategies so you’re getting a good diverse bunch of keywords to start the race with.
A- Analyze the keywords
Analyze step of the R.A.C.E. method is where you start getting some numbers and data to let us know these keywords are worth running for. In traditional keyword research search volume is the key data to determine if it’s a good keyword, here volume is only half the battle. During the analyze step we also take a close look at the competition for the keyword, you can have a great keyword with 10,000 searches per month but if everyone is trying to get that keyword you’ll struggle to get to number 1. This is like racing against Usain Bolt in the Olympics. In the R.A.C.E. method, we look at both search volume and the level of competition to determine which keywords to work with. DISCLAIMER: And not we DO NOT use Google Keyword Planner for any of this (I could write a whole other blog post on why you should ignore Google Keyword Planner)
Now, most traditional keyword research ends here, but as you know RACE has to more letters in it. This second half of the Keyword R.A.C.E. method if where it really gets specific to what makes this works for business owners. So if you’re an entrepreneur, boutique owners, CEO, or anyone else who wants traffic that actually helps your business now is the time to lean.
C- Connect the keywords with your business
The next step of the process is to make sure the keywords connect with your business. I’ve seen a lot of sites going for keywords that don’t work for what they want to sell and who they want to buy. I always tell the story of my Chevron Note Cards when I first started my greeting card site. I was ranking #6 for Chevron note cards in the first month. For most people, this would have been great news, but my cards are specifically for members of one organization and anyone who came to my site for just a chevron note card couldn’t buy my product. The keyword was good but didn’t specifically connect to the people I was trying to attract to my site, as a result, I had tons of traffic that I couldn’t do anything with. *facepalm*
E- Engage using the keywords
This is the last and simplest step of the R.A.C.E. method. With traditional keyword research you’re told to blog about the keywords and maybe use them here and there on your site, but with this advice is outdated and suggest you only talk to your ideal customer on one platform. We know that’s not true so with the R.A.C.E. method I encourage you to use the keywords throughout your business, social, and anywhere else you are engaging with your ideal target market. Consider this the practice and warming up for the big races in Google.
Using these 4 simple steps you’ll come out with keywords that are a lot more in tune to your business and that have a data and insight behind them so you know these keywords are going to have a better chance of bringing you all of the keyword magic you’ve learned about.
I’ve had clients like Ashley Pearson of http://www.ashleypagepearson.com (you can watch her full story here), use the race method to not only use the R.A.C.E. method for SEO but the process also helps her to find new ways to define her audience.
When going through the R.A.C.E. method I recommend getting the list down the 5 “golden keywords” and jump into those races those first, after getting good with the first 5 add 5 more. The goal in addition to being number 1 for individual words, is to be number one for multiple keywords and enhancing your chances of winning in the SEO race.
For more information and specific details and works sheets on using the Keyword R.A.C.E. method check out the book My SEO Workbook, chapter 5.