How To Pick The Best Keywords For Your Website

Everyone’s heard of a keyword, but do you really know what a keyword is? In Episode 9 we’ll break down the definition of a keyword, and what that really means for you when it comes to getting traction in search engines like Google and Bing. We’ll also talk about how to use free Google tools to research keyword ideas, and how to choose the best keywords for your website.

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  • What is the working definition of a keyword
  • How many keywords you should focus on
  • How to pick relevant keywords
  • How to research for new keywords
  • Keyword research and discovery tools
  • Creative ways to uncover hidden keyword niches

Thanks for Listening!

Here is the transcription from Episode 9 – What Are Keywords and Choosing The Best Keywords For Your Website;

Jesse: You guys keep talking about keywords. What are they, and how do I even know what I
should be doing with that?

Hey, everyone. Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics. I’m Jesse Dolan, joined with Bob
Brennan, and just like each week, we’re here to share with you some tips and tricks to
help you grow your local service business online, and rank at the top of search engines.
This week, we’re going to be talking more about keywords. The last few episodes, we’ve
talked about how to build webpages, how to approach your website, and construct all
that, and we’ve probably referenced keywords as a phrase dozens, if not a hundred
times, and we definitely want to jump back into it for this week, and start talking about
what are keywords, just to make sure everybody really understands that, and really
flesh it out.

What we mean when we say keywords is, it’s whatever people are typing into Google,
to search for the products and services that you want to be found for. Think in previous
episodes, we’ve talked about oil changes, right, for a vehicle service station. If oil
changes, that’s two words. That’s a keyword. We use the phrase keyword very loosely. It
can be a phrase or words. A question we feel is, “How do I know what keywords to
pick?” You guys keep talking about keywords, what are they, and how do I even know
what I should be doing with that? Bob posed the question a few episodes ago, of how
many webpages does your business need on average, which is kind of an open-ended
question and answer there, that you can get.

Similarly, is, “How many keywords should I go after?”

For any given page, you want to go after one to two keywords, but for your site in
general and for your business, it’s whatever your products and services are. If we use
our example of the service center, if you provide oil changes, radiator repair,
transmission repair, those are all keywords. Now, any individual page on your website,
you’re going to want to focus on one of those phrases, or you can have a couple
variations in there about that, but at the end of the day, that’s what we’re talking about,
is one product or one service niche, and that in turn becomes the keyword that you’re
going after.

These keywords are going to have a lot of variations, could be plurals or even
misspellings, so, if you’re going to sit down and try to figure out, “What keywords should
I be putting on my website,” “What keywords do I want to focus on?”

First place to start, just start making a list of what it is that you sell, or what it is that you
service, and you’re going to have a great headstart on it.

What you don’t want to do is get trapped by the curse of knowledge. All of us in our
businesses, we have different phrasologies and keywords that we use to describe things.
That doesn’t mean that’s what the person on the other end of the keyboard is going to
be searching for–Joe consumers, so you want to make sure you take that into account.

Bob Brennan: Yeah, you know, recently we had, you’ve heard this in other episodes, but my furnace
went out, and when it’s twenty below it’s not a good thing. So I typed in heater repair,
where the industry person says “I work in the HVAC industry”. Now, inside the industry
you’re going to use the term HVAC, and you know maybe a lot of consumers are going
to use HVAC. I personally typed in furnace repair. So furnace repair is an example of
that. So, with your keyword search, basically, you know you want to be deliberate
about those specific search terms and how you go about doing that. So, linguistics is, I
guess, the phrase you want to study here and really kind of sit down and say “okay, how
would I phrase it, and then how would my clients phrase it?” Or, my – and you can
really get nitty gritty with this, depending on their income how they’re going to phrase
it. Not that you want to get into that, but in some situations you do because you want a
certain clientele.

Jesse: Absolutely, the more research and thought you can put into choosing these keywords is
going to be very important because this is what you’re crafting your message around.
This is what you’re intending to be found for. A good example of how to put that into
real world practice is, it’s all about context, so falling back onto your furnace repair, for
example, there’s furnace repair, there’s furnace service. I mean, what am I doing here?
Is it an emergency? Is it emergency furnace repair? Different words before and after
that core product or service that you’re wanting to promote definitely come into play
for who the person is, why they’re searching for it, and what their situation is.

Bob Brennan: And how you’re going to design your landing page. So, obviously in your furnace
example, if it’s furnace or emergency furnace repair, obviously that landing page better
to speak to hey, you’re going to be there on this with it, and that’s how your going to
craft that specific page.

Jesse: Going back to like we talked in previous episodes, about how to craft your webpage for
conversions. It’s one thing we want to pick our keywords and develop our pages to be
found in the search engines. Can’t overstate that enough.

Once somebody clicks on there, we want to turn that into business, so you’ve got to
speak to their context, using the words that they would use, using the phrasology and
the contextual situations that they’re in.

If somebody’s looking to make a decision right now, today, they better darn well be able
to contact you, and take that action, and you’ve got to be there to, of course, receive
that as well.

If you’re not conveying that, in this case, again, we’ll fall back on the emergency furnace
repair. If it doesn’t look like it’s fast service, or you’re not talking about a 24/7, or be
there in one hour, or things like that, even if you’re ranking high for that emergency
furnace repair, you’re not going to get that business, or at least the opportunity to get
that business without a phone call.

Take that into account if you’re sitting there thinking to yourself, “Well, geez. I’ve got
furnace repair. I could do emergency furnace repair, I could do fast furnace repair, I
could do 24/7 furnace repair, what do I pick?”

All of them. It would be the answer. As all of them, you can create multiple pages for
furnace repair. If you’re on your website, and at your main menu, you’ve got the
services you provide listed, your water heater repair, furnace repair, things like that, if
that’s what you do. You’re not going to want to have three different buttons, one that
says fast furnace repair, one that says 24/7 furnace repair, and one that says emergency
furnace repair. You’re going to want to pick one of those for the primary page that’s
listed on your website that people will navigate to. You can also create pages for those
other keyword phrases. Those won’t be found when people navigate your website, but
they will be found when they’re searching in the search engines.

I think the kind of progression we’re trying to at least stumble through, however
affectively we are here or not, is start with the products and services that you sell, that
you offer, and then you got to widen out from there. What specific brands are you
providing service on or you’re selling, what situation is the person on the other end of
the keyboard in, for some other phrasology they’re going to be using, an expedited
emergency next day, things like that.

You start mashing those things together, and one keyword can turn into a dozen or
multiple dozens of possibilities. You may even be thinking to yourself, “Well, it’s all
furnace repair.” It is all furnace repair, but people are looking for different things, and
just like we’ve talked in previous episodes, again, when we’re talking about these
keywords, you’re using these keywords in these phrases in your headlines, your images,
you’re saving your image files as you incorporating these keywords, the page text. You
want to have these keywords mixed in three to four times. You want the title of the
page, and the name of the page is incorporating these keywords. Again, you’re going to
have multiple versions of these pages, attacking a similar niche, like the furnace repair,
but don’t be afraid of that.

A little disclaimer here, too, if you have your base page furnace repair, and you want to
make nine variations of it, you can’t just copy and paste everything. You can’t duplicate
the content. That ain’t going to work. That’s going to sabotage everything. You want to
recreate those pages, but you can start with the same template.

Here’s the things I know I want to stress: how many technicians do I have, when am I
going to get there, how to make customers feel when I’m done with the service. You
want to relay those same things, but you’re going to have to craft some unique content
on each page to not be duplicating it, but you’re absolutely going to want to go after all
those different variations on the keywords.

Once you have got your complete list of what you refer to things as, what the industry
speak is, and what that voice of the customer is (or at least your best assumption),
before you go to town and create these pages, you’re going to want to go out and see
what is the most popular. Eventually, you’re going to want to optimize and go after all
these keywords, but if you only have so much time in the day, as we all do, you’ve got to
start somewhere, and where should you start?

In most situations, it’s going to be the most popular keywords. I can’t think of anything
offhand right now where you want to attack the lower than first, you usually want to go
for what’s the most popular. Whatever your strategy is going to be, the best tool out
there is the Google keyword research tool. It’s completely free, and you do have to sign
up for a Google ad words account for that. We’ll put a link in the show notes. The actual
URL for that is, and you’re going to go there. If you already have an
account, great, otherwise you got to sign up for an ad words account. If you’ve already
created, like we’ve talked in previous episodes, your Google mind business pages, use
that same Google login. Whatever your Google profile is for that, use the same thing,
but you got to go to, set up an account there.

Once you get in there, you go into the Google dashboard, there’ll be a little wrench, like
a tool, is what they’re trying to say. A little wrench icon up in the top right corner. Click
on that. Under the planning section, which is usually all the way to the left, you’re going
to look for the keyword planner tool. Click on that, and just start typing in some of your
keywords. If you already have a list, copy and paste them, or I believe they’re comma
separated, so you know, furnace repair, comma, heater repair.

Plug those in, and hit the button, and you’re going to be provided some feedback with
Google on what the popularity of these are. They’re going to show you how many
searches on average per month, based on the location that people are searching for, so
you’ll be able to compare these keywords that you’re trying to attack right next to each
other to find out what are the most popular. It’ll show you desktop searches, it’ll show
you by mobile searches, and then you can drill down by location, too, if you want to see
nationwide, go ahead. If you want to just look into your local market, you can drill down
to just that, too. We always say start by your own nationwide. I should back up on that,
as long as your product or service is applicable nationwide. Up here in Minneapolis,
Twin Cities area, we have furnaces. Not everybody-does everybody have a furnace?

Bob Brennan: Nah, probably…you know…

Jesse: I should back up before I say it, but…

Bob Brennan: Not everybody, you know, down south, they have heat exchangers. It’s not a full-blown
furnace, it’s kind of a hybrid type deal, but

Jesse: It’s some phrasology, depending on where you’re at.

Bob Brennan: That’s a good point.

Jesse: Right, so take that into account, but before you just jump in to say, “Oh, I want to look
into Minneapolis for how many people per month are searching for furnace repair,” we
caution you not to do that because as long as the demographics, I’m sorry, as long as
the geographic don’t take in too much consideration on what people are going to be
searching for. It’s better to get that wide volume. It’s better to get as many people in
your audience as possible to get the feedback and get this gauge. If you drill down onto
too small of a market, you might just be missing some of that.

Google doesn’t tell you exactly, “2,412 people searched for this.” They use round
chunks. They level them up. What you don’t want to do is drill down into a small
geographic zone and just have a bunch that sells 20 people a month. You really can’t
distinguish which keywords are more popular than others, so if you widen that audience
and just search by the whole United States if you can, you’re going to get a little more
variation in the popularity of those, and maybe a little more accurate read. If you do
that, and you feel you do need to be a little more relaxed for whatever your particular
product or service is, then drill down into your local market or a tighter zone and get
that feedback, but Google is going to show you all the terms, they’re going to show you
the popularity of them, and they’re also going to show you some recommendations, so
this is where you can say, “I’ve done all my research, I’ve racked my brain, and maybe
you’ve done the old deal where you’ve asked your relatives and your friends and people
what they might search for.

Google is going to give you that same kind of deal.

Bob Brennan: What I did just for the Twin Cities to, you know, for some of the stuff that we’ve done in
the Twin Cities is, I’ve taken a nationwide search, and for the Minneapolis/St. Paul area,
I applied a number of 1.8 percent. I believe in, and somebody can correct us on that, but
I did the math and took our metropolitan population, divided it into the nationwide
population, came back with that percentage, so if your city is big enough, or a
metropolitan area is big enough, you can kind of do the same thing. Take care of the
metropolitan population, divide it into again the nationwide population, and come up
with that percentage, and then apply it to the nationwide Google research.

You’ve got to be careful there, because you want to make sure it’s United States, not
North America. If it’s North America, it’s going to include Canada, our neighbors up
north. You know, that’s one way of coming up with a rough idea and there’s more,
numbers to it that we figure out, so what we try to do is obviously get to the top, and
then when we’re at the top, we understand that we should be getting a percentage of
that number. It gets funky, but it gives us some idea of how we’re tracking, how good
we’re doing, can we do more, can we convert more, can we get more calls, and
everything that goes with it.

Hopefully that helps you all out.

Jesse: If there’s a thousand people in your market searching for that term, and you’re just
getting no calls for it, you know, you check, you’re going to see you’re not ranking high
for it. If you’re ranking high for it, let’s say you’re in top spot, or top two or three spots,
for a term that is that popular, and you’re still getting no calls, that’s when you’re going
to want to go back and look at your conversion, the other pages, like what are you
saying, are people actually clicking on your link, and taking action or not. That does help
you get a gauge early on, again, that popular keyword.

You’re in the Google keyboard planner, doing this kind of research, you’re also going to
find on the left hand side, they have a little check box, so as you’re going through, it’s
going to show you what your keywords were. It’s also going to show you keywords that
are similar, according to Google, at least. We can sort them by popularity, so you can
look at the top down and you can get inspired with more ideas or more variations that
you need to go after, and then you can check mark the box on the left hand side and
you can actually download these as a CSV file, or as an Excel file, if you will. You don’t
have to copy and write all of these down. You can do the research, download it into a
spreadsheet. It’ll give you the searches, the number of searches, so you can have that
quantifiable information, and review it later.

The cool part is that you can do this multiple times. Let’s say you start with seven
keywords. You plugin your volumes, and get some recommendations for similar
keywords by Google, and maybe now you have a list of twenty keywords that you
download. You’re going to find that if you take those twenty keywords, start the process
over, plug those into Google to get the recommendations again, you’re going to open up
another set of keywords that Google didn’t provide you with before for
recommendations, because now they’re saying, “Okay, what’s similar to these twenty
keywords that you’re looking for,” where before they’re saying, “What’s familiar with
these seven?”

The more you can put in there, they begin to get more descriptive, drilling down. I
would give you the practice that we use of trying to group these. If we go back to our
company that we’re doing furnace repair on, if I’m doing research on keywords for
furnace repair, if I also do water heater repair, water heater installs, I’m going to do two
different searches on those. I’m not going to mash all those in together, because Google
is going to get a little confused on what it’s trying to give me for recommendations,
because I’m all across the board, so you may do this multiple times, trying to figure out
what kind of keywords you’re going to attack for your website, but that’s fine. This is
very valuable information. Don’t try to do it fast. This is an area that’s great to spend a
lot of time on, because you’re going to get exposed to things you didn’t even know of.
“That’s how someone searches for that product or service? What the heck. Whoever
does that?”

It’s pretty surprising, but you know what, you’d miss out on that, and if you don’t group
these into like phrases or like products or services, again, Google is not going to have
the brain power to figure out exactly what you’re trying to do. They’re going to give you
some superficial stuff, spreading pretty thin, and you’re just not going to get those deep
insights, so definitely take that. Again, it’s completely free. It is an ad words account, so
down the road, you’re already set up because you want to do some paper click stuff, but
you don’t have to be participating in ad words to use this tool. It’s free, and it’s right
there for you to use. There’s a lot of other tools out there, and you just Google, if you go
to Google (or any search engine), and you do a search for free keyword tool, you’re
going to get a ton of resources. There’s a lot of options out there.

At the end of the day, a lot of them draw this information from Google, and also, I
would rather get my information directly from Google, the one that we’re all doing the
searches in. I wouldn’t want to go to a third party for the best deals. There is some
products and services out there that say they’ll save you time, and help you make those
decisions, but as business owners, we know what we’re going after. Maybe down the
road, and you’re really hitting this, and you want to utilize a third party tool to help you
make these decisions, I think that’s great, but start off with going right to the horse’s
mouth on this. Get the research from Google, and use that as at least your first way of
what you’re going to implement.

One last thing we should note, that Google is going to show you in this, and even if they
don’t, something they can consider and challenge yourself with, is misspellings, and just
different ways people might say the same thing.

Bob Brennan: One example is countertops. Count on me, the dyslexic to give you insight on this, but
any rate, the countertop can be spelled two different ways. It can be one word:
countertop, as one word, and then there’s two words. Autocorrect will kill you doing
this, but you can play with that a little bit, or even research it yourself, doing various
searches to find out other examples. Every industry is a little different, how you spell it,
and another example… I use this a lot, but it’s crescent wrench, adjustable wrench,
monkey wrench, three different terms for essentially the same thing, depending on your
education level, your income level, and really, your geography–where you’re located.

Jesse: Slang terminology.

Bob Brennan: You get the general idea. You just want to know where you need to put a little bit of
thought into it, and apply those terms accordingly.

Jesse: If you’re not doing it, you’re going to be missing out on part of your audience. If you’re
just falling back on your conventions, and what you would call it, or what people in the
industry call it, that’s great. Go ahead and take that, but you’re going to be missing what
the people out there are actively searching for, and you can get this information on
what they’re actually typing in straight from Google.

Bob Brennan: I would throw this out, too. Don’t get overwhelmed by this. As we dive into the minutiae
of this, the important thing is get started. Get this stuff going, and then as you find time,
dial some of these tactics in there. You’re going to want to get started, go back and
listen to this a couple times, and say, “Okay. What did he say about this?”
We’re not trying to overwhelm you with information, we’re trying to get you to get
started, but then go back and dial it in a little bit.

Jesse: That’s a great point, Bob. You can make your page for furnace repair, and you’re good to
go. You got that up on your website, and you can come back later and figure out
variations, and tweak it from there. Even further, piggybacking on that, knowing this is a
one round deal.

If you do this, and you’re super rigorous, great. Come back next quarter, or seconds
later, and do the research again. Things change. There’s pop culture, there’s new
products or services that hit the market that change what people are referring to.
There’s another really cool tool put out by Google. It’s Google Trends, it’s called. It’s
actually at, and that’s going to show you what things are becoming
popular. You can literally see certain phrasologies that are taking off, and giving it a
hockey stick popularity. If there’s something in there that applies to your business,
you’re going to want to attack that, and get out there in front of everybody else, and
lead the pack.

We can wrap up this week, and what Bob said. Don’t be intimidated. Take action, revisit
it, and have this be something that you’re really doing over and over. It’s not a one and
done deal. That’s how you’re going to stay on top, and stay ahead of the competitions.
As always, drop us a line on the show page, We’d love to hear what
you think, and until next week. See you next week.

Hey, Jesse Dolan again, with you. Sharing another five star review that we got. This one
here, Jackie Bernardi says, “Yes. This!” And two, I’m sorry, three exclamation marks.
Thanks for that, Jackie. She says, “Local SEO can be so challenging. I have so many
clients that need this information. I’ll be sharing this podcast with all of them.”
Jackie, we really appreciate that. You’re right, local SEO is challenging. We have lots of
clients ourselves, and we’re putting this show together to share this knowledge. We
hope we’re breaking this down in nice, bite-sized chunks that anybody can take
advantage of, so, absolutely love it. Thanks for the great review. Everybody else, if you
want to leave us a review, we’d love to hear it. You can go out to
That’s going to bring you over to Itunes, and you can leave us a review. Let us know
what you think. If you’re liking it, we’d love to hear it.

I also wanted to mention again as we talked about in the show, definitely take
advantage of our free SEO audit. Go to, click on the button for the free SEO
audit. It takes about fifteen seconds. It’s going to show you the good, bad, and the ugly
with your website. You just plug in your page, put the keyword you want to be found
for, and what you want to analyze against, and it’s going to give you a great report with
a checklist of things that you got to take care of, scores and grades for each critical of
the SEO, and you can use it as many times as you want. That’s also going to email you a
PDF of that report, too, instantly. Check it out. You got some comments you want to
leave us, go to, and let us know what you think, or if you want us to
tackle a topic in a future episode. See you guys next week.

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