We know that running a small business is seriously hard work. If you have a bricks-and-mortar component to your business, it’s that much more complicated and challenging. That’s why it’s critical to get more clients and customers coming through the door.

It’s also far too easy to rest on your laurels and say, “We have a fabulous loyal customer base so we don’t really need to do much marketing.”But, the reality is that you have to constantly be creating new opportunities for potential customers to find you, get to know you and eventually, if all goes well, become your loyal customers.

On top of everything else that you do to keep your business running smoothly and customers happy, you have us whispering (okay, we’re kind of yelling) in your ear that keeping your website current has to be a part of any digital marketing plan. It’s important to keep plugins and themes up to date, change up content and images and keep your site engaging and alive. It’s also important to evaluate and update your site to maximize for search engine optimization (SEO.)

Whether you just need to tweak things a bit or you have never engaged in SEO, there is one very simple and budget-friendly way to improve your site’s search results.

Drumroll, please…………the answer is relevant SEO keywords.

Keywords are the main search terms potential clients use to search for businesses like yours. When choosing keywords, it’s important to think like the customer and not like someone who already knows who you are and what you do.

In other words, let’s say you run a bakery called “Sugared Inspirations”in Boston, Massachusetts. (I made that business up so if you actually own a business with this name, here’s some awesome free advice) If a potential new customer, who has never heard of you, is looking for a place to buy cupcakes in Boston, they are more likely to search for “Boston bakery”or some variation of that rather than searching for “Sugared Inspirations”. (Not because it’s not a fabulous business name but because they’ve haven’t heard of you…yet.)

If you are the only game in town, you shouldn’t have much trouble showing up well in search results for the desired search terms. However, if there are dozens of competitors in your area, you may have a more difficult time ranking high (showing up close to the top) for certain, popular search terms (keywords).

To continue with our bakery example, I’m not sure of the exact number, but I feel pretty safe saying that there are, to use a technical term, “lots”of bakeries in the Boston area so you have some competition, which means that you are competing with all the other bakeries for high rankings when someone searches “Boston bakery”so it’s a good idea to look at some secondary phrases with shared terms. In this case, it might look like “Boston baked goods”, “Boston cupcakes”, or“cupcake bakery Boston”.

Having trouble thinking of keywords for your business? Here are 4 tips that will help get your creative juices flowing.

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1. Think about the problem you solve. Potential customers are very likely to search based on a problem they are trying to solve. Including keywords about around these problems will help you show up in these searches

2. Think about your solutions. Related to point one, you should also include keywords for the solutions to the problems you solve.

3. Don’t forget where you are. If you are a local business, you will want to make sure you are optimizing (using keywords) for your city, neighborhood, county, or state depending on the geographic location you serve. Online or national businesses will not be as concerned with location and may choose to skip these location-based keywords.

4. Get more specific. Usually, the longer the search term, the more qualified the prospect so don’t be afraid to go for a few longer (long-tail) keywords. Using our bakery example, a long-tail keyword search might be “best wedding cupcakes Boston North End”. You can see how the details in this search would make this person a better prospect or potential customer for your business.

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Once you have these keywords you will want to place them on your website. Ideally, you will only focus on 1 – 2 keywords per page. Just make sure you are not keyword loading and be sure to write for the humans reading your website, not the bots.

If you need more help, feel free to reach out to us. You can alsocheck out these free keyword research ebooks from Copy Blogger for more information on keywords.