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Keywords for Small Business Owners

Updated: Feb 2

keywords for small business owners

Understanding the Importance of Keywords

In today's digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for small businesses and entrepreneurs. One of the key elements that contribute to your online success is the strategic use of keywords or small business SEO. Keywords are the foundation of search engine optimization (SEO) and play a significant role in driving organic traffic to your small business website, increasing visibility, and attracting potential customers. In this post, we cover how small business owners can pick the right keywords as part of their SEO strategy to generate awareness, quality traffic and visitors to their website.

Key Takeaways:

  • Keywords are crucial for enhancing online visibility and driving targeted traffic to your website

  • Different types of keywords, such as broad match, exact match, phrase match, modified broad match, and negative keywords, serve different purposes and should be used strategically

  • Long-tail keywords can be highly effective for small businesses, targeting specific niches and attracting qualified leads

  • Understanding search intent helps align your content with user needs, providing relevant and valuable information

  • Keyword research tools and customer feedback are valuable resources for identifying relevant keywords

  • Optimizing meta tags, content, and image tags with keywords improves search engine visibility

  • Regular monitoring and refinement of your keyword strategy are essential for ongoing success.

How Keywords Impact Your Online Presence

Keywords act as the bridge between what users are searching for and the content you provide. By incorporating relevant keywords throughout your website, blog posts, and online advertising campaigns, you can improve your search engine rankings, enhance the visibility of your business, and ultimately drive more targeted traffic to your website. Understanding the different types of keywords and how to effectively use them will empower you to reach your target audience and achieve your business goals.

If you want to dig deeper into SEO check out my interview with Karen Kelly from K2 Performance Consulting.

What Are Keywords?

Definition and Meaning

Keywords are specific words or phrases that reflect the main topics, themes, or ideas of your content. They are the terms that users enter into search engines when looking for information, products, or services. By strategically selecting and incorporating relevant keywords, you can increase the likelihood of your content appearing in search engine results pages (SERPs) when users search for those specific terms.

The Role of Keywords in Search Engines

Search engines like Google rely on keywords to understand the content and purpose of web pages. When a user enters a search query, the search engine matches those keywords with the indexed web pages and displays the most relevant results. By optimizing your content with targeted keywords, you can signal to search engines that your website is a valuable resource for users searching for related information.

Why Keywords Matter for Small Businesses

For small business owners and entrepreneurs, keywords can be a game-changer. They allow you to connect with potential customers actively searching for the products or services you offer. By understanding the language and phrases your target audience uses when searching online, you can align your content with their needs, increase your online visibility, and ultimately drive more qualified leads to your website.

Types of Keywords

Broad Match Keywords

Broad match keywords are not specified with any additional symbols or modifiers. They are entered as plain text and can trigger ads or search results for a wide range of related terms. For example, using the keyword "shoes" can trigger results for various types and brands of shoes. While broad match keywords have the potential to reach a larger audience, they may also generate less targeted traffic, and your ads or content may appear in irrelevant searches. As a small business owner, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons of using broad match keywords to ensure they align with your goals and budget.

A broad keyword term for a post like this one would be: keywords



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Exact Match Keywords

Exact match keywords are enclosed in square brackets, such as [running shoes]. They are used to target specific search queries or to match an exact phrase. By using exact match keywords, you can enhance the relevance of your content and ads to the user's search intent. This focused approach increases the likelihood of attracting highly qualified leads and driving conversions. However, it's important to consider that using exact match keywords alone may limit your reach, as you won't appear in searches that deviate even slightly from the specified phrase.

An exact match keyword for this post is: [keywords for small business].

Phrase Match Keywords

Phrase match keywords are enclosed in quotation marks, like "red running shoes." They are used to target search queries that include the exact phrase or a close variation of it. Ads or search results triggered by phrase match keywords may include additional words before or after the specified phrase. This approach provides a balance between reach and specificity, allowing you to target a broader audience while still maintaining relevance.

A phrase match keyword for this post is: "keywords for small business"

Modified Broad Match Keywords

Modified broad match keywords include a plus sign (+) in front of one or more words within a keyword phrase. For example, +men's +shoes. The plus sign indicates that those words must be present in the search query or closely related variations for the ads or search results to be triggered. Modified broad match keywords allow you to fine-tune your target audience and maximize relevance. By specifying key terms within the keyword phrase, you can attract users who are more likely to be interested in your offerings.

Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are prefixed with a minus sign (-), such as -free. They are used to exclude specific terms or phrases from triggering ads or search results. For instance, if you are advertising shoes but don't want to target searches related to "free shoes," you can add -free as a negative keyword. This ensures that your budget is not wasted on irrelevant clicks or impressions, and you can focus on attracting users who are more likely to convert into customers.


Long-Tail Keywords

Defining Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are typically longer and more specific keyword phrases, usually consisting of three or more words. They are highly targeted and often have lower search volume but higher conversion rates. For example, "best running shoes for flat feet" is a long-tail keyword. While long-tail keywords may not attract as much traffic as broader keywords, they allow you to target a niche audience and compete effectively against larger businesses with broader keyword strategies.

Benefits for Small Businesses

Long-tail keywords offer several advantages for small businesses. They help you capture highly specific search queries, target users who are closer to making a purchase decision, and stand out in a crowded online marketplace. As a small business owner, focusing on long-tail keywords allows you to optimize your resources and improve your chances of connecting with the right customers.

Finding and Implementing Long-Tail Keywords

To find relevant long-tail keywords, consider using keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Moz Keyword Explorer. These tools provide insights into search volume, competition, and related keywords. Additionally, conduct market research, listen to customer feedback, and analyze your competitors to identify specific pain points or niche areas you can address with your content.

When implementing long-tail keywords, ensure that they are naturally incorporated into your website's content, meta tags, headings, and image alt tags. Avoid overstuffing keywords, as it can negatively impact user experience and search engine rankings. Aim to create high-quality, informative, and engaging content that satisfies the user's search intent while naturally integrating your chosen keywords.

Understanding Search Intent

The Significance of Search Intent

Search intent refers to the underlying motive or purpose behind a user's search query. By understanding the search intent, you can tailor your content to provide the information or solutions users are seeking. Aligning your content with user needs not only improves user experience but also increases the likelihood of attracting and retaining visitors on your website.

Four Types of Search Intent

  1. Informational Intent: This is when a visitor is looking for more information on a particular topic. They might use search terms like "what is...", "how to...", or "definition of...".

  2. Navigational Intent: This is when a visitor is trying to get to a specific website or page. They might search for the name of a website, a brand, or a specific service.

  3. Transactional Intent: This is when a visitor is ready to make a purchase or perform an action online. They might search for specific products, services, or use terms like "buy", "order", "book", etc.

  4. Commercial Investigation: This is when a vistory is looking to make a purchase in the near future and is comparing options. They might use terms like "best", "top", "review", "compare", etc.

Here's a chart version for you to refer to:





Visitor is looking for more information

​"What is AI?", "How to bake a cake?", "Definition of quantum physics"


Visitor is trying to get to a specific website/page

​"Facebook login", "OpenAI website", "New York Times articles"


Visitor is ready to make a purchase or perform an action

​"Buy iPhone 13", "Order pizza online", "Book flight to Paris"

​Commercial Investigation

​User is comparing options for a future purchase

​"Best smartphones 2023", "Top 10 laptops", "Compare electric cars"

Aligning Content with User Needs

To align your content with user needs, it's important to analyze the search intent behind specific keywords. For example, informational keywords indicate that users are seeking answers or information, while transactional keywords suggest an intent to make a purchase. By creating content that matches the search intent, you can address user queries effectively and position yourself as a reliable source of information or solution provider. There are four

Creating Engaging and Relevant Content

When crafting content, focus on providing value to your target audience. Use keywords strategically to optimize your content for search engines, but ensure that the content remains informative, engaging, and relevant. Incorporate keywords naturally within headings, subheadings, and throughout the body of the text. This approach not only satisfies search engines but also enhances the user experience, encouraging visitors to spend more time on your website and increasing the chances of conversions.

Keyword Research

Tools for Keyword Research

Several tools can assist you in conducting keyword research effectively. Google Keyword Planner is a popular and free tool that provides insights into search volume, competition, and keyword suggestions. SEMrush and Moz Keyword Explorer are also valuable tools that offer more comprehensive keyword data, including competitor analysis and long-tail keyword suggestions. Experiment with different tools to find the ones that best suit your needs and budget.

Identifying Relevant Keywords

To identify relevant keywords, start by understanding your target audience. Consider their demographics, interests, and pain points. Put yourself in their shoes and think about the words and phrases they are likely to use when searching for products or services similar to what you offer. Additionally, analyze the keywords used by your competitors to gain insights into effective keyword choices. Gathering customer feedback through surveys or social media interactions can also provide valuable keyword ideas.

Incorporating Keywords

On-Page SEO Optimization

On-page SEO optimization involves optimizing various elements on your website to improve search engine visibility. Incorporating keywords is an essential aspect of on-page SEO. Optimize your page titles, meta descriptions, and URL structures by including relevant keywords. However, prioritize readability and avoid keyword stuffing, as search engines value user-friendly content.

Optimizing Meta Tags and Descriptions

Meta tags, including meta titles and meta descriptions, play a crucial role in attracting users to click on your search results. Incorporate relevant keywords naturally in these tags while ensuring they accurately reflect the content on the page. A well-optimized meta description can entice users to click through to your website, increasing your organic traffic.

Keyword Placement in Content

Strategically place keywords throughout your content, primarily in headings, subheadings, and the first paragraph. However, ensure that the content flows naturally and remains informative and engaging for readers. Search engines value high-quality content that addresses user needs, so focus on providing value rather than solely optimizing for keywords.

Image and Alt Tags

When adding images to your website, optimize them by including descriptive file names and alt tags. Alt tags are essential for accessibility and provide an opportunity to incorporate relevant keywords. Describe the image accurately while including relevant keywords where appropriate, but avoid keyword stuffing.

Monitoring and Refining Keyword Strategy

Tracking Keyword Performance

Regularly monitor and analyze the performance of your keywords. Use tools like Google Analytics or other SEO analytics platforms to gain insights into keyword rankings, organic traffic, and user behavior on your website. Identify keywords that are driving significant traffic and conversions, as well as those that may require adjustments or replacements.

Analyzing Metrics and Data

Leverage the data provided by analytics tools to refine your keyword strategy. Analyze metrics such as click-through rates (CTR), bounce rates, and conversion rates to understand how users are interacting with your website. Identify patterns, trends, and opportunities for improvement to enhance your keyword targeting and content optimization efforts.

Adjusting Keyword Strategy as Needed

SEO is an ongoing process, and keyword strategies should be regularly reviewed and adjusted. Stay updated with industry trends and changes in user behavior. Adapt your keyword strategy accordingly to ensure you remain competitive and effectively target your audience. Experiment with new keywords, test different approaches, and refine your content to maintain relevance and drive organic traffic to your website.


The Power of Keywords for Small Business Success

Keywords play a vital role in the online success of small businesses and entrepreneurs. By understanding the different types of keywords, aligning your content with user needs, conducting effective keyword research, and optimizing your website, you can improve your online visibility, attract qualified leads, and drive conversions.

Taking Action: Implementing Keywords in Your Business Strategy

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, it's essential to prioritize keyword research and optimization in your digital marketing strategy. Invest time in understanding your target audience, their search behavior, and the language they use. Incorporate relevant keywords strategically throughout your website and content, while focusing on providing valuable and engaging information to your visitors.

Remember that SEO and keyword strategies require ongoing effort, monitoring, and refinement. Stay up-to-date with industry trends, analyze data, and adapt your keyword strategy as needed. By effectively utilizing keywords, you can establish a strong online presence, attract the right customers, and achieve long-term success for your small business or entrepreneurial venture.

Note: This guide provides a general overview of keywords and their importance for small businesses. Further research and tailored strategies are recommended for individual business needs and goals.

About the Author

Chris Herbert spearheads Mi6 Agency, emphasizing small business growth and entrepreneurship. On the agency's blog, he offers practical marketing insights and solutions to unique challenges faced by businesses. Herbert advocates for sustainable and responsible growth. His "Rural Entrepreneur Podcast" extends this mission, providing essential advice and experiences for entrepreneurs. He adopts a comprehensive approach, focusing on building sustainable businesses, community engagement, and active participation in entrepreneurial ventures.

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