Figuring out the best keywords for online advertising is a necessary part of running any business. Luckily, there are many tools you can use to figure out what search terms will take people to your site.
Let Google Do the Work
Google has many tools that can help give you a head start on keyword analysis, such as their Analytics program, the Sitemap Generator. In general, following the guide provided by the search engine giant will give you a good start to optimizing your site, not just for Google but also for other search engines like Bing and Yahoo.
However there is more to online advertising keywords than just these automated tools. Your customers are people, and people come up with the search terms that you might never expect when they're looking for your product.
Brainstorming Search Terms
Your best bet is to sit down with a group of friends - both those directly associated with your business and those who aren't - and play a game. The first part of this game is "Who are my competitors?" You may already know that - or you may google your own company product and find new competitors. Every person then will take each competitor's homepage and analyze it, pulling out key phrases and terms. When everyone compares their search terms, you can get a good idea of what the other people in your industry think are the attention-getting phrases.
This doesn't necessarily mean that you should use them. Remember that the objective in business is not just to keep up with the competition, but to surpass them. That's where the second part of the game comes in.
"What are the Customers Looking For?"
Whatever your business is, it is a fair assumption that you have something that you think your customers want. The reason you try to find the best keywords for online advertising is to help your potential customers find you so you can give them what they want. Unfortunately, you have very little control over what words they are using to look for your product - the best you can do is try to imagine what words they might use.As a group, you come up with a list of search terms - and this is why it's important to have people outside your company doing this as well. New potential customers may use words that you don't expect, and you want to catch them as well as the repeat customers that know the lingo.
With each search term or phrase, your team's first job is to run them through Google and other search engines and find out where on each page your website shows up. If it's high up - on the first three pages of results, at least - that's a phrase that is working for you. It may work better if you use it (and similar) keywords in your website copy, image tags, etc. In the case of a blog, using these high-ranking phrases in almost every entry is a good way to legitimately increase your site's ranking.
The other phrases aren't necessarily a waste, either. The fact that your team came up with them means they mean something to someone; the fact that they aren't high up in Google means that you may be able to quite cheaply purchase these phrases using AdWords. If you then use the same strategy as above - featuring the words and phrases in your blog - you will be increasing the value of those purchased terms.
Results Prove the Best Keywords for Online Advertising
In the end, it's results that count - not just the clicks and the visits but the closed sales that are the hallmark of return on advertising dollars. Most e-commerce setups not only process money but can also give you information on how the customer got to your site, what keywords were used to search, and what page led most quickly to that sale. It's not a one-time process - the best search words change all the time, and optimizing your site should be an ongoing part of running your business.