Small business Keyword Planning

SEO Basics for planning new website

Small Business Keyword Planning

So I am looking at building a brand new website for family member that has recently started a new small business. As part of creating a plan for building a new website I wanted to learn more about Keyword Planning to ensure I build the right content that connects with what customers are searching for. This involved extending my knowledge of SEO and the starting point is Keyword research. Here I share my initial experience of Keyword Planning and research.

SEO basics

Through building my portfolio site I have learnt a few tips for onpage SEO including performance optimisation, making the site SSL secure , search engine friendly and of course the Yoast plugin.  The major reason for building a new website for a small business is so it can be seen by a larger audience, and hopefully generate new sales. People use search engines to find businesses they are looking for. The process of finding out the words and phrases that people are using to find a particular business is called Keyword Research or Keyword Planning.

SEO learning

Keywords are so important for a new website because they connect what people are searching for and the content of the website. Its important to try to understand how your customers will search for you. I used the following sites to get started on SEO basics and keyword planning.

Google Keyword Planner

From my research the most popular tool to use is Googles Keyword planner. Although I had never previously used the tool its seems that it had changed the way you access it over the past few years. This is where I managed to waste a couple of hours trying to gain access to the planner, without having to fork over cash!

Accessing Googles keyword planner is via Adwords (however this is about to change to Google Ads this coming week). You will need to have a google account to access it. This is where the problem came for me – I used my main google account to access AdWords and it effectively was forcing me to take out an Ad Campaign (asking for credit card details) before I could get access to their Keyword Planner. All of the research (as mentioned above – and others) indicated you should be able to access the planner for free. Eventually I found someone who had posted that he had similar trouble to me and had found that it was because he had linked a website to his account (which I have also done). Creating a brand new google account (without a website attached to it) avoids this problem! Once I created the new account I was able to gain access to the planner and follow the recommendations of Using Google Keyword Planner and build up a list of keywords and keyword phrases for the new website I will hopefully be building in the near future.

Further Research and Content Ideas

Through the keyword research and planning I was able to find a few websites of what I believe would be competitors for the new site. These sites had varying degree of quality. From those sites and my experience so far in building web content I started to build up a list of ideas for web content to also propose through the consultation process. This list would obviously vary based on the type of business, budget, competition and requirements. In my particular case the ideas include the following:

Initial Questions for New Website

Having only had a brief discussion with small business owner, I decided to build up a plan for an initial consultation process. Hopefully this will be the starting point of a structure for building initial meeting plans for other new site. The main part of this plan is questions. The following is a list of questions to start with:

  1. Fundamental Questions
    Why do you want a website?
    What is the most important thing you want from your website?
    Why is that the most important reason?
    Who are you competing with?
  2. Your Audience
    What are the type of customers you want to attract?
    How will they go about finding you?
  3. Site Questions
    What are the main things you want your customers to be able to do on your website?
    Show me 2-3 websites that you like the design of. What is it that you like about them?
    Show me competing type sites – what do you like and don’t like?
    When do you need it by?
  4. Specifics
    Business name and Domain Name?

Where to now?

Will need to setup a meeting and run through my plan (which is still building) with the business owner. This will need to refine (or potentially restart) my Keyword research, as it depends on who their target audience is. I have made some assumptions on this and hopefully I am not too far off. I will post again once I get past this initial stage and on to the development planning.