Understanding Keywords Aren’t Words

      3 Comments on Understanding Keywords Aren’t Words

paso robles social media marketing serviceA very, very common misconception I see about keywords is that they’re just words, when in reality, they are phrases.  It’s also important that they be consumer driven phrases because, after all, you’re trying to make money with your business, right?  I’ll use myself as the model here…

I offer businesses in Paso Robles social media marketing services.  That includes Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, WordPress, and LinkedIn training, writing, posting, blogging, SEO support, and other services.

Now, I could say I want “LinkedIn” as a keyword, but what would that get me?  Type it into Google and you’ll see LinkedIn.com as the first listing, of course! Then you’ll see their Twitter feed, Wikipedia article, apps, Google+ listing, and so on.  Do I, as one little person with one little website I manage myself stand a snowball’s chance at beating LinkedIn to be on the first page of the Google search results?  NO!  They spend thousands, possible millions, of dollars on marketing.

And on top of that, if I type “LinkedIn” into a search box, I’m probably looking for something other than social media marketing services in Paso Robles.  Right?

So let’s try again.  If I were to try “LinkedIn marketing Paso Robles” as my keyword and type it into a Google search, I’ll see local businesses in Paso Robles who offer social media marketing services.  Some are LinkedIn profiles, some are business pages, and one is even a Facebook Page for a Paso Robles advertising agency.  This is where I want to be – I’m looking at my competition.

Notice two very important things with this keyword:

  1. It’s a phrase with no commas to separate it. A mistake I see way too often is “LinkedIn, marketing, Paso Robles” which is basically telling Google I want “LinkedIn” as one keyword and “Paso  Robles” as another.  Now I’m competing with LinkedIn.com, Wikipedia, and the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce.  Not what I want.
  2. I’m keeping it local. Start out in your own pond.  You may have aspirations to be national, but unless you have the marketing budget to compete, pick one market/niche at a time.  For me, it’s a physical market, Paso Robles, but for you it might be something else.

The last important piece I mentioned earlier is ‘consumer driven.’  If I do a Google search for “Paso Robles,” I’m probably not looking to purchase social media marketing services.  More than likely, I’m looking for information or a vacation.


It can take time to refine your keywords to find just the right ones that convert your website visitors into profitable sales, so play with it.  Try to think about how you would shop for what you supply.  Ask friends and family to think about the same thing (everyone will have different ‘advice’ on how to work your SEO, but keep in mind you’re researching their shopping habits, not their opinion on how to run your website).  Then plug some of these different phrases into Google and see what other pages come up.  I might try “LinkedIn profile writing Paso Robles,” “LinkedIn profile authorship Paso Robles,” “LinkedIn marketing services Paso Robles,” or “LinkedIn expert Paso Robles.”  Some words will have more competition than others.  Remember you’re probably not going to beat Walmart; they simply have a much bigger marketing budget than you, but you can beat out a lot of local competition if you focus your efforts on about 10 strong keywords.

Now I don’t only help business owners in Paso Robles with their social media marketing, but I know that a concentrated effort in San Luis Obispo County is an achievable goal as I’m a big fish in a small pond.  Then, I’ll move on to a bigger pond and swim with the bigger fish.

Have more keyword questions?  Leave a comment or contact me!

3 thoughts on “Understanding Keywords Aren’t Words

  1. temptnutrition

    Thanks Lacey, good article. I am working on mine and think I am getting better. What do you think about Google’s keyword search tool?

    1. Lacey Clifton

      I really, REALLY miss their old keyword tool. The new one tries to force everyone into buying ads just to get the same information. I’m still working to find one platform to gather all of the data I used to get from Google. I’ll post when I find something I like.

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