Stop Being a Scaredy Cat When it Comes to Keyword Research: Get Off Your Badonkadonk and Select Keywords that Convert

keyword research for small business owners

Courtesy of Mokra

Before I begin, I wanted to tell you that the original title for this blog post was “Keyword Research Basics: Select Keywords That Will Convert.” Kind of boring though, right? I thought I’d rev it up a notch and used the title that you now see. I’d love to know which you prefer (let me know in the comments). Okay, on to the post…

I love speaking to people about keyword research. It’s a challenging topic to perfect to a science because every business is so different and keyword research is often subjective. BUT, keyword research is also a lot of fun (in my nerdy opinion).

Keyword research is the foundation of your SEO efforts. Pick the wrong keyword, and you’ll be led along on an SEO strategy that will never bring you any rewards. It’s critical you pick the right keyowrds to optimize on your web pages and blog posts.

Keyword Tip: Get Specific

So many people choose 1-2 word keywords, to their peril. 1-2 word keyword phrases are most of the time just too darn general, and extremely competitive for most small business owners with a limited SEO budget. Let’s take my  business, for example. What would be a good keyword?

  1. Writer?
  2. Copywriter?
  3. Atlanta Copywriter?
  4. Atlanta SEO Copywriter?

The first two are just way too general, the third – even though it’s only two words – is better because it targets a geographic location (“Atlanta Copywriter” is actually my primary keyword for my homepage) but the fourth keyword is my best converting keyword.

And right there is the reason we’re in this whole SEO thing to begin with. CONVERSION. Which keyword is going to bring you the most conversions? Not the most traffic per se, but the most conversions. For this blog post “conversion” means people who will type in a keyword, land on your site, and take your desired action. If you choose too general of a keyword, good chances are the person who lands on your site will hit the back button and find the more specific information they were looking for.

Keyword Phrases for Blog Posts vs. Website Pages

Most experts agree that long-tail keywords (5+ keyword phrases) convert very well. A few examples of long-tail keywords I pulled from my Google Analytics account include:

  • “best book on becoming a better storyteller in business”
  • “workshop in Atlanta for small business 2012”
  • “how to create a freelance copywriter website with WordPress”
  • “how to promote a service on LinkedIn”

But keep 2 factors in mind: long-tail keywords aren’t always appropriate for your website pages, and you can’t use more than 1 or 2 on a page because they will sound unnatural when used in the copy.

General vs. Specific Keywords: Where to Use Them

A good keyword research rule of thumb: you can be general on your homepage and about page (meaning general but PRACTICAL about which words you can realistically compete for to get to page 1 on Google), and more specific on your interior pages and blog posts.


  • Evaluate keywords based on more than traffic volume
  • Strongly consider which words will bring you conversions
  • Understand that “Babies,” “Bananas,” “Weight Loss” and “Writer” will never be your keywords

Do you have any questions about keyword research? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll get back to you.

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Jenny Munn

Jenny is an independent Digital Marketer and SEO Consultant with more than 10 years of experience helping companies and content creators generate brand awareness, traffic, and conversions with SEO. She is a frequent speaker and is on the faculty for the AMA (American Marketing Association) and has taught SEO to thousands of marketers over the past 10 years.
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  • Great article with really useful tips! I wasn’t familiar with the term long-tail keyword until this post. I really need to learn how to utilize my Google Analytics tools a lot better. I realize that I am not getting the most out of it.

    Atlanta Small Business Examiner /

  • Jen says:

    Thanks for your comment, Ashley! I love Google Analytics and am happy to show you a few tips and metrics if you ever need it. Great content on your sites by the way.

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