The typical process that an SMB will go through when building an online marketing campaign usually begins with defining their target audience, performing keyword research, analyzing which words bring the most traffic and conversions, and utilizing keyword research tools such as Keyword Discovery.
Upon taking these steps, SMB owners will wait to see their results on search engines, make the necessary tweaks, and eventually reach a higher position in online search results.
If you do your homework, the process seems fairly straightforward. Here’s an example of a plumber in Chico, CA who comes up #1 on Google:
We found Earl’s Performance Plumbing on page one for 15 relevant keywords:
It looks like Earl is doing a fantastic job. But one has to remember that it’s important not only to rank #1 but to rank #1 for the right keywords. As Stoney G. deGeyter said, “All search terms are not created equal.”
One great way to check if you’re missing critical keywords is, as Mike Moran suggests, by comparing against your successful competitors’ keywords.
To help facilitate this effort, we released a new data version for a couple million businesses in the southwest on AmIVisible, showing which keywords their competitors come up for but they do not.
We looked at all of Earl’s competitors in Chico (about 100, across 8 categories) and found the following keywords that Earl’s competitors came up for but he did not:
This is quite an eye opener. While some of these missing keywords may not be relevant for Earl, others certainly are. For example, he comes up for “sewer” and “plumber”, but he does not come up for “sewers” or “plumbing services.”
Even a business like Earl’s Performance Plumbing, which comes up #1 on Google for several keywords, should not be complacent about their online presence. Whether you resort to using a monitoring service or tool, or do it yourself manually, you should always remember to check results against your competitors to be sure that you’ve got all your bases covered.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.