Maybe you have heard the word keyword thrown around some. Do you really know why they are useful and what they do? In this article I will show you why you need keywords, how to find great keywords, and what to do with keywords. More specifically, you will learn how to find the best lawn care keywords.
So, what is a keyword? A keyword is basically a word or phrase that search engines and other parts of the web use in order to tell what the content is about. For example, let’s say you write an article on “what type of grass to use for your property” and your keyword is “type of grass.” First off, it is good that you have the keyword in the title. You will also want it in the URL. Lastly, you want the the keyword in the article roughly 2% of the time.
This will allow the search engine crawlers to easy tell that your article is about types of grass. Then, when someone searches for types of grass your article will be show in the search results.
Please do keep in mind that there are many other factors that come into account for search engines choosing where to rank your article. This only gives your article a chance to be ranked on search engines.
Formula for Lawn Service Keywords
I am going to keep this formula very simple. This top secret formula is “Service + Location.” Simply determine all of your services and all of your locations. When you list your locations make sure to use “city only,” “city + state,” and “zip code.” If you provide service to more than one area be sure to include each service with each different location.
Here are some examples keywords:
- Lawn service columbia sc
- Lawn service columbia
- Lawn Service 29201
- Landscaping columbia sc
- mulch columbia
- pine straw 29201
- Bush trimming columbia
- Sod installation blythewood sc
- irrigation 29223
- irrigation columbia sc
Okay, I think you get the point. With your company you should list out all of your services like the first three examples (including all three location types). This formula is only a starting point for keywords.
One great keyword suggestion tool for getting ideas is ubersuggest. Simply type your keyword into the search bar and it will provide you with a list of relative keywords. From there you can click on the keyword and search it in Google, Search it in Google Trends, or Expand the keyword. Expanding the keyword will generate suggestions off of that keyword.
I will now explain the process for finding and narrowing down your keywords. Keep this formula in mind during the “Generate a List of Keyword ideas” part of the process.
Let’s get started…
Process for Finding Best Lawn Care Keywords
This process includes six steps. To start off you should try to keep these steps as simple as possible. You don’t need to purchase and software to begin. Down the road, it may save you time to invest in a software.
Below I will explain how to perform each step and include both free and paid tools to use. Please keep in mind that all SEO work can be done without tools. They only speed up the process.
One thing that you should keep in mind while doing keyword research is the main reason you’re doing it. At the end of the day keyword research is about finding the keywords you’re potential clients are going to type into search engines. That’s it! Answer the question: if I were purchasing “insert your service” what would I type into Google?
On to step 1…
1) Determine Your Current Keywords
The first step is a rather simple and straight forward one. You want to begin by determining your current keywords you are ranking for. There are a couple different ways to do this. I am going to explain a free and paid (well partially free) version.
Before I begin let me clear up something. You may be wondering why you need to figure out what your current keywords are. I know when I first started learning SEO I thought “well if I’m already ranking for a keyword, why would I add that to my keyword list.” Actually, you want to add these keywords to your list because you want to rank higher for these keywords. PLUS it is easier to rank higher with a keyword you are already ranking for than a keyword that you’re not.
Google Webmaster Tools
You probably guessed the first free tool would be Google. Begin by visiting your Google Webmaster Tools. Click Search Traffic -> Search Analytics. Now you will see a graph appear and a long list under that. This list will look something like the image below.
The list that appears underneath the graph is all of the keywords that your website is ranking for. You want to use any of the keywords that fit the formula. Looking at the above picture… “landscaping blythewood sc,” “pine straw columbia sc,” “lawn service blythewood sc,” etc.
SEMRush is a great SEO tool that I highly recommend. The free version is very limited so I think the paid version is definitely worth it (starts at $69.99 per month). From the SEMRush homepage, type in your URL. Then click Organic Research -> Positions -> “top organic keywords”.
This will display all of the keywords that your website is ranking for (I believe the free version shows 10). Just like using Google, use the keywords that follow the formula.
Note: The links above ARE affiliate links and I receive a small commission. If you would like to get SEMRush without helping to fund my coffee addiction go to www.semrush.com!
2) Steal Competitor’s Lawn Service Keywords
One easy way to find keyword ideas is by “stealing” competitors’. You can do this by using a couple tools. The benefit of this is the competitor is already ranking for that keyword so you know you’re capable of ranking for it. All you have to do is outrank your competitor… that’s the name of the game.
Before diving into finding your competitors’ keywords you must determine who your competitors are. I simply do this by typing in one of my top keywords into Google. Lets say I use ‘lawn service columbia sc’. I would then choose the top three ranking companies.
Notice in the image below I choose the three companies. Ignore directories like thumbtack, homeadvisor, etc. Use these as your competitors. Once you have your competitors website’s you want to find there keywords.
Google Keyword Planner
The first tool is Google’s Keyword Planner. This is a great free tool but is a little limited because it pulls all of the keywords related to the website. Not necessary the one’s they are using or ranking for. However, this can still be valuable information and a good starting point if you don’t want to spend money.
Just type the competitor’s site into the keyword planner and use keywords that are relevant to your company.
This tool is great for researching competitors’ keywords. The free version is once again limited so I recommend the paid. This can get you started though.
From the SEMRush homepage type in your URL. Then click organic research -> competitors. This page will show a list of all the competing websites. Simply click on any of the websites and view their ‘Top Organic Keywords’.
SpyFu is similar to SEMRush because it has a limited free version and a great paid version. For the free version type in your competitors URL and click ‘Organic Keywords’. This will show a list of all the keywords that site is ranking for. You may also click ‘Paid Keywords’. This will show the keywords the site is using on pay per click campaigns. Even though you’re not running Google AdWords, the keywords can still be helpful.
3) Generate a List of Keyword Ideas
Now you should have a solid idea of the keywords you want to use. The easiest free way to do this is by creating an excel spreadsheet. You will want to have the following categories: keyword, search volume, and keyword difficulty.
I would recommend starting with at least 50 solid keywords to work with. In the final step we will narrow this list down but you can never have enough keywords. However, make sure they are relevant to your company.
4) Determine the Search Volume
Search volume is exactly what it sounds like. It is the amount of times a given keyword is searched per month. A keyword that no one is searching for is pointless. So you want to make sure you are actually using words and phrases that people are searching for.
There are two tools I recommend for finding the search volume of a keyword, Google Keyword Planer and SEMRush.
For Google Keyword Planner it will say ‘Avg. Monthly Searches’. This is exactly what it sounds like… the avg. amount of times a keyword is searched for in Google. Since Google is the most used search engine this is will give you a good idea of whether or not a keyword is worth ranking for.
SEMRush’s search volume can be found under ‘Volume’. The same concept applies as the Google Keyword Planner. However, this tool is a little more accurate because it takes into account all of the search engines.
Once you find all of your keywords search volume record it in your excel spreadsheet.
5) Check the Keyword Difficulty
The keyword difficulty will determine how difficult it will be to rank for a keyword. You can use SEMRush and Google’s Keyword Planner for this as well but know that you can also do this manually. I actually prefer to manually check how difficult it will be to rank for a keyword because it is the most accurate.
You can do this by Googling your keyword. Copy the competitor’s website. Then visit Moz and Majestic to determine the website backlinks, trust flow and citation flow. If the backlinks are low it won’t be very difficult to rank for. I also like the trust flow and citation flow to both be under 30.
You can also find keyword difficulty either through Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush. Even though it isn’t quite as accurate they do provide valuable information. Just be sure that you know how to do it manually and not solely rely on tools for SEO.
SEMRush’s version will be found under ‘KD’. This is a scale of 1-100 (1 being easiest and 100 being most difficult). The Google Keyword Planner will be found under ‘Competition’. This is on a low, medium, and high scale. Notice that is a very broad scale.
Once you have a the keyword difficulty record it in your excel spread sheet.
6) Narrow Down Your Keyword List
Now that you have your full list of keywords including their search volume and keyword difficulty you should begin narrowing down your list. Basically, you want to look for the keyword with the highest search volume and lowest competition.
When getting started I would recommend on narrowing your list down to 15 solid keywords. I like to start with this number because it is manageable. If you start with too many keywords you will get overwhelmed.
Remember it is the quality and relevancy of your keywords that matter. You want the top 15 words or phrases that customers are typing into Google.
Wrapping It Up
You should now know exactly how to get the best keywords for your company. The most important thing to keep in mind is that SEO is a never ending process. You should never stop your keyword research. Customers will always being searching for your services using different keywords.
Once you begin ranking for your list of keywords you will want to begin researching “long tail keywords”. This will be for another article. For now, focus on ranking your current keywords by strategically putting them in your content, alt tags, and meta tags and descriptions.
Do you have other tools or methods of finding keywords? If so, leave them in the comments section. Also, if you have any questions leave them in the comments. I’ll be sure to answer all of them!