When it comes to choosing keywords for your SEO efforts, tense of a word matters. A lot. And I’m continually shocked by how few companies – even agencies SPECIALIZING in SEO – don’t take time to do their research.
In fact, I can show you why the tense of a keyword matters in less than one sentence. The term “marketing strategy” had 36,800 searches in Google last month; “marketing strategies” had 16,500. Less than half, just by using singular tense instead of plural.
I could take any industry, and almost any keyword. How about another one – at a local level this time? “Phoenix transmission” had 2,400 searches, where “phoenix transmissions” had only 720 searches. Seventy percent fewer searches.
Which one would you want to optimize?
How to choose the right keywords
So how do you find out which are the right keywords – before you spend time integrating them into your website or social media?
It isn’t as simple as always using singular words, or vice versa. You need to look at what people are actually searching – and it might surprise you. It certainly will clarify assumptions and kill the idea that your SEO should be all about integrating your brand name.
The first step? Head over to Google’s keyword popularity tool and get to work. Plug in the words you THINK are the right ones, and it will spit out a list of what was actually searched last month. Download them to Excel, sort them largest to smallest, then pick out the ones most relevant to you.
Garbage In, Garbage Out
Be sure and include a wide range of words for the tool to work with – be creative and include several different terms you think people might enter, include local terms, city terms, state terms, then see what you end up with. It’s just an algorithm tool, so if you don’t put in a nice range that represents your industry, it might not come back with a comprehensive list.
Also, be sure and pick terms that you realistically have a chance to rank for. The higher up it falls on your list, the harder it is to gain visibility.