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SEO is a scary word when you don’t understand what it is, why people talk about it, and because it’s an acronym. Let’s take your fear of this devil of an acronym away and get you started on the right path towards researching on your own!

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and in essence means optimizing your site with content, written and visual, that is directly related to what people are searching for in the major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Ok, now that we got that scary bit out of the way, let’s dive into how you should start your journey into researching what people are looking for, how it relates to what your business offers people and WHY your business is the best option for solving their major pain point.

SEO Starting Point

The very first thing you need to do is have a clear idea of the major pain point your customers/clients have and how you are the perfect solution to that problem. Once you know that you can start doing some research on what people search for based around that pain point.

There are a few different ways to start searching but one of the easiest and most effective is simply to use the search engines themselves! Just type in your customer’s pain point, hit enter, and start looking at the results.

Searching on Google.com

Now that you have that process down, did you notice anything while you were typing? Google and all the major search engines have this neat trick of trying to guess and suggest what you might be typing into their knowledge boxes. This can give you a really good idea of what people search for most often related to the words you started typing in. These suggestions are based on the current words you have begun to type and the most popular search queries that others have typed into the search engine.

This is seriously a super powerful method because it’s the search engines telling you exactly what people are searching for, on the regular, that are looking for exactly what you’re offering. Basically giving you the mindset and verbiage that your customers/clients use when asking the Google box to help them.

You Gotta Have Power!

Now that you’ve found what people are searching for, you can begin to develop content based on your findings. However, you don’t want to just blindly go at it, right? You’d probably like to know how those search terms stack up for competition on the Web. You might drive yourself crazy trying to compete for a search term that someone else has been working on for years and has built themselves up as a big authority. In other words, it might not be worth your time to target the absolute MOST popular search terms.

So how do you gain authority with the search engines without having to battle those big, already established authority figures in your market? One way is by taking your research to the next level to actually see how much competition there is in the advertising space on Google. A great way to do this is to use Google Adwords. You can sign up for your own Adwords account, for free, by going here: https://Google.com/Adwords/

Once you’ve setup your account, you’ll need to navigate to the Keyword Planner Tool by using the top navigation, Tools > Keyword Planner. You’re going to research your list of search terms, or keywords. The term ‘keyword’ can be misleading when you’re getting started. To give you a quick understanding of what a ‘keyword’ is, you just need to think of it as anything that someone searches for in a search engine. Keywords can be single words or a phrase of many words. You will sometimes hear longer keywords referred to as ‘long-tail’ keywords. This simply means that they are comprised of many words in the form of a longer phrase, statement or question.

keyword vs. long-tail keyword

From here you can select how you want to search, what you want to search for and add any parameters you feel necessary to your search. Adwords will then compile a list of keywords and show you the average number of searches per month, competition (strictly related to advertising), and a few other things. For now, all you need to be concerned with is the average number of searches per month and, to a lesser extent, the competition ranking.

Shorter keywords, under 4–6 words will be more difficult to rank for typically because they are more broad. Long-tail keywords is where you want to focus. This is because the more words there are, typically again, the more focus the search query so the more specific a person is being with their search.

By targeting and building a list of long-tail keywords to create content around, you’re almost guaranteeing that people who find you through those searches are directly looking to purchase what you’re selling or sign up for your email list, or whatever it is you’re offering. When people start getting hyper specific in their searching they are in direct need of solving their problem quickly. When your customers need your solution to their problems yesterday, they are more willing and likely to buy from you after the 1st or 2nd interaction, whereas the majority of “window shoppers” aren’t likely to purchase until the 6th or 7th contact with your brand.

This is how you power up your SEO! So go on, get to doing your research and start creating amazing content specifically targeted around what people are searching for. Search Engine Optimize your website, blog, and social media.