For Good Keywords, Think Who/What/When/Where/Why

Why do good keywords matter?

As small business owners, we’re all aware that SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) is an important tool, but implementing it can definitely seem daunting. We already have so many daily business tasks (not to mention life tasks), and yet another vague acronym can sometimes be the last thing we want to deal with. But the truth is that having an SEO strategy is one of the best things you can do for your business—it brings organic traffic to your site, it can give you a boost in search result listings, and if you do it yourself, it doesn’t have to cost you any money.

One of the many advantages to SEO is that those keywords and phrases will help you craft evergreen content—that is to say, you only have implement your SEO once in order to get continual results and benefits over time. Yes, best practices and strategies might change, or you might adjust your keywords from time to time, but this isn’t a process that you will have to go through on a daily basis.

Let’s use Pinterest as an example: When I first decided to tackle my Pinterest SEO, I was averaging under 1,000 monthly viewers. In just under a month, I managed to grow that to around 100,000 monthly views without a significant increase in follower count. For three weeks, I spent about an hour a day pinning images with detailed, keyword-optimized descriptions—and as those pins began to show up higher in search results, they got more and more traction from other Pinterest users. Since then, those images continue to get re-pinned without any additional time or work on my end.

How do I choose them?

So, we know why we should all be utilizing SEO as much as possible. But what about the how? When dealing with SEO, I find that it’s most helpful to think of it in the simplest possible terms. Rather than think about the optimal keywords that describe my product or service, I approach things from the audience’s perspective: If my ideal client needs a specific product or service, how would she search for it? How would I search for it on Google, Pinterest, etc.? How have I adjusted my search terms on Etsy when I have trouble finding what I’m looking for?

For example, if you’re a wedding photographer looking to increase traffic to your website, it’s not enough to say “Colorado wedding photographer” (although that’s a good start). Name your images with the specific venue, with adjectives that describe your aesthetic (moody, fine art, film, etc.), and even with the month or season when they were taken. Think about the “who, what, when, where, and why” of your clients. Who is looking for you? What are their needs? When and where will they need you? Why should they pick you over your competition? The phrases and words that you naturally come up with are more than likely going to the best options for keywords to use.

Amy Zhang

Amy Zhang is the designer and chief coffee drinker behind Amy Zhang Creative, an artisan studio based in Denver, Colorado. She believes wholeheartedly that good design can make everyday special and the special days unforgettable, and has been featured in print and online publications such as Rocky Mountain Bride, Style Me Pretty, and Carats & Cake.

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