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Keyword Research

By | First Published: | Last Updated: 8 December, 2023

The first thing you need to do is discover relevant things potential clients are searching for on Google. The queries people type into Google are known as keywords, even though they are normally more than one word.

I offer website design and support to local service businesses in my home city of Mackay. So, a potential keyword for my business would be website design Mackay.  

But before doing any other SEO work, you and I need to find out how many people are searching for this and related keywords. Ideally, we should do this before starting to build your website.

Online Keyword Research Tools

keyword research example

Does Your Research Show SEO Is Worth It

First, I need to consider the total number of relevant searches. 110 potential clients are more than enough to make SEO a worthwhile investment for me.

Next, I must think about how hard it will be for a local business to rank for these keywords. More challenging keywords require investing more time and money in SEO.

30 searches per month are relatively easy (green or < 20). So, it would still be worth my while investing in SEO.

Note that you don’t need to limit yourself to these relatively easy keywords. After doing SEO work on my website, I rank no. 1 for challenging (red) keyword website design Mackay.

my ranking on google for website design mackay
my ranking for weebsite design mackay in the map pack

A Page Per Service & Why?

Google Ranks Pages Not Sites

Service Pages NOT Keyword Stuffing

Many years ago, you could rank well on Google using a technique called keyword stuffing. This involves finding a specific keyword, such as solar panel cleaning Mackay, and stuffing that exact group of words into the page as often as possible.

As you can imagine, the real people who visited these pages didn’t find them to be user-friendly. So, Google got smarter and, thankfully, keyword stuffing no longer works.

I don’t want a page that is clumsily stuffed with a single keyword, such as website design Mackay. Rather, I want a page that is focused on designing websites for small businesses in Mackay.

The writing on the page needs to:

  • Provide potential clients with the most helpful information they need
  • Help Google understand the focus and intent of the page

That said, it is likely that your page will include:

  • A focus keyword
  • Related keywords
  • Related words
focus keyword

FAQs About Keyword Research

Ranking naturally in Google (thanks to SEO) gets more clicks to your website than Google Ads do. That said, Google Ads still works.

Both SEO and Google Ads can be expensive. The right strategy for you will depend upon the keywords you are wanting to show up for.

SEO also takes time. With my own business, and with many of my small business clients, I have used Google Ads while working on SEO and waiting to rank naturally.

Yes, but:

  • Not the way they used to (aka keyword stuffing and universal, optimal keyword densities).
  • Keyword research reveals what people are searching for, which helps you decide to invest in SEO
  • You should include keywords, related keywords and related words naturally throughout your content

Keyword density refers to the number of times a keyword appears on a page, relataive to the total number of words on a page, expressed as a percentage.

Here is a simple example: A page has just 2 words on ‘pet’ and ‘rock’, with the target keyword being pet. The page has a keyword density of 1/2 or 50%.

A lot of popular SEO plugins, such as Yoast, work on the assumption that there is an optimal keyword density (or range of keyword densities for all keywords. For example, your keyword density should be between 4 & 7%.

But there is no such magic numer or range that you can universally apply.

You are better creating an appropriately focused page, with keywords and related words occuring naturally throughout the page.

If you are going to research the best density of keywords for a specific service you offer, analyse the pages of competitors who rank better than you

The best answer is to keep reading this guide. But, in short the next 3 steps are:

  1. Decide if it wirthwhile for you to invest time and/or money into SEO
  2. If yes, create a focused page that potential clients would find incredibly helpful given what they have searched for
  3. Tweak the content after analysing the webpages of competitors who outrank you
shaun killian profile picture.jpg


Shaun Killian (me) is a small business owner, who is passionate about helping other small businesses succeed. He has been working with website design since 2008. He is also an expert in digital marketing, including SEO, content marketing and email marketing. In a former life, Shaun was a school teacher and principal before a heart transplant and bilateral leg amputation led him in other directions.