Module 2 – Keyword Research

Okay so the obvious question is what is a “keyword”?

Well a keyword is a phrase that is used in a search engine query.  So a keyword may actually be more than just one word.  For example, if you are looking for a new dentist and you live in Tucson you may go to Google and search for “tucson dentist”. These 2 words make up a “keyword” even though it is more than one word.

So why are keywords important?  Because they will bring you free traffic!  You see there are a few ways that people will come to your site.  They are:

  • Paid search (you put up advertisements  on the web and pay when someone clicks on them)
  • Referrals from other people or from marketing materials you hand out.
  • Links to your site from other websites
  • Search engines

All of these are important to bringing traffic to your site, but for now let’s talk about search engines.  You see, search engines such as Google will send out “bots” to index all the websites on the internet.  Google will then store this information so it knows what your site is talking about. Then when someone types in a phrase in a search, it tries to match up what they want with the websites that relate to that topic.

Now Search Engines are a huge business and that is a very simple explanation of what Google does, but for our purposes, that is all we need to know right now.  Let’s do an experiment.  Go to Google and type in your city name and “photographer”. So if you live in Tucson you would type in “Tucson Photographer”.  Be sure to change your search to use your own city.

Google Search

Below are the results of my search for “Tucson Photographer”….

Google Results Tucson Photographer

Notice in the top 4 results that three of the four are actual photographers. The second listing is actually just a directory.  Just think how valuable it would be to show up in the top 1st or 2nd listing?  If you have a website already did you show up near the top?  Your goal should be to show up in the top 3 listings for your chosen keywords.


Google has enabled a feature called “Personalization Search” which will influence your search results based on the websites you have visited on previously. This means if you have visited your own site often, then run a Google search, your site will appear higher on the rankings than it actually would for a potential client. So to get a realistic view of your rankings, it is necessary to disable personalization. To Disable Personalization, do the following:

  • Sign out of Google
  • Clear the cookies on your web browser or in the top right corner of the search results page click “Web History”. On the resulting page, click “Disable Customizations”.

Brainstorming Keywords

Now we are going to identify the important keywords for your business.  Your goal is to find the keywords that potential clients will be searching for when they are trying to find a business like yours.

Step #1:  Identify Services
Write down the words describing what type of services you offer.  A few examples are “Wedding photography”, “Baby Photography”, “Maternity Photography”, “Senior Photography”, etc.

For my list I am going to use “Wedding Photography”, “Family Photography” and “Senior Photography”.

Now make your list of services you offer….

Step #2:  Identify Locations
What city and/or geographic location are your potential clients located in?  This may be your city, the city next door, all the cities in the surrounding area, a neighborhood, an “unofficial name”. Examples are: “San Francisco”, “The Bay Area”, “West LA”, “Tri City Area”.

For my list I am going to use “Tucson”, “West Tucson”, “Old Tucson”, “Marana”, “Oro Valley” and “Green Valley”.   These are all locations near where I live.

Now make your list….

Step #3:
Now that you have your services and your location. Combine the services and location phrases in different ways to come up with a keyword list.  Some examples

“Tucson Wedding Photography”, “West Tucson Wedding Photography”, “Old Tucson Wedding Photography”, “Marana Wedding Photography”, “Oro Valley Wedding Photography”, “Green Valley Wedding Photography”, etc…

I also would personally recommend changing  “Photography” to “Photographer” as I believe a potential client is more likely to use photographer in the phrase than photography.
Write your keyword combinations below….

Now you have a list of likely search terms or “keywords” that your potential clients will type into a search engine when looking for services on the internet.   Identifying these keywords is critical to targeting your website to capture these potential clients.

Now save this list as we will be using it later when building pages for traffic.

Action Steps for This Module

  1. Write down list of services you offer
  2. Write down list of locations for your potential clients
  3. Build a Keyword List using previous two lists

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