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Whether you’re a business owner or an internet marketer, knowing which keywords to target is a must.

There are a few ways to go about this, but the most difficult part is understanding how hard it will be to rank and which ones to go after.

This short post will take you through my mind process when first trying to attack a given keyword.

Let’s say I train dogs and want to get found better online. The first thing that I have to ask myself is, “is my business only in one location or do I want to rank throughout the country?”

Since it will remain a small business, the first step is just getting ranked in my physical location and city.

Since I live in Boise, I’ll try to rank for that. It’s a big enough city that there will probably be adequate search volume to make all the time spent marketing is worth it.

First, download the “keywords everywhere” plugin for Google Chrome. I use it every single day. It shows search volume all over the place on your browser and makes casual keyword research 100% better.

There are some discrepancies between all of the different keyword research tools (Moz, Google keyword planner, etc), but I just need to know IF there is search volume and an IDEA of how much. Since they only record exact matches, if you see any regular searches, there’s a good chance you’ll have 5x that many searches for really closely related keywords.

So search it.

What would you type in if you wanted your dog trained?

For me, I would probably type in “dog training boise” or “best dog trainer boise”.

 

At the bottom of the screen you’ll notice other things that people search, which can be super helpful.

 

Immediately you can see there is some volume for queries like this one. You’ll see general searches and then some branded ones.

Looks like we found a decent one with “dog training boise”.

But let’s plug the search into another tool called the Mozbar to see about how difficult it would be to rank. Here’s the front page competitors:

 

Overall, I would say this looks promising.

The domain authority (DA) of the top are in the teens and those further down the list that have extremely high DA also show a very workable PA (page authority).

Usually this indicates that it’s a national brand that has a page for the location within the site, but not much work has been done to actually rank it higher.

A strictly local business with a strong online presence is really likely to rank well for this term.

Let’s say that all of the DA’s and PA’s were 40’s and above and would require a ton of work to rank.

Then what?

The choices are to a) choose another city in the area to rank that has lower competition or b) rank for a keyword that has less competition.

Another tool for finding keywords that are related is called LSI Graph. It will spit out a list of all searches that are pretty close to a given one.

 

For example, Meridian and Nampa both have some search volume, though less than Boise obviously.

The key here is to do what you have the time to do and do it well. If you go after the term “dog training” on a national level, you’ll very likely need years of work and some strong digital media background to accomplish it.

 

 

It can be a little frustrating during this phase of the game, but if you map out a plan from the start, you’ll much more likely be able to rank for your given term.