Set Up Your Business Online Now-Starter Guide
The first thing to do when setting up any business is to know what awaits you. How competitive is the market? How hard is it going to be to produce sales and who are your competitors? Let’s look at these points one at a time.
Define your market
If you decide you are going to sell rucksacks online through an ecommerce shop, then you’ll be supplying bags to people, who are looking for backpacks and rucksacks to carry their stuff. Hence, you are trying to meet the demand for a particular need. Once you have defined the need you are meeting and thought about all the potential customers in that market, then you should start researching, who is doing this already. Start by doing a simple search for ‘rucksacks’ in any search engine.
From the first page of the results you can see the PPC adverts in the centre and on the right hand side of the screenshot marked with the pink background. The first ‘Organic’ result triggered is ‘Gooutdoors.co.uk’ which can be seen at the bottom of the screen shot.
From the rest of the page, which isn’t visible, other companies, such as Amazon, Blacks, Sports Direct, Millets, Cotswolds Outdoors, River Island, Simply Hike and Argos, are included. These are out-takes of the companies that are in the market. DON’T get disheartened by this, get excited that you are going to be taking business off these people and you can do it directly from your desktop!
This one page you shows you what the competition are doing, what keywords they are targeting and more importantly what they have missed or are ignoring. This is where you can beat the competition! Let’s look at the organic results in more detail, this will give us some ideas of how to build some great webpages.
From the above screenshot you can start filtering out the keywords that each company is trying to target. From the first listing you can see that their title includes ‘rucksacks, daypacks, back packs and baby carriers’. Take these words and put them into a spread sheet. Then add all the other words that you can find on the results page as well as on the actual webpages. Once you have done that, you’ll have a list of apporximately 50 to 60 words.
You can then enter these words into the keyword tool in Google.
There is a massive caveat when using the Google keyword tool. The data can be questionable, notably the search volumes are usually overly optimistic. But the one thing it can do effectively is find related terms that you may have forgotten.
There are a number of other keyword tools out there, which help you to get those target keywords. However, you need to consider that searches fluctuate over time. For instance, there aren’t many searches for bikinis in December. Google have developed a tool to look at your keywords, Google Trends.
The screen grab above shows the peak month for ‘Ruck Sack’ searches in August. Over the past 5 years the search volume for ‘Ruck Sacks’ decreased to a half of what it was before. There could be a number of reasons for this but one theory is people start to use longer searches, so they will enter keywords like ‘waterproof ruck sack’ or ‘army ruck sack’ or ‘small ruck sack’. They are called ‘long tail keywords’ as opposed to the head terms, ‘ruck sack’.
The longer tail is where 70% of all searches are made and it is where you can beat the big high street chains, by chasing the longer tail terms you’ll have a much better chance of gaining traffic to your website. If your product comes in a variation of colours then make sure you have pages dedicated to colour searches like: ‘Blue Ruck Sacks’. Think about all the possible combinations of what people might be searching for and add these to your pages. This is called expanding your keyword reach and one of the best ways to add keywords to a site is to have a blog. In a blog you will develop content that will be targeting the long tail search terms and this will occur naturally.
Hopefully this article will help you develop a solid foundation for your keyword research and help you find niches that the bigger retailers have over looked. The internet is still developing and there are still great opportunities for small business to make a living alongside the biggest companies in the world. Think smart and be nimble!