4 Tips for Simple and Effective SEO Keyword Research

Whether you’re completely new to SEO (search engine optimisation), or have a strategy in place, there’s one core task you have to master: SEO keyword research.

The simplest and most logical way to structure your SEO campaign is by focusing on certain keywords and key phrases. Words and phrases that, when a potential client plugs them in to Google, your firm’s website comes up amongst the top results.

But how do you decide which keywords and phrases to focus on? Which are going to bring in the highest numbers of new clients for the effort you put in to your SEO – site structure, content and more? Which are going to be effective, yet within your reach in terms of resources and budget?

Financial services providers face particular challenges when it comes to deciding which SEO keywords to focus on. Many financial advisers and accountants offer a wide range of services to individuals, families and businesses. But potential clients may not know the names of those services – their search may be a description of the service, or a description of the problem that it solves. There’s also the challenge of getting through to the right people. Unlike paid advertising, SEO doesn’t offer a simple check-box for targeting by location; you’ve got to make sure your SEO efforts target people in particular locations.

The good news is that there are a few simple ways you can keep your SEO keyword research on point.

Use common sense

When it comes to building a core list of keywords, sometimes common sense is all you need to get started. Try putting yourself in the shoes of your potential clients; imagine you’re an average client, searching for a financial services provider in your area. What words would you search for? It could be as simple as ‘financial adviser’ or ‘financial adviser Yourregion’, or it could be a longer phrase such as ‘independent financial adviser Yourtown’.

Build on your existing strengths

If your website has any form of analytics or insights available (Google Analytics, or your CRM’s built-in analytics), make use of them. If you don’t have analytics, make sure you ask any new online leads what they searched to find you. Alternatively, if you have a Google AdWords account, the Keyword Tool can suggest keywords based on the existing content on your site.

It’s easier to build your ‘authority’ and strength for a particular keyword or key phrase, than it is to target a completely new one. Try Googling one of the words you’ve found using the method above, and see where your website ranks (from position 1 [top of page] downwards). If you’re not at the top of the page, there’s room for improvement.

Cover your bases

Well-rounded SEO efforts mean drawing traffic (and attention) to all your products and services, not just one or two.

A simple way to do this is to draft your list of keywords or phrases in product/service categories. Then underneath each service, come up with at least a few different phrases that are specific to that particular service.

Here’s a quick example to get you started, evaluate each of your keywords for practicality, and search volume and competition:

[Can’t see? Click to enlarge]

Keep your list short

It’s tempting to try making a list of every single possible keyword or phrase that a use might put in to find your business. However, especially when you’re starting out, it’s best to keep your list short. This way, you can focus your time and resources on the search terms that will get you the best bang for buck.

A list of ten keywords or phrases is a good start. Try to have a mix of very general phrases, and very long/specific ones (also known as ‘short-tail’ vs ‘long-tail’).

Make sure at least a couple of your ten choices are strategically low-competition, i.e. you won’t be jostling for position with much larger competitors with much larger SEO budgets.


Try these four tips, and you’ll be off to a great start with your SEO keyword research. If you’re still having trouble, or if you have questions about anything in this blog, feel free to email us or leave a comment below.