When is a Key phrase Not a Key phrase?


Andy Gale a local business attorney in Orange County California

A couple of years ago, I was approached by a business attorney who wanted to have a website built to promote his latest service.

The service was aimed at small business corporations who need help to maintain their corporation documentation properly. The first step was to understand the service and then build a key phrase strategy for online visibility.

The Service and the Key Phrase

This requires a little explanation. If you are a small business owner, you have a number of choices as to what type of business entity to use when you set your business up. For example, it could be a Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Company, ‘S’ Corporation, ‘C’ Corporation, or a Professional Corporation, to mention some of the more common.

Within each there are a number of formalities or processes that need to be implemented and maintained in order for the entity to be sound. If they are not followed correctly the business can be at risk in a number of ways.

For example, if a business is set-up as a ‘S’ corporation but the business’s processes are not recorded properly, and the company is sued, sometimes the assets of the owner rather than just the business assets can be at risk.

Obviously, that is a big deal. That process of recording the business processes is called ‘corporate records’ or ‘corporate records management‘.

The moral is that if you are the owner of an ‘S’ corporation, you really want to make sure your corporate records are managed and maintained. It’s too late to try to do it once you get into some form of litigation.

The attorney in this case study therefore, had a practice that maintained the corporate records of small businesses as a service. He called it the Corporate Records Program.

All clear so far?

Hence, with his first website, he wanted to rank for phrases such as, ‘corporate records’, ‘corporate records management’ and ‘corporate records services orange county‘.

Does That Sound Logical?

It was pretty straight forward to build a website explaining the service and to get it to rank for the kind of phrases above. This was in part due to the fact that while there are a lot of attorneys in California, there are not so many that offer that particular service.

Imagine you have a leaky faucet and you want a plumber to come out and fix it. What key phrase would you type into Google?

You might think all was good – It was not though, here is why.

An Analogy – A Key Phrase is Not a Key Phrase When…

Imagine you have a leaky faucet and you want a plumber to come out and fix it. What would you type in to Google? Would you type ‘leaky faucet’?

Maybe, though it is much more likely that you would type in ‘plumber’, ‘plumber Orange County’ or something like, ‘local plumbers’.

While ‘leaky faucet’, ‘fix my faucet’ and similar phrases would accurately state or describe the problem, they are not what someone would search for if they have a leaky faucet and they want a plumber.

Now apply that thought process to ‘corporate records management’ and what happens?

A business owner looking for help to manage their corporation is much more likely to search for a ‘local business attorney’, or ‘small business attorney’ in their city.

So, there’s your key phrases, they are not going to type: ‘help with corporate records’ for instance, even though that accurately describes the problem, it is much more likely to be a variation on something like ‘small business attorney orange county’.

As a result of this conclusion, we created a new website that was explicitly designed to rank for that kind of key phase. As soon as that site started to rank for the correct key phrases, the business faucet was turned on and the dollars started to flow – pun intended.

Moral of the Story?

A key phrase is not a key phrase when it is not the one people use when searching for a service. This is true even though it might accurately describe what a service is or define the problem accurately.

To be successful in search marketing it is vital to be able to understand your ideal clients and their search behavior. It is not enough just to understand what your product is and how to describe it.

A Thought Experiment – An Opportunity to Use Your Brain

An attorney that provides the service of helping businesses to become a corporation is called an incorporation attorney. Now think carefully about this, is ‘incorporation attorney’ a key phrase?