When you have a small business, it can seem daunting to try to compete in the online world, especially since it is so cutthroat competitive nowadays. However, don’t lose hope just because you can’t swim the entire ocean in a day. There are many ways that small businesses can use web technology to their advantage. One of these areas is keywords.

Start with local business. For most small businesses, the main audience is often local clientele. This means you can focus your keywords to those in your local area that are looking for your products and services. Larger companies may use broader terms, whereas you can use local cities, streets, locations and words in order to get more targeted searches. Those looking to buy from somewhere nearby will most likely type in something like “Pizza in Fort Worth” or “Cabinets in Greenville”; so focusing on these search terms will get you lots of local business!

The Internet is a great equalizer when it comes to “mom and pop” shops versus big business. If you have a well-maintained, professional looking website, then most customers clicking on links after they typed in keywords will only know that the website looks trustworthy and has the information or products they were searching for. If you were competing in the real world, i.e. your tiny shop against the mega-giant store, things would not be so even. Build an impressive website and spend time researching your keywords and you have already won half the battle.

In order to use keywords to your advantage for these situations you need to do your homework. Research what the top phrases are in your type of business not only through Google Ad Sense and Ad Words, but also from your local competition’s websites.

Is there a way to modify these other keywords for more focused searches? You will need to try out keywords and keep track on what works. Next, you need to be sure that the content that contains your keywords is top quality and not “spammy”. Spammy articles will result in the top search engines ignoring you and have customers quickly clicking the back button.

You may not be able to compete for the most popular keywords, but by using “longtail” and local targeted ones, you can help educate and qualify your customers while branding your company.