Keyword selection is one of the most important tools in any online marketing campaign. Small business online marketing strategies are dependent upon targeted keyword selection. With the winning keywords, a small business can engage in white hat link building strategies and use keywords in website content, tags, and social media campaigns.Online marketing agencies will offer keyword studies. This service is usually included in monthly SEO contracts. Or, a small business may elect to perform this research in-house.Keyword Studies: Choose an SEO Marketing Company CarefullyIt is important to first determine the popular key phrases for any industry or organization. Keywords are studied by using various tools online for such purposes. Google AdWords provides an excellent, free keyword tool. Nichebot.com is a membership site where visitors can join for about $20 per month. Nichebot.com members have access to keyword popularity software that measures results on all of the popular search engines. If the small business owner does not have the time or expertise to study industry keywords, he or she should hire an online marketing firm to conduct this research.Why Are Keywords Used in Online Marketing?This is the age of the semantic (word based) web. Search engines rely upon words to identify and categorize a website. Without keywords, online searches would be more cumbersome, less targeted, and might take much longer. When a person uses Google or other search engines to research something important, they want to find what they’re looking for quickly, without paging through too many websites. Typing keywords into a search query and/or limiting a search to a geographic area is an effective way to hone in on a website.Where Are Keywords Placed for Effective Internet Marketing?Keywords are placed in the title and description tags on the back end of a website. Online marketing agencies may also choose to rewrite urls with keywords and embed keywords in image (.jpg) and portable document format (.pdf) files, too. Keywords also need to be placed in headlines, subheads, and the body text of website copy. Finally, keywords can be used when posting links to the website on social media sites such as StumbleUpon.com or Reddit.com.Who is Best Qualified to Research Keywords?Every company or individual has a unique approach to keyword studies. The fundamental concepts are the same. The keyword expert will know the right questions to ask in order to identify primary and niche markets for a company. In other words, this specialist will focus on the business objectives before conducting keyword research. He or she will become familiar with the company or organization through research and asking questions. Online competitors’ keyword selections may be reviewed and studied as well. A keyword research expert will be well versed in the use of the Google AdWords keyword tool, nichebot.com, Wordtracker, or all of the above. The most savvy keyword research expert will use many different tools to study keywords.In order to keep a website ranking high on search engines, keyword research should be ongoing. Small businesses engaged in online marketing will want to make certain keywords are reviewed and refreshed on a regular basis during website promotion campaigns.