Marketers already know the importance of SEO, but creating a comprehensive program can be overwhelming and difficult.
With so many businesses jumping into the online space, it can seem unnecessary to spend time, money, and resources trying to get to the first page of Google.
If the thought of SEO is making your head ache, here’s a proven step-by-step guide on how to create and execute a killer SEO keyword strategy.
Methodology for finding new keywords
Using Google Keyword Tool, you can test keyword research in two ways:
- Keywords relevant to your product or service offering
- Keywords used to find your direct and indirect competitors
The #1 satisfaction is based on using a combination of logic, intuition, and reviewing existing keyword data from AdWords and Google Analytics. Try thinking “if I were a potential customer who had no knowledge of my business, what would I type into Google search to find the product I’m looking for?”
For example, one possibility for a marketing company is “content marketing”, so you should enter this term into the keyword tool to analyze its search volume and relevance to your product offering.
The ideal scenario is to find relevant keywords that have high monthly search volumes and low competition.
You can also refine your keyword research based on criteria such as location, device type, and language to ensure your keywords are related to your business and target audience.
As the example above illustrates, the keyword “content marketing” generates 60,500 global monthly searches and is a very competitive keyword.
Once you’ve determined if your keyword is generating a reasonable volume of global monthly searches, Google the keyword to see how relevant the search results are to your business and product offering.
At this point, simply make a long list of all relevant keywords that have had adequate search volume.
Repeat this process several times, thinking about the keywords potential customers might use to search for your product.
Another great way to find relevant keywords is to study the keyword ideas generated by the Google Keyword Tool.
Browse keyword ideas; when you are satisfied with the overall monthly search volume, then you should check relevance and save the good ones to your master list.
To determine the #2 keywords (keywords people use to search and find your competitors), you need to search the source codes of the top competitors’ websites to see what keywords are listed and search for competitors using the Keywords tool.
This type of research reveals the keywords people type into Google that lead them to find a competitor. You can also type in your own URL to see what keywords people are using to reach your business (note the subtle difference: in #1 you’re trying to find relevant keywords related to your product, but not necessarily the ones you or your competitors are currently listed under. Here you find the keywords that lead individuals directly to competitors or your business).
Determine your target keywords
Once you’re happy with your master list, go through it and narrow it down. Choose keywords with the best search volume, relevance to your product and brand image, and minimal competitiveness; also make sure not to choose keywords that are too similar to each other.
The process of placing specific keywords on website pages
When your keyword list is finalized, the next step is to place the new keywords within the pages of your website.
Create an Excel document where you can track the keywords you want to place on each page. Ensure that the top-ranking keywords are placed on the most visited pages (as determined by Google Analytics) or on the pages that will generate conversions; it’s the most logical way to increase your SEO. You also need to make sure that the keywords logically match the website page.
Once this process is complete, go through and reword your website pages to include the new keywords, without forcing the keywords. Optimal keyword density is around 1% to 3%; more than that could be considered excessive. Some sentences will need to be rewritten and some difficult keywords will require creative sentence solutions. For example, if your current sentence reads: “turn your blog into an effective means of lead generation”, you should rework the sentence into something like this: “By implementing content marketing strategies, your blogging can be an effective means of lead generation”.
Keywords must also remain in their original form and cannot be split, otherwise the SEO impact will be impaired. For example, “content marketing” is not recognized and indexed by Google in the same way as “content marketing”, “content marketing services” or any other iteration.
Keywords should be included not only in the main text of your website, but also in the metadata: specifically, the title, description, and keyword tags.
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Remember that this process isn’t a one-time fix: you should check your keywords every few months to make sure the ones you’re targeting haven’t changed. Additionally, supplement your keyword strategy by adding them to your blog posts (if applicable) and developing a link building strategy. According to WCC Voice, pages with strong backlinks pointing to them are considered authoritative pages by search engines. Your Page Rank is partly determined by the number and quality of links to your site, so having a solid link building strategy will help increase your link popularity and your Google Page Rank.
If you’re looking for a complete guide to SEO, check out this great resource from SEOMoz. Also check out this article if you are interested in a general overview of SEO.
Do you have any other keyword best practices? Leave a comment!