To be a successful marketer today, you need to understand how search engine optimization (SEO) works in getting your company to show up in the search results of your customers’ search engine activity. The first step in creating a successful SEO strategy is to understand what keywords your customers are using to look for your product or service. Once you know what these keywords are, you can build an effective content marketing strategy around these keywords. Essentially, a high-quality content marketing strategy allows you to educate Google about the keywords your business should be found for in online searches by the right customers.
I recently co-presented a webinar on keyword research for SEO. In this 45-minute webinar, we covered what SEO keyword research is, how to research keywords using tools, described the keyword mapping process and more. I invite you to watch the webinar recording at your convenience:
If you don’t have time to watch the webinar right now, here are a few highlights.
What Are SEO Keywords?
A keyword is a word or string of words that people type into Google when searching for something. One or two words strung together are called short-tail keywords and three or more words strung together are called long-tail keywords.
People use short-tail keywords in greater volumes, which makes these keywords more competitive and harder to capture the market. People use long-tail keywords when they’re searching for something specific. It’s important to consider both types of keywords in your SEO strategy. We discuss this in greater detail in the webinar.
Without doing the research, you’re only guessing how your potential customers are searching for what you have to offer and your site will most likely not appear in the top search results.
An Abundance of Tools to Help You
There are all kinds of tools, both free and paid, that can help you with SEO keyword research. I usually recommend starting with Google’s free tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, which is part of Google AdWords, and Google Search Console, which is formerly known as Google Webmaster Tool. Google Keyword Planner provides all kinds of real-time data about keywords. You can see how often keywords are searched and get new ideas for keywords so that you can plan and make decisions. Google Search Console provides data about your site specifically.
As part of our live and online training classes, I use the above mentioned Google tools and also a number of other free, freemium and paid tools for the keyword research portion of the class. I’m currently beta-testing a pretty cool tool call Twinword and I can also recommend SEMRush and KWFinder. There are many other tools available on the market today; make sure to find the tool that best fits your needs and budget.
Researching and Selecting the Initial List of Target SEO Keywords
Researching and selecting your target SEO keywords takes the most amount of time because it’s such a critical piece of the SEO process. If you’re going to use Google Keyword Planner, I suggest looking at the average monthly searches, competition and suggested bid data components to help you make decisions about which keywords to focus on. There are many factors that go into analyzing this data, and I’d recommend watching the webinar embed above and / or attending one of our SEO classes to learn more about it.
Once you decide on your keywords, you should categorize and prioritize the keywords, and then develop a content marketing and digital marketing strategy around those keywords. The more strategically that you use keywords in your content, whether it’s website copy, marketing or technical content, the greater the chance that you’ll appear higher in the search engine results pages. Of course, keywords are only one crucial element of your overall online marketing strategy so make sure to follow and implement Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Conclusion and Next Steps
Developing a winning online marketing plan takes time and it requires patience, but it can really pay off. I thoroughly enjoy showing my customers what they can do with SEO to boost lead generation and sales from their website. Please don’t hesitate to email me. We offer complimentary and no-strings-attached analysis of websites and we’d be happy to arrange an online or in-person meeting to discuss the results.
Also, I encourage you to attend one of our upcoming SEO training classes. They are a great way to get started with SEO and the keyword research process.