For as long as SEO has been around, so too has keyword research and targeting. Whilst the most important aspects of content are context and quality, keywords are instrumental in ensuring the content is optimised to its full potential.
However despite thorough keyword research it is still possible that the results could be underwhelming. There is always the risk involved that the wrong keywords or topics may be focussed on, or that the effort required optimising these keywords is greater than the results produced.
It is for this reason that it is imperative to select the best keywords to optimise. The best way to ensure this is by taking an approach that focuses on including specific principals to stay on track for the best keyword targeting.
- Identifying Goals.
Sometimes it is best to start with the most obvious point, establishing goals for both paid and organic searches. Having a clear picture of what you desire to achieve with your organisation and working backward to understand the influence of your search, is a strong starting point.
Having specific targets for aspects such as leads, engagement, sales or other similar areas can be very helpful to establishing budget allocations and where to place the most focus. To get the search traffic needed for these goals, you need optimised keywords for customers to find your pages.
- Ask Stakeholders
Once you have established your goals, you can then get started on finding the best keywords. To help with this process, it is recommended to consult with the relevant stakeholders for their ideas and insights. These stakeholders can include people such as marketing and salespeople, customers, prospective customers, investors and those at the C-level.
Consulting a wide variety of people will help you to gain insights from a number of vastly different perspectives and open you up to areas that you may not have previously considered. You should ask questions in regards to what they would search to find your businesses content and product offering.
It is recommended to compile and list all responses, even if there are some you think are irrelevant. At this early stage you should not be filtering as some responses may not become useful until further into your research.
- Analysing Your Competitors
Monitoring your competition is always an important aspect to understanding your industry and where your business fits. Although it may be uncomfortable to confront the realities of your competitor’s successes there is always a valuable lesson to be learned. The same is true when analysing the competitions failures.
The first questions to address are:
- Which competitors are outranking you? Which are not?
- What is their service or product offering? Are they the same as yours?
Once you have completed this you should further review:
- What are their title and Meta description tags?
- What are their pages topics?
- What are their most prominent positions in social media, PR and search results?
Once you have compiled the results you should create another list of what your competitors are focusing on, specifically those that match your business and content. Specifically focus on themes, phrases and terms.
- Keyword Research
When conducting your research it is important to note that you use the most appropriate tools for organic versus paid search. It is important to know which mistakes you should avoid such as:
- Using Google Keyword Planner for SEO
- Not seeing past ‘Volume’ metrics
- Dismissing long-tail keywords
- Inserting Keywords after writing an article
- Ignoring localisation
The more you research, you should begin to utilise the best match keywords and terms from your stakeholder and competitive analysis. You should further expand your findings by highlighting related keywords
- Identifying Topics
After you have conducted your keyword research you will most likely have a plethora of phrases and words that you could use. Although this may be overwhelming, thankfully the aspect more important than keywords is topics.
It would be a waste of your resources to build a page around every keyword you discovered. Instead you need to categorise the keywords into topics. A useful starting point is to use the existing content on your site. Although they may not be categorised there are likely pre-existing topics that have emerged from your content. If you feel those topics are relevant you can utilise them as your starting point.
However throughout your research you should be able to determine topics and themes through your keywords. From that list you should figure out which of those are the most appropriate. In all likelihood these topics will have been derived from paid search ad groups and content clusters on your focus sites.
- Ensuring Topics are Relevant & Aligned
Now that you have categorised your keywords into themes and topics, you can now begin validating these keywords to ensure they are the correct terms.
It is important your keywords are not overly generalised and broad. For example if your business is women’s clothing, you should not focus on keywords as vague as “clothes”. Whilst your business does sell clothes, your business will be more specified than this and such a broad term includes certain items and markets of clothing that is not relevant to your product offering. Such a keyword focus would be a waste of your SEO and paid search efforts.
You should ensure that your keywords include only products, services and target markets that your business offers and targets. You want to ensure no one receiving your content is irrelevant to your business or is mislead by your information and targeting.
- SERP Review
The final filter to use for ensuring optimised keywords is reviewing SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). To do this you should search up some of your best keywords and topics, and take note of the following:
- What results appear?
- Where do your competitors appear?
- Where are the paid and organic listings?
- How heavy and relevant is the traffic?
After compiling the results you should conduct another review. If the results weren’t what you were expecting, then you may have to adjust or rethink your strategy and the importance of your top keywords.
This is especially important for your organic search results. If the competition is strong, especially if competing with paid search results then your site can be pushed below the top results.
- Monitor your Performance
The most important data you will need however only comes after your SEO and paid search plans are implemented. Generally there are some keywords and topics that will perform better than others. Once you have acquired the data you need you can begin prioritising certain topics and keywords. Alternatively you can determine other areas of your business to optimise.
Aspects to monitor in performance are:
- Keywords generating high impressions but low clicks
- Keywords that don’t rank when implemented organically
- Keywords with high traffic but low conversions
If there are any keywords matching the above it is recommended to delve further into analytics for aspects such as, UX issues or conversion rate optimisations. Another recommended tactic is to look at SERPs again.
Finding the “right” or “best” keyword can be subjective and dependent on the business. A starting point for this is deciding which keywords will be organic and which will be paid search. It is imperative however to have a systematic methodology to your research before choosing and optimising keywords.
Once you have established your goals, topics and validated your chosen keywords, the optimisation process begins to become clearer. Although you must ensure that you are continually monitoring and analysing your keywords to ensure quality.
Need help maximising your keyword targeting? Call us at Media Lion for a free strategy session.