Even with a basic understanding of inbound marketing and SEO fundamentals, it’s clear to see that keywords are the most important element in your strategy. Your whole content marketing campaign relies on you targeting the correct keywords for your brand. You should choose keywords that aren’t too difficult to rank for, yet are frequently searched enough to be profitable. Your small business won’t rank well for short-tail keyword phrases like “shoes” or “cookies”, those spots will go to the big guys, and the effort will be wasted. Instead, you probably want to choose less competitive keywords, more specifically related to your business, also known as long-tail keywords. The greater the volume of searches on a keyword, the more competitive it is, so you’ll need to find a nice gray area. Let’s look at an example:
“Hair cuts”- Commonly searched, but difficult to rank for
“Fort Myers salon open until 8:30 pm” - Easy to rank well for, but not commonly searched
“Fort Myers salon”- Perfect! This will be possible to rank for, and searched quite often
Thankfully, you don’t have to decide which keywords are worth targeting on your own. There are a number of different tools you can use to determine the competitiveness of a specific keyword as well as suggest and help you brainstorm new keyword ideas. Getting started toward selecting the right keywords can be done with only a few steps:
Step #1: Do Keyword Research- The Right Way
Before you put content anywhere on your site you need to know which keywords to incorporate. This is why research is the first part of keyword targeting. Find all the keywords that are relevant for you; don’t just pick the ones you think you can stuff into your site and get a quick boost.
Begin by brainstorming what you think your targeted audience searches for. Stay away from industry jargon and your company name (you should already rank well for your name). Focus on pain points and the long tail keywords mentioned above. Once you have a list, you can use the Hubspot Keyword tool or the Google Adwords keyword tool to see more suggestions and data on whether they are high-trafficked and high-difficult terms.
Step #2: List All Your Keywords and Group Them into Categories
Take your list and split them into categories, naming them after the search intent. Each page in your website will have a specific purpose to serve and will correlate to each keyword list. For example:
Website Page: Products- Paint
User Intent: Looking for Painting Products
Targeted Keywords: painting a home, nursery painting ideas, home painting, DIY painting, indoor paint ideas
Some page’s keyword will overlap, that’s a given, but if you are having a hard time finding different keywords to several pages it may be a sign that you don’t need a separate page for it on your website.
Step #3: Turn Your Keywords into Compelling Phrases and Headlines
From here, you just need to take those targeted keywords and make them into a full phrase. Far too often, people do the hard work of developing keywords and then stuff them into the content and gloss over the headline altogether. Crafting the headline to your content is a crucial step, not one to be done haphazardly.
Let’s use our same example from above and turn the keywords into possible blog topics:
“How to Paint a Home on a Low Budget”
“6 Autumn-Inspired Nursery Painting Ideas”
“5 Home Painting Tips From the Pros”
“DIY Home Painting Ideas You’ll Love”
“Indoor Paint Ideas You Won’t Regret Next Season”
Now you have five blog ideas targeted to that search intent. That’s a great start! This isn’t only useful for blogs though. These keywords and phrases should be incorporated throughout your website content, metainformation, ALT tags, and URLs. Remember, Google knows that “painting a home” and “paint a home” mean the same thing, so don’t be too obsessed with keeping the verbiage exactly the same. Google is smart, and can now find synonyms, variants, words definitions, and create associations between them.
After these three steps you should be well on your way to developing a strategy for your content creation. Stop working hard on finding shortcuts to rank better. Work hard on understanding what your audience needs and how they are searching for it so you can provide them with what they are looking for- quality content.
Keyword development is only one aspect of a proper SEO strategy. If you’re looking for the whole kit and caboodle, download our free eBook Modern SEO today and find out even more.