At the foundation of an SEO campaign are the keywords that are targeted. These keywords are implemented throughout the website and included in any content that is published throughout the web on behalf of the business, whether it’s a guest blog post, a company profile on an industry site, or a local directory submission. Therefore, it’s imperative that the proper keywords are targeted. Targeting the wrong keywords can result in website visitors that aren’t going to convert and lead to missed opportunities. In order to select the proper keywords, you need to find out how people are searching for what you have to offer. Many website owners make the mistake of skipping over this step, thinking that they know their target audience so well that they know how they are searching. This often isn’t the case, which is why data is important.
To ensure that you target the right keywords, it’s necessary to follow these steps:
1. Stay organized
Organization is an important element of any business activity today and SEO is no exception. For keyword research activities, create a spreadsheet that includes the URL of every page of the website and two sections per URL. The first section is for keywords that are currently generating visitors and the second is for the new keyword research that will be conducted.
2. Look at current keyword data
Keyword research should be conducted page by page. If you have Google Analytics set up on the site (which every site should!) go in and pull the keyword data for each page. You will be able to see what keywords are currently bringing visitors to each page of the site from organic search. This can serve as a starting point. If these keywords make sense, you can use them throughout the rest of the process. If they are way off base, it may mean that the content itself is off base and may need revision.
3. Brainstorm potential keywords
Carefully read through the content on the page and come up with a list of potential keywords that make sense, and that you’d like to target.
4. Conduct keyword research
This is the part that website owners sometimes skip over, even though it’s the most important part! Using a keyword research tool (like the free one that Google provides), type in the potential keywords to target from the list of keywords that are already generating visitors and the additional ones that have been brainstormed. The keyword tool will generate a list of related potential keywords along with their search volume and level of competitiveness.
5. Scrub the list
The keyword tool can give you a very large list of potential keywords, but they probably aren’t all going to be quite on target. Go through and remove any that aren’t relevant or are too broad. The keywords that you are left with can be targeted on the site and throughout additional SEO content that is published elsewhere on the web.
Use these five steps as a framework for keyword research for your website and you’ll soon find that proper keyword selection is back on track.
Image: Targeting the Right and the Wrong via Shutterstock