A keyword or key phrase is a word or term that is used to search for relevant content through search engines. In order to rank organically in search engines a website’s content needs to be optimized for keywords that relate to the content of the pages. The strength of a keyword is measured on three traits: relevance, competition and value.
The main purpose of a search engine is to produce the most accurate and relevant search result, which means if you don’t optimize the most relevant keywords your search engine ranking may actually worsen. When identifying keywords to optimize for your content, keep in mind those keywords that fit your content may not be worded the same by the users. For example: Users may search for “registering a patent” while the correct term is “filing a patent”. However optimizing the former phrase would yield better results.
Everyone strives to have their content pages ranked as number one in search results, which means the broader the keyword or phrase the greater the competition. The greater the competition for a keyword the more resources required to rank high for it. The more specific a key phrase the closer it leans towards the long tail. The name is derived from the appearance of the keywords when plotted on a graph. These long tail phrases have the highest conversion rate, why? Because the further the user is in the sales process the more likely they are to know exactly what they are looking for. The long tail phrases pose less competition and allow you to target niche markets. Which also means you can rank well for them with considerably less resources.
It is important to note that not all keywords are created equally. For example: you may discover through web analytics tools that your website gets a lot of hits for the search phrase “digital marketing agency” however these hits have a very low conversion rate, because the people using that search phrase are usually looking for employment - not your products.
How do I start?
Kick off your keyword research with a brainstorming session. Gather your talented staff and start suggesting possible keywords and phrases that may apply to your content. Try to put yourself in the user’s position. How would a typically user describe your products? At the end of this session you should have at least a couple hundred words and phrases.
Tools of the trade
Next you need to test these words and phrases using analytics tools. I would suggest trying the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. This tool allows you to enter multiple key words and phrases to identify their volume of search; additionally this tool also suggests similar and related phrases. Another great tool is the SEOmoz.org Keyword Difficulty Tool which allows you to analyse the level of competition for each key word or phrase. A Few other ‘cool’ tools to consider include: Google Trends, Google Insights Tool, Bing Commercial Intent Tool and Bing Mutation Detection.
The added benefit of conducting an elaborate keyword research campaign is that, other than creating new opportunities for converting leads, you are conducting actual market research into your target demographic. In the past market research had to be conducted through expensive and time-consuming activities such as focus groups and the issuing of questionnaires. Now all it takes is some tinkering with web analytics tools and you’re set.
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Julian Karstel is a Digital Marketing Consultant for Sound Idea Digital | @Julian Karstel | Julian@soundidea.co.za |
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