SEO: Real Keyword Research, Don't Rush This

Search engine optimization is more than just following best practices.  You must start by definig the fundamental strategy and business goals that need to be reached as a result of the SEO effort.  Many SEO’s will just do the general keyword research, find terms that are relevant and highly searched, and then use these in the keyword assignment/application. 

 There is so much more to real SEO and it all starts with in depth discovery:

  • Discuss current and future business goals
  • Define conversion factors that need to be a result of new organic traffic
  • Review financial goals, profit margins, and key products and services that drive the most revenue
  • Gain a deep understanding of the target audience and demographics
  • Consider not only what keywords apply but how the target audience might use these in search queries

Once you have gone through this process you should spend time digging deep into keyword research and try to dial down on your top 20 list.  This can be a difficult task and should not be rushed.  For example, if you have an e-commerce platform that sells hundreds of products I suggest starting with the top product categories.  List four or five keyword phrases that apply to each category.  Then start zeroing in on your key revenue drivers of areas of focus.  This will be an ongoing process throughout the life of the campaign so do not get too bogged down in the process, but be very thoughtful about it.  Everyone from the CEO to the sales and marketing team should be involved. 

Once you have your “inal list of top “money” keywords, do one last revue with management so that everyone is on the same page about campaign goals.  You must weigh many factors:

  • Keywords apply to business goals and relevant to users
  • Consider how often terms are searched and how competitive the terms are – use open source SEO tools to gather data
  • Just because a term is not searched much does not mean you should strike it off your list (consider the long tail)
  • Have a blend of broad (competitive) terms and long tail (niche) terms
  • Keep in mind that plural and singular are different terms in Google’s eyes
  • Be specific because you final list will direct the link building strategy

This process defines the strategy and will affect every move you make moving forward so don’t rush through this process.  This process will help you avoid having a shotgun approach as apposed to a sniper approach.  When you start seeing results, they will be the right results that drive qualifies traffic and convert.

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