Keyword Strategy: How to Create One for Your Organization
Are keywords the bane of your existence? In a world of all things digital and your boss constantly pressuring you for more information on keywords, search engine statistics, and organic search traffic results, being tasked with finding the “right” keywords can be daunting. And the thought of a keyword strategy might just throw you over the edge.
Putting a keyword strategy in place doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Here are a few tips to get you on track to creating a killer keyword strategy and sending qualified organic traffic to your organization’s website.
Keywords are Only a Part of the Big Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Picture
Let’s note something before we get into the depth and breadth of keywords – keywords are only part of the big (and at times complex) SEO picture, but nonetheless, still important. This blog post aims to help you understand how to research keywords and to help you understand how your target audience may be looking for your organization’s products, services, or information on various search engines.
It’s All in the Research
Have you heard the expression “it’s all in the” … and then something that requires work? In order to get that killer keyword strategy going, you have to put in the time and do your research. Between reading articles, white papers, and e-books to familiarize yourself with the topic of SEO, you should also dig into your web analytics and focus on your target audience(s).
Start by taking a look at your web analytics and see how visitors are currently finding your website organically. Then evaluate how well those keywords are working for your goals. Do they have a high bounce rate? How many pages are they visiting on average? Determine if these are the types of keywords you want to consider for your strategy moving forward.
Long-Tail Keywords: What’s the Value?
There’s a lot of value. In fact, long-tail keywords are arguably the most important factor of keywords in the SEO world today. Why? Because long-tail keywords are the easiest way to target very specific audiences and get the right organic traffic coming to your site.
So wait, what is a long-tail keyword? Long-tail keywords are “longer, and more-specific keyword phrases” that may not have as many searches as shorter one to two keyword phrases, but will target and attract people who are specifically looking for what your organization has to offer.
Think about it: if a website offers the solution you were looking for when searching using four to five words rather than one keyword, then it is very likely you found the “perfect match”. Maybe not, but if you are attracting the people who are using very specific terms to find your products or services, chances are they are a lot more likely to become a lead than someone who just searches one to two terms and finds your website.
As an example, if you are looking for a new pair of shoes that offer great support, your search results are going to be massive if you simply type in “shoes,” and you will likely spend a lot of time trying to find the exact pair you want. If you type in “shoes with arch support” because that’s exactly what you want, you will have a much better user experience sorting through these types of shoes versus filtering through the results of every type of shoe available. And on the flip side, if your organization sells shoes with arch support, you are attracting the right traffic by using this type of description in your content. Long-tail keywords are really a win/win for the user and organization.
Create a Master Keyword List and Keyword Groups
A master keyword list is meant to be high level, yet specific to the subjects you want to rank for. Your list needs to include what you’re selling, whether it’s a product, service, experience, etc. and should speak directly to the type of people who would benefit from your organization.
- What problem does your product/service solve?
- What information are your web visitors going to be looking for?
- What would someone come to your website for?
To make this easier to explain, I’ll use Siteimprove as an example. We have a suite of main tools we sell that are related to many web-related topics, but our keyword list does not simply include words like accessibility, search engine optimization, web governance, etc. We have to dig deeper than that in order to attract the right organic traffic. Someone who wants help with digital accessibility may be searching for “accessibility assistance” or “tool to monitor accessibility compliance”. We could go even further and more specific into accessibility, such as “how to be WCAG 2.0 compliant” or additional keyword phrases related to accessibility regulations. There are endless possibilities, which is why research is so crucial.
So the best way to start out is with a broad term, whether it is related to your product, service, or solution, and grow your list from there (just as the accessibility example above). After you create a list, make sure each keyword and keyword phrase has a group. By grouping the words, it will be easy to implement the keywords into your writing.
Implement Keywords in Your Content
Now to implement! Next time you are planning on writing a new piece of content for your website about a specific topic, focus on a keyword group or two and implement one or more of the keywords/keyword phrases (as many of your topics will probably overlap). Ensure you place the main keyword within the first paragraph, as bots crawl the top of web pages to index them. In fact, research shows the keyword should be in the first 100 words of your content. This is also why your title is so important – it helps tell the search engines what your page is about and ideally, your title should start with the keyword.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing and Poor Copywriting
This isn’t new information – there are been tons of articles out there related to SEO and how relevant, rich content is the most important factor of SEO. If a keyword doesn’t fit naturally into the flow of the writing, then don’t use it. Also, don’t hide keywords on your web pages (for example, white text on a white background hidden at the bottom of your page).
You can even use a keyword density tool to ensure you aren’t being overzealous with a particular keyword in your copywriting. There is no definite good or bad keyword density (as there is no definite with most things in SEO), but you can make a good guess just by reading through your content. If the writing is compelling and relevant without repeating the same word over and over, chances are you’re good to go. If you want to know more, learn what Google experts have to say about keyword stuffing.
Improve Over Time
And now you want to know, how can I be successful? Sadly, SEO is not one and done (this is a trend in all web-related projects), and there will never be a perfect strategy. You should continue to keep up on SEO as much as possible. Read blog posts on SEO topics like what you’ll find in our web governance blog. Meet with your web team and discuss current and new changes in the SEO world.
And most importantly, check your web analytics and see what people are searching for. Then evaluate if your keyword strategy is working. Are visitors coming to your web pages from search terms you are focusing on? Did they take action on your website? Did they turn into leads or prospects?
This is a continuous process that should have some attention at least once a week. If you don’t have time to dedicate to that right now, do the best you can and ensure it is a process implemented moving forward and/or designate a person responsible for SEO on your team. A lot of effort is required for successful SEO, but once it’s going it will be worth it.
Finally, as mentioned in the beginning of the post keywords are not everything. There are so many other considerations – back links, social media, meta descriptions, image ALT tags, click-through-rate (CTR), page load time, and more. For more information on SEO for your organization, check out our guide “17 Killers of Your SEO Efforts and How to Fix Them”.