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Having the right keywords is the most important factor in the success of any SEO campaign. If you’re trying to build rankings and grow traffic, knowing what you’re targeting is essential. However, many companies get off on the wrong foot by chasing after the wrong keywords.
Sometimes this is because they don’t quite understand how keywords and SEO work, and sometimes it’s because they have some brand confusion that’s causing them to chase after customers that aren’t a right fit for their business.
Read our blog: What Is Keyword Research and Why Do I Need It?
Resolving these issues isn’t hard, but it does require businesses to think carefully about their customers and be more intentional about the words they’re targeting. Here are four tips to help you craft a keyword strategy that will bring in high quality traffic to your website.
Let’s start with some keyword basics: are you targeting keywords that make sense for your business and your brand? This is often a move of semi-desperation for some businesses. They’re eager to get their brand in front of new audiences, and in their rush to do so, they forget that those audiences might not care who they are.
For example: if you start out your keyword research by looking for any keywords with a high search volume, you’ll probably find a lot of phrases that are related to politics, or the Kardashians, or the Game of Thrones finale. However, you don’t want to chase down a keyword just because it’s trendy if it has nothing to do with you. For one, you probably won’t rank for it, and for another, you’ll just be hijacking traffic that was looking for other information.
A person looking for the latest polling results doesn’t care about your auto parts manufacturing website—at least, not at that moment. Someone googling for a recap of the Bachelorette finale doesn’t want to read about your kitchen gadget.
For most people, the above is pretty obvious and doesn’t need much explaining. If not, remember: this isn’t like running a Super Bowl ad. Google doesn’t owe you rankings, and your visitors aren’t a captive audience.
It would obviously look really bad if your competitors outranked you for your own branded products. For that reason, you should be targeting your own keywords, and you should put ad money beyond them so that you will own your own brand in search results.
In doing so, you’re going to be shoring up your defenses. It should be easier to rank for your own brand keywords because they’re already over your site. You just need to prevent them from being low-hanging fruit that your competitors can pull out from under your feet while you’re looking the other way.
However, your keyword strategy can’t begin and end with branded terms. After all, the traffic searching for your branded keywords already knows who you are. You need to go after more diverse terms if you expect to grow your organic base.
Understanding your buying cycle is an important part of any marketing campaign, and it’s especially important when it comes to your keyword strategy. For instance, you may have a business where new visitors take several months to carefully research their options and talk them over with their board before making a purchase. Or you may be selling a product that customers will buy five minutes after discovering your brand online.
If you’re the former, then you should focus more of your keywords on content that will attract and educate your visitors. If you’re the latter, then you should be building up keywords that direct visitors toward closing content.
For instance, if you run a Japanese restaurant, a piece of “attract” content might be “best Ann Arbor sushi restaurants.” People searching for this phrase probably are thinking about where to go sometime in the future (although they might also be looking for some place to eat tonight). A converting piece of content might be about “how to spot an authentic Japanese restaurant,” which might convince someone to come to your restaurant over a competitor’s. And finally, “sushi near me” is a localized search term that indicates someone who is hungry and ready to go get dinner within the next hour.
Every time you optimize for a keyword, ask yourself: Who will search for this term? And do I want to attract that person to my website?
I’ve talked with many people who believe that all traffic, like all publicity, is good traffic. But let’s state the obvious: Your resources are limited. You can spend a lot of time chasing one set of keywords that have a very low ROI, all while leaving some of your best keywords on the table.
Read our post: Why Blog Keywords Grow Organic Search Traffic
For instance, key phrases that have the words “free” or “cheap” often have high volume—but they’re probably going to attract customers who are ready to invest in your high-quality products. Similarly, some industries have jargon terms that can mean very different things. If you’re a jazz bar running an open mic night to attract aspiring musicians, you will want to differentiate yourself from the comedy club down the road looking for new standup acts.
If you’re still not sure how to create a keyword strategy that will be most effective for your business, get it touch with us. We can do the underlying brand and customer research to understand who to target with your content, as well as an SEO audit to make sure there aren’t any underlying issues with your site. And once we’ve done all that, we can work with your rand to create content to help you rank.