Keywords are (for lack of a better word) the “key” element of a SEO or content marketing campaign. However, as we outlined in our post last week, Google’s decision to encrypt all keyword searches has made SEO much more challenging. Nevertheless, it is still crucial to implement a plan to research and organize your search keywords campaigns.
In today’s article we will share the six essential steps for creating a keyword plan to increase traffic to your website.
1. Identify and categorize your keywords
Each query entered into a search engine is an “intention”, written as a phrase or string of words. One person can use alternative phrases to describe the same intention, and some alternatives are more popular than others. Further, depending on the step in the buying process, the user can even decide to modify their method for searching. As a keyword analyst, you need to investigate and categorize the different phrases or keywords that are associated with your product or service.
In the following example a customer is searching for flights from Chicago to London:
These are just some examples of different ways someone may search for the same information. Before embarking on an SEO campaign you need to create a similar table identifying the potential keywords that would be relevant to your company. This method is very effective for diagnosing your keywords and finding the most effective ones. You can also add more categories if you need to later.
2. Research your competitors
It is also important to have an idea of which keywords your competitors are using. Perhaps they have a better set of keywords, or maybe they don’t have an SEO campaign at all! To find out which keywords they are using, I suggest installing the “Web Developer” Firefox or Chrome extension.
After installing the “Web Developer” extension, browse to your competitor’s website, click on the icon and select the “Information” tab, then click on “View Meta Tag information”, as shown:
Next, build a table with the keywords of your competitors, and include the meta tag description. I’ve created a sample table which you can use to note down your competitors’ keywords.
If your competitor´s website does not have keywords in their meta tags, read through their content and see which words they are using frequently. These will probably be the keywords they are targeting.
3. Research the queries
Now that you have a wide selection of keywords, including your own and your competitors’, it’s time to figure out which are the most useful for your business.
In the spreadsheet above you will find two sheets: the first (YKW), is the bundle of your keywords sorted by category; the second, is the list of your competitor’s keywords. In this tab there are two columns for each competitor: the first shows the list of keywords they are using, and the second shows the number of queries for each word in the last 12 months. How can you find this valuable information? Use Google’s awesome “keyword planner” feature and input a list of your keywords in the “Search ideas for keywords Ads Groups” section. After selecting the “Ideas for keywords” tab, you should see something like this:
Click on the “chart” icon and you will see how many times the keywords were searched for every month in the past 12 months. You will also see the most popular period for searches related to your business. By now, you only need to know the average queries per month, which in this case is 90. Do the same with your other words.
4. Choice and implementation
Armed with your keyword data, you should have a good idea of which ones to use for your website. But remember: the words with the highest queries do not always mean more qualified traffic. Instead it is good practice to choose the words whose meaning or concept are closest to your product or service. If the keyword has a lot of queries, but doesn’t include what your business offers, don’t use it.
After determining which keywords to use, start crafting your content with those keywords spread liberally throughout.
5. Writing the website description
Your website will need to have a description which appears on search engines. This description is very important. The visitor will see the description in the search-results and in, many cases, a good description can help you capture a lead. Try to be confident and talk to the user with words like “you”. Also explain what your main business is and your experience in the market. Finally, don’t forget the Call to Action: Visit our Web Site, Call Us, and so on. Long descriptions do not work, try to keep it to 256 characters.
6. The follow-up
You may have more keywords than you can use in your website. Try to find relevant places to use these keywords. If you have a blog or a Google+ Page, it is a good place to do it. In this case, use one or two keywords for every 100 words or so. Use your other list for developing content and promote them in forums, chats, comments, and social media, they will all help you improve the quality of your traffic.
How do you ensure your website is effectively optimized for search engine traffic?
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