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How to Develop and Refine Your Keyword Strategy

Your website is an extension of your business and it needs to be defined using content and context so that both search users and search engines, like Google, can understand what it is you do and sell.  This is one of the many segments that make up Search Engine Optimisation.

And it all starts with keywords…

What are users searching for and what is their original intent?

A good website will have content that informs the users that they have landed on the right page because it is what they were searching for. 

What is the user’s search intent?

There are tools, such as Ahrefs or Semrush, that will help you identify what users are specifically looking for, how competitive those words and phrases are, and how often they are being searched for each month.

  • Think: What is my ideal customer looking for? What do they ask?
  • Plug in a couple of short phrases that represent how your ideal customer may search.
  • See what the tool spits out in terms of related searches and search  volumes. Select the phrases that look interesting by checking the box next  to those phrases.
  • Try again – plug in a couple of other possible phrases and see what  Google comes up with. Select the interesting phrases.
  • You can then download all of the phrases that you selected at one  time for future reference.
  • Pick the phrases that have high search volume (i.e. high demand)  and that are specific enough to what your company offers. Both Ahrefs and  Semrush also allow you to assess each keyword “difficulty”, i.e. how difficult it will be to compete for top 10 results. Start with choosing  keywords with low to medium, keyword difficulty.
  • Using the more interesting phrases with informational intent, develop website or blog content targeting the customer profile you’re  trying to attract.
  • Use basic SEO (focusing on this phrase) to increase the  likelihood of Google picking it up, including things like page titles, image file names and Alt Tags, headings and  internal linking. 

Through using this keyword data, you can create content that appeals to your user’s search intent.

A note on keyword modifiers and search intent

People search using different strategies – or using different perspectives. I’m sure you’ve tried this when searching for things yourself.

Do they include modifiers in their searches (like corporate, small business, commercial)? Are they looking for a wholesaler, indicating that they are a reseller or want to buy in bulk? Keyword modifiers help you group your keywords as well as better understand your customers’ searching patterns:

All of these keyword modifiers signal different search intent of your future customer. These modifiers can also help you create your buyer personas and better understand what stage of a buying journey they are at.

One of the most important ways to rank in Google is to specifically create content for pages on your website that use the phrases that your ideal customers use when searching. Each specific search intent deserves a specific buying journey.

Use existing content

If you already have a website, scrape the content you already have for keywords that identify your business. 

Review those keywords, by looking into how you can add more helpful meaning to the terms and phrases, so that it easily identifies your business’ message.

By using tools such as Search Console and Google Analytics you can identify user behavior and user searching patterns. Important factors to considers are:

  • How much time a user spent on your site
  • How they got to your site (was it on a mobile device, organic     ranks, mentions etc.)
  • How many pages they viewed
  • How many of them followed one of your sales funnels

Engagement is key! If someone was searching for something, did your website deliver, did it satisfy their search need?

Based on this data, I highly recommend creating personas of your ideal customer for your business. This will help identify keywords that define the type of a company you have, objectives of your business, whether you sell products or services, where you are located etc. 

Competitive keywords analysis

Your competitors will be using similar keywords to help rank their websites. 

Research as many competitors and glean from them the keywords they are using to describe their products, services, and/or a business identity.

There are lots of competitive intelligence tools that offer you those insights, including above mentioned Ahrefs and Semrush. Just type your competitor’s domain and the tool will list keywords they are ranking for, organic search traffic they are generating and more:

Ahrefs also offers you detailed ranking history data allowing you to spot which organic positions your competitors are gaining or losing.

Measuring you keyword strategy success: Conversion goals

Ranking for keywords is fickle now that Google’s core algorithm updates are focused on providing search users with quality content and trustworthy brands. 

It is not just about driving traffic, but driving the right traffic to your website. Most companies should rank well for any branded terms, however it is a lot harder to rank for key words and phrases that help increase visibility in SERPs or convert clicks into sales or leads.

Google Analytics allows web marketers to create goals that measure conversions. This will identify what keywords are sending quality traffic to your site and understand how well they are converting. 

A common goal in analytics that you might want to set up is if visitors fill in the contact form (potential leads).This will help you understand what keywords are working well. Other useful goals to measure include:

  • URL destination
  • Visit duration
  • Pages visited
  • Events
  • Signing up to a newsletter
  • Purchasing of a product
  • Downloading of a brochure

Always remember: Keywords help you understand your target audience

Getting in the head of your ideal customer, seeing how they actually search and turning that knowledge into targeted content is the first step to basic SEO.

While constructing your keyword strategy to enhance the SEO of your website, always keep the user in mind, so they have a positive and relevant experience on your site. This is key to creating a customer-centric content strategy.

Use your keywords to create sticky, insightful and memorable content that not only drives traffic but takes your site users down the sales funnel.


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