Keyword research and targeting have been around as long as SEO. We all do it at some level.
While context and quality of content are what really matter, we have to at some level determine what keywords or topics we want to be well-positioned for.
There are a ton of great tools, resources, and processes for doing keyword research.
But no matter how good the keyword research process is, there’s always a risk of choosing to target keywords and topics that require a lot of effort and don’t produce the results we want.
Ultimately, we need to be careful to choose the right keywords to optimize for.
We can do so by taking an approach that includes specific principals to keep us on track for the right targeting for our organizations.
1. Identify Goals
It might seem like it goes without saying, but we have to start with goals for any organic or paid search effort.
Knowing ultimately what we want to accomplish at a business or organizational level and working backward to determine how search influences it is our starting point.
If we want to grow our leads, sales, engagement, or other metrics, by a certain amount, we can determine how many search conversions and traffic we need.
To get the traffic, we have to be found for specific keywords and topics.
2. Ask Stakeholders
With goals in place, we’re ready to start finding the right keywords.
To generate a seed list, we can gather insights and ideas from stakeholders like salespeople, other parts of the marketing team, the C-suite, customers, and prospects.
Get input from stakeholders of what they would search for to find your business, your products, your services, or your content.
At this point, take anything they give you. We’re not yet at the step of filtering or judging the validity or accuracy of what they’re telling you.
Capture and build out a list of what you’re hearing and learning.
3. Analyze Competitors
We never want to assume that our competitors are doing it right or well.
However, we have to take a look at what they are targeting and doing.
- Are your traditional competitors outranking you?
- Do they offer the same products, services, or content?
Then, chances are there is something to learn from them.
- Their title and meta description tags.
- The topics of the pages on their site.
- What they are talking about and are positioned for prominently in search results, social media, PR, and beyond.
Create a list of what topics, terms, and phrases you’re finding competitors focusing on that align in any way with your organization and content. – Read more