Keywords Research and Discovery

The world of SEO may be changing with more importance being placed on social, links and user behavior but one thing that will remain constant is a good keyword strategy.

There is no magic formula to generate a perfect keyword research strategy. Don’t bother about keyword density, this is no longer relevant to your SEO plans, it’s not worth worrying about. Instead keep in mind how a user searches when online. They will typically search for a broad keyword, for example “jeans”. They will then constantly refine this search by adding further words i.e. “gstar jeans” until they actually type in a full query i.e. gstar jeans 2009 season under 100 pounds”.

This theory really feeds into the old saying “Target the head, mine the long tail”, which is related to the 80-20 rule something I have wrote about before. 80% of volume comes from 20% of searches and vice versa. So a good keyword strategy should target competitive keywords (20%) mapped to the most important areas of your site (as determined by your internal link structure) and you can target long tail keywords in your interior pages. I would split that 20% into two sub categories, Major and Secondary. But I will discuss this under “Keyword Mapping” in this series.

When looking to create a good keyword strategy I would suggest the following are good places to start:

Brainstorm initially to create a seed list. This can be centered around the following points:

– What do you as a company offer. What defines you as a brand ?
– What offerings does your company have ? What makes those offerings unique ?
– Localized search is becoming extremely important so pay attention to where you are located and look at your competitors under local search
– Try to think of all keyword variations
– And the old chestnut, think like a user. What keyword would you use to find your site

Another obvious avenue is to look at your competitors keyword strategy. Using tools such as spyfu and keyword elite you can quickly determine what keywords your competitors deem relevant and where they rank for them. I will be discussing this in the next part of this post.

Finally if your site is already up and running with incoming traffic. Then you can check your analytics package to look through which organic search terms are currently driving traffic to your site. There may be some keywords you are not targeting that are big drivers. Perhaps these can be improved upon.

In the next post in this series I will be going through automated tools that can do a lot of this work for you. Check out Keyword Research – Automating the process

You can also check out the first part in this series here, SEO at a Glance

About Kieran Flanagan

Online Marketer who implements both inbound and paid strategies to help companies grow internationally. Lover of content marketing, SEO, analytics, CRO and strategy. A highly motivated marketing geek high on data crack.