Before we begin the online marketing campaign, knowing the goals & objectives is a paramount step! Followed by the strategy for executing the campaign comes into the picture and the process starts with a keyword strategy. This is the very first & an important step. Keyword research is a major component of the entire digital marketing. Finding the right keywords for your website/blog should be the primary task before you rev the campaign’s throttle.
Now, in 2017, the internet is filled with numerous tools that will help you in creating the right keyword strategy. Knowing what strategy & tools to use matters a lot to rank and gain the traffic to the site with high conversion rate. When you check Google Analytics, SEMrush, and other online tools, keywords explain where organic search traffic comes from.
Keywords are the backbone of Search Engine Optimization because it helps in optimizing the website content to appear on the first page of Google Search Engine Results page. However, keyword research is not about just Search Engine Optimization. It’s the hardcore element & foundation of all the digital marketing practices. Keywords speak about your company & services you are known for. In this Insider’s guide, I’ll explain how to amplify your keyword strategy to boost rankings, drive maximum traffic to your website in order to bring in the most qualified leads.
Keyword Strategy: User Intent Based Keywords
Modern-day Digital marketing is all about the user intent. The online presence of your brand can be improved by focusing more on the user trends, user behaviors & user actions.
As a business owner, you need to build a customer persona & get into the heads of your customers when they consume your content on the internet. Today’s search engines work on behavioral learning algorithms that help users to find the relevant information.
The purpose behind a search query keeps varying from user to user. This is why you should create specific content for specific personas. It is very important to know the intent of the user by understanding the various stages of marketing buying funnels.
The funnel involves 4 stages. Initially, starts with brand awareness where the brand reaches the audience, then comes the decision-making stage & conversion followed by retention as the final stage where you retain the customer by long-term engagement and making him your loyal customer.
There are 3 basic types of search queries that sync up with marketing funnel.
- Informational search query
Information search queries are usually made by users who are looking for information on the internet. They are still in awareness stage. They have a problem & looking for a solution. This stage is suitable to reach your audience with the solution to their problems. See the below example:
So, the search term used here is a pure informational query. The user wants to know the idle clothes to wear for trekking/hiking. The user will definitely click the “Featured Snippet” & “People also ask” sections. You should always target long tail keywords & questions as keywords to reach the featured snippet & people also ask sections based on your niche categories. Always target simple & straightforward keywords often used by your target audience.
- Transactional search queries
Transactional search queries are made by users who are in decision-making stage. They need the product & they are deciding which brand is the best & can solve their problems. This is the time to match your keywords with the user’s search terms. See the below example:
For transactional queries, the user is looking to buy the product so you can target keywords such as:
1. trekking jackets online
2. trekking jackets for men
3. hiking gears online
4. camping shoe price
- Navigation search queries
Navigation search queries are usually made by users who are looking for a particular type of product from the known brand website. They already know the brand but searching if the site has the particular product to buy. See the below example:
For Navigation queries, the user is looking to buy the product from the known brand so target keywords such as:
1. hiking shoes woodland
2. wildcraft trekking jackets
3. hiking gears amazon
4. trekking shoes decathlon
Keyword Strategy: Competitor’s keywords
After studying the user intent & behavior of the target audience, it’s very important to know the competitor’s keywords & strategies. Normally, I have come across many people who don’t take their competition seriously when they carry out keyword research for their brands.
In order to begin this strategy, you have to make a list of your competitors and see what keywords they rank for. What kind of ad copies are they using & what networks & countries they are targeting? The data can be obtained with the help of follow.net to know your competitors very closely.
Now, you already have come up with your keyword starter list using your own seed keywords & competitors data with the help of above-mentioned site. You have to check whether your chosen keywords are already being used on other sites in their content or not! There are plenty of free and paid tools available online like SEMrush, Ahrefs etc. for you to carry out your competitor research.
Once you get all the details by using the tools, you need to explore the untapped keywords surrounding the keyword cloud of your competitor keywords. Look into the search term report to see how exactly the users are searching to click & land on the respective landing pages. Burst the competitors’ keyword cloud and come up with LSI keywords to target your audience.
Keyword Strategy: Pay attention to Google
Ignoring Google tools for keyword research will be a big blunder during the execution of the strategy. The Google AdWords keyword planner tool helps you for building the strong keyword list based on your niche area. With the help of AdWords keyword tool, keyword and ad group ideas can be searched very easily, you can see how a list of keywords might perform. Also, you can even combine keyword lists to create new ones. It also helps you choose competitive bids and budgets to use in your campaigns.
You can check the keyword’s monthly searches, suggested bids, ad impression share, average position and many other important factors that help you in creating a keyword list for your brand using this planner tool. This helps to lay the groundwork for a successful campaign. No matter your budget or company size, this tool can help you customize your keywords for more efficiency.
You also need to use Google suggest feature to get keyword ideas for your niche and brand. Google suggest is the feature of Google search. The Google algorithm attempts to suggest the best matching search queries for the entered search term. Normally you will see 3 to 6 suggested terms that will be highly relevant sometimes for the term you enter. This might help you to gather more relevant keywords based on the suggestions given by Google.
Also, take a look at related search terms at the bottom of the first page in Google SERP. Just put your core keyword and scroll down to check the related keywords. Google gives you a lot of related keywords on adding the search query. There are again a lot of Interesting Search techniques by Google that might save your time & resources during the execution of your strategies!
Keyword Strategy: Long-tail Keywords
When users are closer to the point of purchase, they always use long phrases while searching for their products/services. Long tail keywords are longer and more specific phrases used also during the voice search! Long tail keywords help you to establish better lines of communication between your business & the customers who are present in the market & are actively looking out for products that you deal with.
Think like a customer: You want to buy a blue colour V neck polo t-shirt online. If you google the word “tshirt”, what are the chances that you will end up clicking the ads based on this broad keyword “tshirt”? But, if you google “blue colour V neck polo t-shirt online” chances are, you will click the ad copy and buy then and there because you know what exactly you are looking for to buy right away! So long tail keywords always help you to increase CTR & conversion rate of your campaign.
If you want your content to rank higher in organic Google searches, you need to use long tail keywords for your businesses! Also, very much valuable if you are an advertiser running paid search marketing campaigns. Because, when you bid on long-tailed keywords, the cost per click will be lower due to less competition.
It’s very easy to find long-tailed keywords for your brand with a lot of online tools. I use UberSuggest & KWFinder to find long tail keywords so that I can use it in my content depending on the audience.
Long tail keywords are important for two reasons. To identify what exactly the user is looking for, and target the specific long-tail search terms googled by users to gain the traffic.
Keyword Strategy: Local Keywords
If you have a local business/small business, there is the quickest way for your business to rank higher in Google SERP on the first page & gain good traffic. This is possible with the help of local keywords. You should always target your local customers very specifically by using location name in the keyword. Google can see the users approximate location and it keeps on tailoring the results every day to their geographical location.
You have to include the cities, towns, neighborhoods, streets and area names in the content on your website and blog posts. Customers look for businesses near to them, not for businesses who are far from them. Always, pick the local geographic keywords that you have used in the content on your websites/blog posts & your physical location of your business.
For example, a list of local keywords for a cake shop may include manipal cake shops, cakes in jayanagar, best cake shop in hubli, birthday cakes bangalore, oreo cakes kormangala etc.
Always use modifiers in your keywords when you are targeting local customers. These modifiers may include words that describe quality (ex. “best”), specific occasion (ex. “wedding”), a specific type of your product/service (ex. “cakes), or special USPs of your local business (ex. “same day delivery”).
A list of modifying keywords for a cake shop may include exotic cakes, beautiful wedding cakes, best cake shop, beautiful cakes, wedding cake, wedding pastry cake, christmas cake, best sponge cakes, cake delivery, same day delivery cake etc.
For your long-term online marketing success, carry out this keyword strategy to optimize the website content & your keywords to make your brand’s website appear on the first page of Google Search Engine Results page. Remember to make use of user behavior & trends while creating the keyword strategy. Your keywords should be the connecting factor between your business & search queries made by users.
Competitive research is a major step when creating a strategy. Know your competitors well to knock them off with the help of data you get from keyword research tools. Don’t forget to use Google tools during your keyword research phase. Sometimes Google serves way better results compared to third-party tools available online.
You should treat long tail keywords as your friends because they get you real customers for your business. Integrate long tail search terms into your blogs. Do it like you are talking to your customers one-on-one just like how I’m doing with you from 5 minutes! 🙂
Local keywords should be included in your list with various modifiers & location names. Target exactly based on your customer’s location by using the local keywords in your website & also bid for those local keywords. I’m sure you will achieve greater results after applying this strategy for your brand. I have shared my best practices here & I’m sure there is certainly plenty more you can do with your keyword research strategy.
When was the last time you performed keyword research for your website? What are your favorite tools for quick SEO keyword research? Comment down below & let me know 🙂
22/09/2017 – Harshith Das