Something easily overlooked in content creation is the importance of keywords. Marketers often think about keywords when optimizing a website for search, but keywords are equally important is for ALL content you create, such as blog posts, white papers, eBooks, press releases, etc.
It's a great idea to develop a list of keywords that you use consistently throughout all of your content. Of course, this begs the question: how do you know what the right keywords are? As a starting place, consider these five tips.
Avoid gobbledygook at all costs
I hate gobbledygook in any situation, but it's especially deadly with keywords. However, I see this all the time: a company uses certain terms to describe their product or service, and they focus on getting ranked for that phrase. While it may make them feel good to see themselves on the first page, it doesn't mean anything if readers aren't searching for that term. Use a tool like Google's Keyword Tool to see how much search volume any given keyword has.
Think about keyword search volume based on your objective
Should you use keywords that have the highest search volumes? It depends.
From an SEO perspective, it's often better to use very specific keywords with limited search volumes. Not only are you more likely to be found, but your traffic is more likely to be targeted. If use popular, generic terms, you aren't likely to rank. Again, the Google Keyword tool is great at providing suggestions.
However, while using specific, targeted keywords is a great tactic for SEO, it's not a great plan for choosing an effective title for your content. Becasue the title of a piece is so often picked up by RSS feeds and social media sites like Twitter, select widely-used terms that people are tracking and searching on.
Map keywords to your audience
One of my clients has three distinct audiences with distinct needs and concerns. What does this mean? Each audience is searching for different information -- using different terms. For instance, one audience is focused on reducing carbon emissions while another audience is focused on saving costs and improving customer service. As you can easily see, these audiences will be using different search terms, and you need to plan for that.
Map keywords to your buying process
Just as you map content to the buying process, do the same thing with your keywords. This may not immediately seem necessary, but think about this example: if you are a marketing automation company, your prospects may initially be searching on phrases such as lead generation and lead management. However, as they do more research, they may start searching on more specific terms such as lead nurturing, lead scoring and marketing automation, terms they may even known that existed when they started to search.
Track keywords to see which are converting
Truthfully, finding the right keywords has a lot to do with trial and error: developing an initial list, monitoring results and making changes. If you are running a program like Google Analytics, you can easily see which words people are using to get to your website. You may be tempted to focus your energy on the keywords that are driving the most traffic to your website, but look to see what is happening once someone arrives.
For instance, I was reviewing Google Analaytics for one of my clients this weekend, and they were getting traffic for a number of keywords. However, I focused on the keywords that resulting in someone digging into the site instead of those with higher volumes that only went to one page.
What other tips do you have for finding the perfect keywords?
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About the author: Michele Linn is a B2B content strategist who helps companies create content and think through how their B2B prospects will consume it (from registration to promotion). You can follow her on Twitter or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B.