Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Search Keyword Discovery - The Foundation of Digital Marketing

Search Keyword Discovery is the first and foremost action a business needs to take before they build a Web site, or before redesigning the one they have. Not surprisingly then, it's also the way most digital marketing consulting engagements begin. In fact, it's really the foundation of all Digital Marketing.

Why is this? Because the words you optimize your pages for matter. Search Keyword Discovery
The right keywords are probably not words that are about you or your company. They probably won't include the name of your product, service or business. Nor should you optimize for the name of one of the divisions of your company or your CEO's favorite word. It's about understanding what audience problem your business solves and discovering the words that your visitors will search for to solve that problem. When you have that insight, then you create pages of quality content around each of those words. One keyword, one page.

Because to create quality content that your audience can find, you need to start with the keywords they will use to find it. As prevalent as SEO has become, when most companies think about 'optimizing' pages for search, they think: Put the terms you want your pages to score for in the right places on the page and in the code so that the search engine ranks your page highly for those words. But it's not that simple anymore.

This 'paste it on' approach to SEO would probably have been pretty effective 3-5 years ago, but since Google's most recent updates have focused on content quality, the content on your page needs to truly be based on those keywords to score highly. And if you're going to be writing pages about a set of keywords, it's best to be sure those keywords are the ones your audiences are searching for.

It's more trouble to do it this way, but the upside is that if you do this right, your audience will find your page and the content you present to them will be what they're looking for. So they'll stay. And if you give them the opportunity to engage with you on that page, such as a registerable offer, they'll engage

Effective Keyword Discovery - How it's Done
As I mentioned, most digital consulting engagements start with Keyword discovery because businesses know they don't have the traffic they need and many have heard that SEO is the solution to that problem. So that's what they come to us for. We start with brainstorming. We work with our client to come up with a list of keywords to start with.

To create quality content that your audience can find, you need to start with the keywords they will use to find it.
Sometimes, depending upon the client's resources, we'll also use social listening to identify words that the market is using to talk about subjects that are relevant to the client's business. We'll add these words to the seed list too.

The next step in the discovery process is to put these seed words into a tool that will give us a larger list of related words, along with the search opportunity (the number of searches for a word per month) and the level of competition (expressed as a percentage) for each word. The art is in finding keywords that are most relevant to the customer's business which have a good balance of higher opportunity and lower competition. Only trial and error -- and experience -- can help with this.

Once we've identified the words, it's time to start building a page of content around each of them. Now the old SEO rules come back into play. The keyword needs to appear in a number of specific places and a sufficient number of times on the page to get the highest google rank. We run tests on the pages to validate the SEO, make any necessary adjustments, make sure we have a good set of metrics on the existing site for the last few months as a benchmark, then the new pages are ready to go live.

On a regular cadence (monthly, quarterly, half yearly) We'll re-assess the metrics, run the SEO tools against the pages to check their progress and run the keyword discovery tools to determine if there are any new words we need to include or old ones we need to retire.

If you follow this process closely, and keep your pages fresh, you should see an immediate improvement, then a steady climb in search rank for your pages over time. There will also be an accompanying increase in traffic, time on site and - if you provide visitors a way to engage, such as offers they can register for, live chat assistance, etc, you'll also see an increase in engagement.

Let us know if we can help. 914 715 6715.

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Next week: Social Listening

Ken Godfrey

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