7 Steps to Developing a Killer Keyword Strategy

Developing a keyword strategy for your web presence is crucial to driving the highest  volume of the right traffic to your website. But it is easier said than done.

Why is developing a keyword strategy so hard in today’s environment?

Developing a keyword strategy is like hitting a moving for several reasons:

  • Too many search options available to searchers: It’s not just Google and Bing you have to consider but also YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, SlideShare, Pineterst. The list goes on and on.
  • The psychology of human beings and their search methods: Do you know what words they would use to find your product?
  • Customer considerations with respect to stage of the buying process: Are they doing research or ready to buy?  This will impact what they type into a search engine.
  • Availability of the right tools: You have to have access to a variety of different tools in order to to gauge volume, competition and suggestions.
  • Having the right skill-set in your internal team and the bandwidth to focus on this essential but complex and time-consuming tasks.

Here is the Marketing CoPilot 7-Step Guide to Developing a Killer Keyword Strategy

1. Define Your Business Goal

Before you start, you need to know what you are trying to achieve and you need to quantify that goal and know what metrics you will use to measure success.

There are many different goal options but you need to establish up front what the goal of your keyword strategy is and how you will determine if it is successful.

2. Create a Detailed Picture of Your Audience

Who are you targeting?  You may have many different buyer personas for business.  Each one of those personas will search differently.  So, you need to stop and identify your main personas and really dig into their psyches.  What do they want?  What do they need? What are their concerns and frustrations?  Where are they in the buying process? This detailed analysis will allow you to get a better idea of what search terms these personas would use that would drive potential customers to your website.

3. Find Your Seed Keywords

The next step is finding your seed keywords.  How do you describe your products/services?  More importantly, how do your customers and your buyer personas describe your products or services?  You say “potay-toe”, I say “potah-toe”. There are huge differences that can significantly impact your keyword strategy.
Start with your current website and see what keywords are driving the best traffic (Google Analytics or similar).  Look at comments to your blog – what words are people using? Use tools like SEO Doctor to determine what your competitors are doing for their keywords. Use keyword suggestion tools like Market Samurai to come up with alternatives. Bring your team together and have a good old fashioned brainstorming session.  Before you know it, you will have a list of seed keywords as long as your arm.  But that is just the start.

4. Cull to Determine Relevancy & Convert-ability

Once you have a seed keyword list, you need to blow out your keyword list using keyword suggestion tools. You will expand your list to include short seed keywords (1-2 word phrases), short 2-3 word keywords (torso terms) and long-tail terms containing 4-7 word phrases which are more descriptive and will likely bring better quality traffic in smaller numbers.  Coming up with the most extensive list (especially of long-tail keywords to analyze is your goal.
You then need to determine if they are the right keywords.  They need to be highly relevant to your business. They also need to be the types of keywords that will likely be successful in ultimately achieving the goals you set in Step 1. Again, looking at past performance within Google Analytics will be a good indicator of whether you are on the right track.

5. Sort by Volume & Competition

Once you have an exhaustive list of keyword possibilities, you need to analyze them for the right balance of volume and competition. You are looking for keywords with the highest search volume while avoiding keywords that are impossible to compete for. Using a quality keyword research tool like Market Samurai will make this process efficient but don’t forget that a human searches for these word and a human must approve these as the right words for your business.
However, don’t discount the keywords with very low search volume. These are usually the long-tail keywords that will deliver the best visitors and are much easier to compete for.  Pile up enough of them and you have a herd of potential high-quality visitors.

6. Map Back to Goals & Personas

After having developed a list of keywords that are ideal for your business, it is time to revisit the goals and buyer personas you developed in Steps 1 & 2. Review your keyword list and map the keywords back to your goals and persona to ensure they are a good fit to attract your personas and achieve your goals.

7. Setting Benchmarks and Track

The final step in developing your keyword strategy is to set benchmarking.  After implementation of the keyword strategy, it is crucial to perform extensive analysis to determine which keywords are working to achieve your goals and which are not.

Your Living, Breathing (Killer) Keyword Strategy

The success  of your keyword strategy depends on your continued commitment to analysis and development.  What works today might not work tomorrow.  So, it is imperative to continue to monitor and resuscitate your keyword pool in the weeks and months to come.

If you need help with any or all steps, we invite you to come out to our Breakfast Workshop on October 19, 2012 at 8:00am – sign up here and get on the right path to a killer keyword strategy for your business.

Signup to a Killer Keyword Strategy Workshop

Marketing CoPilot