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Set a Keyword Strategy in Four Steps to Find Your Following

Posted byFri, Mar 15, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

The keywords you use to describe your business and services are your greatest ally in reaching ideal customers. Each piece of content you publish, whether it be blog post, website or You Tube page description, must contain words and phrases used strategically to help the right audience find you.

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In inbound marketing, keywords are the basis of search engine optimization andcentral to our goal of attracting traffic, converting traffic to leads, closing leads into customers and delighting them into advocators. Use keywords right, and you’ll have a stream of people at your virtual door. And by right I mean, specifically. Think of how hard it is to find running shoes if you search “shoes.” But “black running shoes for men” will produce results describing exactly that.

So how should we categorize your products and services? Here are four steps to establish a keyword strategy:

  • Know who your ideal customer is and what makes them tick. Spend time outlining customer personas: who are they? what is their role? What are they responsible for and what are their goals? There are many questions you could ask, but make sure you have a solid understanding of customer pain points and what they seek to resolve that pain. How might they be searching online, what phrases would they use? It is likely—very common—that the language prospects use in searches differs from how your services are described. That disconnect robs you of precious traffic.
  • Verify if you can rank for a keyword. You need a good keyword tool to get this insight; we get great results with HubSpot’s. What you’re looking for is a balance between low difficulty and a high number of searches per month, which is influenced by how many descriptors, or how long tail, the keyword is. “Shoes” is a general word, it produces billions of results and it considered very competitive to rank for. But “black nike men’s running shoes” is more specific, lower difficulty. Depending on where your prospect is in the decision-making process, you will want to attract them with phrases that vary in degree of specificity. Be sure of what keyword phrases you can rank for; shoot for a difficulty score of 50 or less.
  • Decide what content vehicle you will use to promote your keyword. Ideally, you want to describe your products and services in different ways, because people search with varying degrees of intent: are they just curious about the services you provide or are they trying to decide between you and your competitor? Luckily, you can engage them in different ways, using website pages and blog pages. Website content speaks to business and sales goals. They are considered middle of the funnel-type of content that differentiates you in the marketplace. Visitors searching website pages are often in a more critical phase of decision making—they are exploring solutions and trying to discern their best option. But blog content is often how you entice prospects, a top of the sales funnel vehicle. This content is educational, it serves to attract an audience and entice them to explore beyond the brand. Which to use, when and how? Think of it this way: website content addresses what a visitor is looking for, blogs explore the problems they may have.
  • Use one keyword phrase per content vehicle. Make it simple for users. It should be clear within four seconds of scanning what the page is about. This means that you want one keyword phrase to be the focus of the piece, and it should be used in the title, meta description and body content. Not only will it be easier to understand, search engines will be able to crawl and discern the page more efficiently.

Google’s algorithm is constantly changing, but these four steps provide a solid foundation for your Web presence. How can you start driving more traffic to your site? Blog about your business.

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