BrightHaus Digital Marketing Agency

Improve your SEO campaign – Keywords

October 14, 2013

No one who has ever worked with me professionally will be surprised to see this on my list. I can go on and on… and on, and on about the importance of keyword research. And there is good reason for this – the right keywords can really make your campaign even before page one or two results:

new keywords

In fact, I would argue that keyword selection is probably the single most important decision you will make in your optimization process, so you better make the right choice. How do you know which ones are right?

Thorough. Keyword. Research.

To break it down, a good keyword meets the following criteria:

  • has a good search volume
  • competition with a reasonable or comparable amount of backlinks
  • is attractive to the client
  • produces relevant search results
  • likely to drive strong leads to the site

Since the Keyword tool disappeared, that first point is far more difficult to establish. I recently had to show a client that the keywords which were driving the most organic traffic to his site were estimated by the keyword planner at only one quarter his actual monthly traffic for those exact terms. What that means is that the keyword planner provides incredibly conservative monthly search volume estimates, and to bear in mind that it is only one way to measure the viability of a keyword.

I had a client ask me recently why we would go for keywords with competition in the same league as their site; surely it would be a better strategy to begin work for the more competitive keywords now. The truth is, that is simply a different strategy. There are multiple schools of thought on the subject, but my recommendation is to get you a return on investment as soon as possible. If your site is only newly established, or you have been the unfortunate victim of one of the many updates that have been released by Google recently, then we want to get you established on page one of Google and a return on investment as soon as possible. Assuming that you’ve followed my advice, these keywords will also have a reasonable estimated search volume and/or trending data and will produce relevant search results, so this would hardly be a wasted effort. It would be quite the opposite, really, because as we work to get you to the front page for the less competitive keywords, we are still laying a strong foundation for a more competitive & aggressive campaign later on. But in the mean time, you are still getting improved traffic metrics and (ideally) those leads are converting when they get to your site.

Unfortunately, you are unlikely to find many keywords that meet all these points every time for every client. However, the more of these boxes you can tick the better the SEO campaign will be. For these reasons, keyword research does not end with the Google AdWords keyword tool (or, soon, the Keyword Planner).

Having the right keywords can impact your campaign dramatically, even if you are not on the first one or two pages of the Google search results.


5 Comments

  • Hello Christine,

    Couldn’t agree with your post more. Couple of questions:

    1.What other tools are you using to vet traffic volumes besides the Keyword Planner, because the keyword planner is AWFUL!?

    2. I’m confused on your process for how you build up pages for less competitive keywords and then ultimately switch those pages over to more competitive keywords? How is that possible? Are you building anchor text for longer tail versions of the root term in the first couple of months and then switching the keyword target and thus the content over to the root term say 6 months after kick off?

    • Thanks for your questions. I may have to add an edit to clarify!

      1) I feel your pain on the keyword planner. I do still use it, but in conjunction with the Google Trends tool, SEMrush, MajesticSEO and the client’s Analytics and Webmasters tools to find the best possible keywords to select. Analytics and Webmasters Tools can give us insights into what is already driving traffic, converting and how people are trying to use the site. This data is invaluable for informed keywords research! Sometimes we don’t have access to all of these tools right away, which makes keyword research much harder – but not impossible. A lot of this also comes from experience and knowing how to anticipate the needs of a client.

      I am actually going to do a much more involved follow up post to this regarding how to do keyword research now that the keyword tool has been replaced. Keep an eye on this space.

      2) Good SEO isn’t wholly dependent on explicit keywords as much as it used to be. Part of our strategy includes implicit queries and supporting variations on keywords, as well as on the explicit keywords that are the foundation to the campaign.

      Optimization, at this time, still focuses explicitly on the keywords we are going for (because those terms may be entirely different than the more competitive keywords we are eventually going to be going for). However we are still laying a strong foundation for different keywords down the line because our SEO methodology includes increasing your web presence, raising brand awareness and social media. These strategies are not necessarily keyword specific and make it easier for us to approach more competitive keywords at a future date.

    • Christine Martindale says:

      Thanks for your questions. I may have to add an edit to clarify!

      1) I feel your pain on the keyword planner. I do still use it, but in conjunction with the Google Trends tool, SEMrush, MajesticSEO and the client’s Analytics and Webmasters tools to find the best possible keywords to select. Analytics and Webmasters Tools can give us insights into what is already driving traffic, converting and how people are trying to use the site. This data is invaluable for informed keywords research! Sometimes we don’t have access to all of these tools right away, which makes keyword research much harder – but not impossible. A lot of this also comes from experience and knowing how to anticipate the needs of a client.

      I am actually going to do a much more involved follow up post to this regarding how to do keyword research now that the keyword tool has been replaced. Keep an eye on this space.

      2) Good SEO isn’t wholly dependent on explicit keywords as much as it used to be. Part of our strategy includes implicit queries and supporting variations on keywords, as well as on the explicit keywords that are the foundation to the campaign.

      Optimization, at this time, still focuses explicitly on the keywords we are going for (because those terms may be entirely different than the more competitive keywords we are eventually going to be going for). However we are still laying a strong foundation for different keywords down the line because our SEO methodology includes increasing your web presence, raising brand awareness and social media. These strategies are not necessarily keyword specific and make it easier for us to approach more competitive keywords at a future date.

  • haris awais says:

    most important part of the seo campaigns are it’s keywords

  • david999 says:

    improving your keywords is not an easy task you have to brainstorm and search for that in order to get ranking

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