Whenever I’m starting a new SEO campaign, I always begin with a heart dose of Keyword Research. Well before you touch any Meta data or link building, you need to know what keywords you’re website is going for.
This is hardly a new concept, as many SEO pros will tell you that starting a campaign with Keyword Research is a “Best Practice”. But many times some of the hidden gems of keyword research go unnoticed. A carefully chosen select set of keywords is the fuel for a well structured, effective SEO campaign. There are many posts that help you perform keyword research, but this post is focused on creating good copy following this initial study. Your list of targeted words and phrases helps you find competitors, submit to relevant directories, target the right anchor text, define meta data and, most notably create good copy.
Focus, Focus, Focus
Whether your next SEO project is a blog, an online store, or company homepage, the engines want to see a consistent expertise before they give you high ranking SERP’s. This is why you’ll be glad you spent more than five minutes on Google’s Keyword Suggest tool when coming up with your set of keywords and long-tail phrases.
When creating your keyword list, make sure these are terms with which you can create interesting copy. By that I mean, simply creating the list isn’t enough — it must be at top of mind each time you whip up an article marketing piece, blog post (guest or otherwise), and/or product description. Writing post after post on the same subjects might get difficult, but that’s for another discussion.
I Have My List, Now What?
Put it to the test! After you’ve used your keyword set to write copy and create content on your site, see if you’re on the right track. There are a number of tools out there that help you find keywords for your site, but in order to test your work, you need to flip the test around. See if the search engines know what your terms are based on your copywriting with these three tools (if you know more, let me know!):
- Google Adwords’ Keyword Suggest: Insert your website in the “Website” box and see if the terms returned match your keyword list.
- SEOmoz Term Extractor: This tool identifies what terms the search engines see when they crawl your page. SEOmoz also has some helpful hints to help you use this information to better your site.
- SEOmoz Term Target: Input a series of your targeted keywords and receive a grade as well as some helpful insight into why your site scored the way it did.
Always Be Researching
Once you’ve mastered your first set of keywords, it’s time to move on to the next set. It’s crucial to remember to keep checking on keyword performance throughout the campaign. With each new piece of copy posted to your site, measure the effect it has on your keyword rankings. (Google Analytics’ can provide this insight.) Make sure to keep your keywords at the heart of the campaign.