Keyword Planning – Welcome to Chapter 2
Let’s quickly recap last week’s lesson:
Last week we discussed in general terms search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Duck-Duck-Go), how they work (spiders, indexes and algorithms), and their SERPs (search engine results pages). Today we will expand on search optimization and focus on Keyword Planning. If you missed last weeks content and want to get caught up, visit SEO for Small Business – Chapter 1.
What happens if I still don’t get it?
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Chapter 2 – Keyword Planning
Keyword planning has two distinct parts. Keyword research is really the first activity an SEO professional embarks on in order to plan a thorough list of keywords a website should or would like to rank for. During keyword research process, new keywords or previously undiscovered opportunities are found and can be placed into the overarching keyword strategy. Additionally we are using key metrics like traffic and search frequency to determine the best opportunities to follow. Keyword strategy is the second part or phase of keyword planning. The strategy is really the decision process of all of the research. What keywords are going to be used and how are they going to be implemented onto the website.
So why are keywords important?
Good keyword research makes clear what search terms are used by your consumers to find your products, services or company on the web. Spending time, money and energy optimizing for keywords that aren’t used by your online audience doesn’t make a lot of sense. However, we often find that words companies use internally are not the same that consumers use externally. So back to our original point, good keyword research makes certain you are utilizing the same language your target audience uses, and therefore makes the entire process worthwhile.
Keywords and Keyphrases
All SEO professionals frequently talk about keywords, keyword strategy, content strategy and more. But many times that does not mean it’s only one word. “Best place to buy a car in Tampa” is a keyword, as is “what to do this weekend in Chicago”. Most often, your keywords are actually keyphrases containing multiple words. We will continue to refer to keyphrases as keywords throughout the chapter, but let’s take a second to illustrate.
Say you are looking for a new car, specifically a fuel efficient SUV. You wouldn’t head over to Google and type “car” or “new SUV”, right? You’d refine that search some. You already knew that fuel consumption mattered to you, so you’d place some disclaimer in your search. Just like you would refine your everyday searches, keyword planning and usage in business should follow the same principles. For example, if you are a dentist – your keywords shouldn’t only be single words such as “teeth”, “cavities”, and “retainers”. There are multiple types of teeth (human, animal, fossil), cavities (teeth, TSA searches) and retainers (like that lawyer you have on call) – some of which apply themselves in no way to dentistry. But more importantly, your potential patients don’t search this way. So when planning our keyword strategy we again need to be mindful of the phrases and terminology people are utilizing for maximum customer conversion.
Make sure your Keywords fit your site content
Be cognizant that you should be only found for terms that fit your site and your menu of products and services. For example, if we positioned our keyword strategy to rank macbachcreative.com to be found for travel insurance and you navigated here from a SERP (search engine results page), you would be disappointed to find our site and content instead. You’d immediately go back to Google. Ranking on travel insurance for our site will lead to a massive bounce rate, and a high bounce rate tells Google that people do not find what they are looking for based on that search term. This will inevitably lead to a lower ranking on travel insurance for our site. Well that seems pretty obvious to me! It should, but you’d be amazed at the number of clients that come to us with keywords and strategy that don’t make sense. Perhaps not as irrelevant as our example but still off the mark.
So I did everything above, I’m done right? Wrong!
Repeat your keyword research repetitively. That sentence is pretty redundant! Right, so are your keyword research activities. The way people are using Google is changing daily, weekly and monthly. Hashtags, shares, posts, blogs, the way content is consumed – it is always changing. Therefore, SEO keyword planning is a regular exercise. Your product is constantly evolving, becoming better. Your offering is becoming richer. So should your keyword strategy.
Today’s Conclusion – Keyword Planning
Keyword Planning is a major part of the SEO factors that Google (and others) use to order content on the SERP. A well organized site with segmentation of data (Site Structure – our next topic, coming Friday) and strong keyword usage will rank much better than one without. Remember, there are two processes in keyword planning:
Using key metrics like traffic and search frequency to determine the best opportunities to follow. Find new opportunities. Refining or modifying existing keywords to fit new search patterns.
Simply, how are we going to deliver content based upon the traffic analytics of the keyword data we researched?