Keyword planning for SEO is an effective ROI-focused strategy to boost your website traffic. It allows you to tackle your site’s SEO in a systematic way so you can track results and know what content your prospects are actually interested in.
Anytime we start a new marketing engagement, we first focus on keyword planning for SEO. These are the steps we take with our clients to see immediate results:
Analyze Existing Content
If you are seeing a lack of increased organic traffic to your site, this may indicate that your content is not using the language or keywords that your prospects are actually searching for.
You can use Google Keyword Planner to gain an insight into what phrases people are actually searching with. To sign up, you’ll have to create an AdWords account, but you can disable any campaign you create. Then, plug your URL into the planner and go through the suggestions it offers you.
Download the spreadsheet to analyze the suggestions in greater detail and highlight the keywords associated with the ‘extracted from’ column – these are some of the keywords your content is throwing off.
Go through this process with your competitors as well. They’ve likely already done some keyword planning too, so why not take a few hints from them!
Lastly, use Moz’s Keyword Explorer to see the top keywords you’re actually ranking in. Plug in your root domain and take note of the keywords, rank, difficulty, and monthly volumes in the ‘Ranking Keywords’ section.
Research Search Terms
Now is the time to find the keywords people are actually searching that might not be included in your content. Return to Google Keyword Planner, narrow the location if applicable, and enter your service: you may have to do this a few times if you have a number of facets to your business. For example, if you’re a commercial truck supplier, you may search ‘commercial truck rentals’, ‘commercial truck service’, or ‘fleet rental’. If you aren’t sure what to search, you can get a few ideas from the research you conducted in the last step.
Download each report and sort the keywords based on search volume. Keywords with higher volumes likely have more competition and large businesses ranking for them, so steer clear if you can. Find keywords in the 1000 or less range: these keywords are more specific and usually have more motivated searchers.
Take note of the keywords you find, their search volumes, and suggested bid/competition if you plan on doing google advertising. By now, you should have a list of about 50-100 keywords specifically chosen for your business and prospects.
Time to combine all of the lists you’ve just made! Create a spreadsheet that tracks all your keywords, the search volumes, keyword rank (if applicable), and ranking URL (again, if applicable).
You might already have content that isn’t performing well but can be repurposed to target a new keyword. Comb through your site and assign any webpage that isn’t ranking with a new, appropriate keyword. Track these URLs in a ‘Targeted URL’ column with the associated keyword.
Lastly, indicate any keywords that don’t have a URL yet. These keywords will inform your content creation strategy!
With your list of keywords that need content, create a schedule based on when you plan to release the associated content. Note: as you create new content and URLs, reflect this in the ‘Targeted URL’ column in your master spreadsheet.
Before you write anything, search the keyword in an incognito browser to see the content you’ll be competing to rank with. Are the top links videos? Service offerings? How-to’s? Use this information to inform what type of content you’re going to create.
If you’re blogging with WordPress, download the Yoast plugin. Yoast analyzes each page of your site and provides content suggestions to help you rank higher in a particular keyword. You should also use its suggestions for the existing pages you want to repurpose and improve your rank.
The thing about SEO is that it’s never completed. Set up a campaign in Moz to track your keyword performance. Update your spreadsheet periodically to see how you’re doing and if any content needs revamping. Continue to find new keywords that your prospects are searching so that you can target more content to reach that query!
Have any questions on keyword planning for SEO? Tweet us @VAPartners or send us an email and we’ll schedule some time to chat!