This is the fifth blog in a 13-part series about the importance of content marketing for improving SEO, conversions, and brand awareness.
In the last five blogs in this series we’ve talked about why content marketing is important, the basics of creating original content, and the on-page SEO elements that help your content/website rank higher on Google.
You know the importance of building relevant content, but now we’ll get into the weeds of where to find high-value keywords for your content. Keyword research is the practice of understanding which keywords in your content are likely to rank higher, which can ultimately guide a larger part of your content strategy.
However, keyword research is much more than just seeing which terms site visitors used to find your site and content. Advanced keyword research requires a thoughtful analysis of emerging keywords, negative keywords, and potential opportunities to beat out your competitors.
Everyone knows that content is king and having keyword-rich content is ideal for SEO. But what are some advanced keyword research practices that can supercharge your content strategy?
Use multiple keyword research tools to paint a clearer picture of high-value keywords
Most SEO marketers know some of the basic keyword research practices and tools to help identify keywords. These including using Google Search Console to look over search queries and using Google’s Keyword Planner to find relevant search terms.
But don’t just rely on these tools on their own. Here are a variety of keyword research tools to help you understand where to find keywords:
- Keywords Everywhere (Chrome plugin): Google Chrome users can download this plugin to identify the top-value keywords for the current page you are visiting.
- SEOChat: SEOChat is a free service that allows users to not only identify primary keywords but also potential sub-keywords that could attract online visitors.
- SEMRush: SEMRush is a paid service that helps identify your site’s strongest keywords and also keywords that your site is no longer ranking for.
Using these SEO tools in conjunction with Google’s suite of keyword tools can help you identify both high-ranking/high-volume keywords as well as weaker search terms.
Analyze the keywords of your on-page SEO elements compared to your competitors
Keywords are critical to ensuring your content helps attract the best possible customers to your website. However, it also helps to do an audit of your on-page SEO elements to see if you have targeted the appropriate keywords.
Go to your website and inspect any on-page elements including the URL, title, meta-descriptions, and similar items to see if your keywords are visible enough. For example, if you have a business service page that focuses on interior design, you’ll want to evaluate the following elements:
- Are any local and business-related keywords such as your service area location or “interior design” in the URL? If not, edit the URL and customize it to include the best keywords.
- Does the content on the page also contain these keywords? If not make sure you incorporate them without using keyword-spamming or other black-hat tactics.
- Are your major keywords in the title, first paragraph, and first header of the content page? If not add those keywords accordingly.
- Are the major keywords in the meta description? Make sure your meta description contains these keywords in a way that makes sense.
- Do images have the keywords in their filenames and alt text? If not add keywords to your images on the page.
The next step of this process is to look at your competitor pages, see how they rank, and what they are doing with their on-page elements.
If a competitor is ranking higher than you, make sure you look at how their URL is customized, the length of their page content, and where they focus on certain keywords. Try and adapt these strategies that make sense for your business. Hopefully this doesn’t need reminding but never plagiarize a competitor’s content: your site’s ranking, professional reputation, and legal security are at significant risk with plagiarized content.
Evaluate keyword attributes to align certain content/website goals
The best type of keyword research helps to drive specific business and content goals, depending upon a keyword’s attributes. For example, if you want to get more views on a piece of content try using keywords that have a high search volume compared to similar terms.
Keyword attributes that you should try to capitalize on includes PPC costs (if using paid services like Google Adwords), keyword position, impressions, and click through rate. If you’re trying to get a page to land on Google’s first page, it may help to have keywords that are more likely to rank on page one. If you want a high-traffic blog post, then try using keywords that have high volume and search impressions.
Ultimately, keywords need to be structured in a way that can compete with a similar business while promoting the best parts of your unique products and services. An advanced keyword strategy can take your content marketing efforts to new heights and create a significant ROI.