When it comes to content marketing, we’re often asked, “What keywords should I use?” The short answer is, use keywords in your marketing that your ideal client will search for online.
Then people ask how to find “the best keywords for my content,” and the answer is keyword research.
The importance of keyword research is evolving. When you’re considering search terms that people enter into search engines, you’re going to find the actual words and phrases your target audience is likely searching for. That insight can not only influence your content strategy. It can also inform your entire marketing strategy.
In the latest rules of keyword search for search engine optimization (SEO), search terms still matter -and so does the intent behind the keyword. This revelation brings into play the reason people are searching for a keyword in the first place. The content related to the keyword is ranked higher if the content helps the searcher as a solution for their intent.
Keyword research also gives insight into:
- what queries to target
- the popularity of queries and their search volume
- the questions most people in your audience want answers to
Most importantly, you will learn what topics people in your audience care about. Our marketing partner HubSpot, says it best:
“By researching keywords that are getting a high volume of searches per month, you can identify and sort your content into topics that you want to create content on. Then, you can use these topics to dictate which keywords you look for and target.”
A Great Keyword Research Strategy for Your Business
A great keyword strategy has two parts: 1) finding a list of topics that are highly searched by your audience, then 2) refining that list based on the best search terms to satisfy your SEO strategy. Here’s how.
- Identify relevant topics that are important for your business.
Think about the things you want to rank for in an online search, meaning the topics your target audience searches where you'd want your business to show up as a search result (Insider Tip: Find out from people in your sales force what questions prospects are asking about your company during their conversations. The questions make great topics for SEO). Gauge the importance of each topic for your audience by noting each search term’s monthly search volume.
- Define the best keywords and keyword phrases for your business.
Once you have your topics, identify keywords and phrases that support each of those topics and are important for your business to rank for on search engine results pages (SERPs). Find as many keywords as possible that you think prospects might use to search for content related to the topic. Keep the searcher’s intent in mind, meaning how will your business help answer or solve their question. You can verify a searcher’s intent by entering the keyword into a search engine yourself and see what kinds of results come up.
If you're struggling to think of more keywords people might be searching about a specific topic, take a look at the related search terms that appear when you plug a keyword into a search engine. If you’re using Google, for instance, type in your keyword phrase and scroll to the bottom of the results to view suggestions for searches related to your original input. These keywords can spark ideas for other keywords you may want to consider.
- The best keywords for your marketing strategy rank well in terms of relevance, authority and volume.
Relevance - Your content will only rank for a keyword if it meets the searcher’s needs as the best resource out there.
Authority – When your business is an authoritative source on a search term, your site is full of helpful, informative content that helps searchers solve their queries.
Volume - Volume is measured by monthly search volume (MSV), the number of times a keyword is searched per month across all audiences.
- The best keywords for your marketing strategy are a mix of head terms and long-tail keywords.
Head terms - keywords phrases that are one to three words in length and more general. Example: authoring
Long-tail keywords - longer keyword phrases usually containing three or more words. Example: how to write a book
- The best keywords for your marketing strategy strike a balance between what you and your competitors rank for.
If your competitor is ranking for keywords that are on your list, you may want to improve your ranking on those. The keywords on your list that your competitors don’t rank on are great opportunities for you to own in market share.