Posted on Thu, Jul 12, 2012

Establishing your initial keyword strategy is the first step towards leveraging your online marketing efforts.  If you want to ensure your content is seen by as many eyes as possible, you must effectively generate as many relevant keywords to your business' content as possible.  If you don't have the right keywords, nobody will see the great content you have labored over for so many hours to create.

Pretty much everyone find businesses or the content they want online these days through search engines.  From industry statistics, it is believed that 92% of all people start with a search through a search engine.  This dynamic has completely changed how a business markets and sells its product or service.

How do people (or buyers) find what they're looking for?  By using keywords in the search pane of their favorite search engine.  With a little work, you can easily take advantage of this dynamic by optimizing your website and content around the keywords that are relevant to your business and which keywords buyers are using to find your content online.

Your chances of getting found by people searching with those keywords increases dramatically and will in turn drive more and better quality traffic to your website.  Some businesses have found that over time, their website traffic has increased 500% or more just by researching the relevant keywords that their customers are searching for and optimizing their website with those keywords.

How do you know exactly what keywords will get the most relevant people to find your business?  At first it may not be clear to you divine what keywords your customers are using.  In fact, it may be unfathomable and overwhelming to you to begin this process.  But rest assured, there are ways for you to determine the popularity and competitiveness of certain keywords.  You can also test and analyze how effective different keywords are in drawing visitors to your site.  This process may take some time, but in the end, you will be glad you took the time to do this research.

As a business professional, you need to make sure you have figured out the profiles of the people you want to find your business online.  You must first identify your "marketing personas".  once you have an idea of what your personas are, you can begin your keyword research.

Keyword research is an ongoing process that you need to be persistent with.  It may take you several attempts and revisions before you are satisfied that you have the right keywords for your business.  This can give you valuable insight in terms of industry trends, product demand and may even highlight new market segments for your product or service.  Comprehensive keyword research can help a business grow its organic traffic and save you from spending unnecessary marketing funds on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns.  In fact, the new Google algorithms launched recently reward you for generating rich content that your customers are searching for organically and not overly laden with keywords just for the sake of getting higher SEO rankings.

How do you create a keyword strategy? Here are 3 ways in which you can accomplish this:

1. Create a list of 3-5 keywords relevant to your business:

Think like you're using the brain of someone searching for your product with a search engine.  Yes, this is a difficult task to wrap your head around the first time you attempt this, but keep this in mind: for most businesses, your keywords are not your brand name.  Instead, think of words and short phrases that get to the core of what your product or service is about.

2. Choose keywords based on difficulty and relevance:

The keywords you choose should be based on the difficulty and relevance.  What does that mean?  For example, some very general words such as “manufacturing” or “pharmaceutical” are very competitive, making it harder to rank well for them in search engine results.  If you are a small- or medium-sized business, you probably won't get ranked for those keywords, so want to choose less competitive keywords or long-tail keywords more specifically related to your business.  The greater the volume of searches on a keyword, the harder it will be to get ranked on it because more business are trying to use that keyword to also get ranked for it.  It is an intensely competitive online world.  There are a number of different tools you can use to determine the competitiveness of a specific keyword as well as suggest and help you brainstorm new keyword ideas. These tools include the Google Keyword Tool or HubSpot‟s Suggest Keywords feature in its software's Keyword Grader tool.

Another important factor for picking keywords is their relevance to your business.  The difficulty level of some obscure keywords might be attractive because they are easier to rank for, but they might not be relevant to your business.  Don't be fooled by difficulty ranking alone.  You need to find an appropriate balance between relevance and difficulty.  Start out by choosing 5 keywords that match your business well.  They may not be a perfect fit for your business, but you have to start somewhere.  Keep trying out different ones and different combination of terms until you find the best ones for that fit your business.  Also, as you start to get found through organic search traffic after a few weeks or months, you can review those and see if there are search terms you hadn't thought of that fit your product or service better.  Those opportunities will definitely arise over time, so be persistent in reviewing your keyword research on a regular basis.

3. Design and optimize your website and your content around your best keywords:

Now that you've chosen your keywords, you should incorporate them into your website.  You should also use these (long-tail) keywords to build relevant business content for your audience that educates them.  Optimize your website pages with appropriate keywords and develop blog posts, whitepapers, ebooks and case studies using relevant keywords.  Be careful though, if you are too aggressive in your use of keywords in your content just for the sake of getting ranked higher, you may be penalized by Google for doing so and your ranking could drop.  Use your keywords in the natural flow of your content.

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Tags: Closed Loop Marketing, Online Marketing, Inbound Marketing