Build a seed list to decide on your keywords
The first step to deciding on your SEO keywords is to build your seed list. Seed keywords are phrases that are most relevant to your business. Seed keywords provide the foundation for your keywords. To find your seed keywords, ask yourself a few questions:
- What is my brand?
- Who am I selling to?
- What message am I trying to put across?
- What would potential clients type into the search engine to find my product/website?
From this seed list, you can grow your SEO keywords. It might seem like seed words are apparent from the products you sell; but this is far from the truth. For example, if you sell women’s shoes, a keyword like “women’s shoes” would not get you very far. In my experience, a better keyword would be “women’s leather thigh-high boots”. You use seed words to come up with a more exact keyword that would highly rank your page.
Now go to your website, and see if you incorporate these keywords into your content. Keywords should appear throughout your content strategically and naturally. The more they appear in, say, a blog post, the higher your website’s chances of appearing higher up in a single search.
You can take it a step further and find out which keywords are harnessing the most traffic. Several tools can show you the most highly ranking keywords that are giving your website clicks.
These tools usually bring up a couple of hundreds of words, if not thousands, but you can easily filter them to get the most relevant ones.
Once you have a rough line-up of the SEO keywords you need to include in your content, you can liaise with the sales team to develop content with well-placed keywords.
Research your competitors’ SEO keywords
In business, your competition can be your friend and mentor if you play your cards right.
There are many tools available to study your competitor’s ranking, such as SEMRush, iSpionage, KeywordSpy. Keep in mind that if you want more detailed data on your competitor’s ranking, you will have to pay because some of these sites offer rather general information.
While it is crucial to be unique and focus on building a brand, there is a lot you stand to learn from your competition. While it is not compulsory or even advisable to copy-paste their strategy and SEO keywords, it can give you a rough idea of what is working for already established companies. Instead of copying it, you can enhance it and then adopt it.
In my experience, after reviewing the SEO keywords of a rival business, I was able to see where they were lacking. In the best-case scenario, you may realise that they have not tapped into the SEO keyword strategy giving you the upper hand and an opportunity to outrank them.
One of the most typical scenarios is where many businesses are competing for the same keywords. This should not make you lose morale. The key is to look out for gaps in their strategies. In business, there is usually a better way, an ignored problem, a hidden niche.
Let your customer journey inform your SEO keywords
A good technique is to customise your SEO keywords at every stage of the buying process. The benefits of breaking down the buying process into stages go beyond helping you come up with SEO keywords. For instance, they help you personalise content for your website, create marketing strategies and even lead segmentation.
There are four stages of the buying process:
At each stage, the buyer is looking out and searching for different keywords. In my experience, creating a customer persona and then listing the keywords at each step has enabled me to come up with SEO keywords that generate considerable traffic.
Use a Pillar Page mindset to inform your longtail SEO keyword selection
A pillar page is a foundation on which your topic cluster is constructed. A pillar page is a lot more than a blog post. While a blog post usually covers one subject, a pillar page previews other posts with more detailed information.
A pillar page will cover almost all areas concerning a topic but at a surface level. The main goal is to cover all issues or concerns that may arise.
To test this method out: Think of a relatively broad topic, say skincare products. Now, what are all the questions you might have about it? If someone were to decide to venture into skincare, what are all the questions they might have as a beginner. Later on, as an experienced user, what are their new concerns and queries? Now that they are experts, what kind of content would they find most relevant to them?
On a pillar page, you will address every single question but attach hyperlinks to related articles or more detailed posts.
You will notice that you will naturally incorporate SEO keywords that will make the site rank highly when potential customers search for items or information on articles they have purchased or intend to purchase in creating content for the pillar page.
Using Topic Clusters to evolve your keyword research
Topic clusters have gradually developed because of a change in the behaviour of users of search engines. Previously, users would type in more broad statements to find what they were looking for, such as “clothing stores in Perth,” and skim through the results.
However, users do not have the patience or time to read search through several search results to find what they want. Also, with new technological features like ‘Siri,’ they have grown accustomed to searching for precisely what they are looking for to narrow down the possible results, for example, ‘Clothing stores in Perth for plus-size women and men.’
Topic clusters are part of the architecture of pillar pages. From the pillar page, you build related content that all links back to it. These subtopics are the topic clusters. A point to note is that while you create this content, you continue to link to the pillar page to alert the readers that it is part of a more comprehensive theme or question.
Topic clusters generate traffic because the subheadings and content from them include SEO keywords relating to questions that users might search.
For instance, back to the skincare example, let us create a pillar page and topic clusters:
- Pillar page- Skincare for beginners
- Topic clusters- Skincare products for oily skin, skincare products for combination skin, skincare home remedies, skincare products to clear hyperpigmentation, how to know the skin type you have.
With these topic clusters, you have created keywords that would make your website rank highly, and with hyperlinks, you are generating traffic for other related articles from the pillar page.
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