Right now, Google displays over 69,000 search results – in 1 second. By the time you finish reading this article, the number will grow to over 12 million individual search queries. And SEO can help you tap into that market.
That’s right, SEO gets your business found. It helps you rank closer to the top of the search engine results page (SERP), so you can increase traffic and the number of leads that land on your site.
To that end, you will need to create a successful strategy. Start by finding the right keywords to track.
Set Up Target Goals
The first step is to determine the aim of your SEO strategy. Think about the results you want to achieve and choose between quick spikes, a long-term boost in sales revenue, higher web traffic or a particular campaign.
- How soon do you expect to reach the first milestone? SEO is a waiting game. It takes several months before you see results from your efforts. If you want a faster outcome, use high-volume keywords or try a featured snippet instead.
- How specific or general is your target audience? What kind of people do you want to arrive at your website? How much should they resemble your ideal buyer persona?
- What type of traffic do you want to drive to the site? Figure out if you’re going to drive brand awareness and reach, or actual sales from qualified leads that will buy your product or service.
Determine Head Terms and Long-Tail Keywords
A good keyword strategy relies on specific keywords (head terms) with higher competition and volume, and longer phrases (long-tails) with less traffic and competition.
Head terms consist of two-three words closely related to your brand that are more generic and pay off long term. Long-tails are usually phrases of at least five words that get you quick results.
It’s best to blend both types of keywords to achieve optimum results. Determine head terms first and let them form the base of your long-tails.
Conduct Initial Research
Once you have all your goals in place, it’s time to research keywords and do a broad sweep of all potential candidates:
- Brainstorm root ideas and come up with a few general target categories.
- Use topic clusters to create a keyword hierarchy based on what’s relevant to your brand.
- Use keyword generators and similar tools to come up with ideas for your search terms.
- Create an extensive list of every potential keyword you come up with during research.
Narrow the Search
When you have a comprehensive list of keyword phrases in a spreadsheet, it’s time to go into detail and find a set of specific keyword phrases. Use these key search metrics to help you:
- Search volume – how many times have people used the keyword phrase as a search term;
- Competition – how many competitors are looking to rank for that same keyword phrase;
- Relevance – how relevant is the keyword phrase for your business and website;
- Current Ranking – how well are you currently ranking for that keyword phrase.
Select the Winner
After completing all of the above steps, it’s time to choose the keywords with the highest potential of getting you ranked number one on a SERP. There are no wrong answers here. Pick a few from the top that best fit your brand or will be easy to optimize on your site.