keyword strategy

Keyword Strategy Defined

Let’s ensure we’re all speaking the same language before starting. A keyword strategy is a method of determining which keywords to target for organic search ranking. There could be hundreds and thousands of keywords that you can strive to rank. But I know you must narrow your topic and focus your content-creation efforts to be effective. 

So, when building a keyword strategy for your own website, employ the following approach with a list:

  • Content optimization
  • Content performance
  • Content promotion
  • Content creation
  • SEO conversion optimization

You can leverage your keyword strategy to help you decide what content to write once you’ve determined what it should look like. However, if you take your keyword strategy a step further, it can also be a significant element in deciding:

  • What social media topics to monitor and contribute to
  • Which communities should I join?
  • What pillars should you base your blog on?

…along with a slew of other content-related responsibilities.

Consider this a keyword strategy, but remember that you’ll be able to utilize it as a topic strategy, a way of determining where to create and display your expertise to prospects and consumers.

Let’s get down to business!

Gathering seed keywords

First, create a list of subjects, or seed keywords, that you will prioritize later.

Anything you'd use to label what your content is about could be a suitable seed keyword or topic:

“Customer care”

“Facilities administration”

“Security advisory”

All you need to think about at this point is identifying keywords that are relevant to your business or audience. Analyze and adjust your list as soon as possible depending on key indicators such as volume, relevancy, and competition.

Your ultimate target should be between 30 and 70 high-quality terms, but during the initial pass, you should aim for more because many of them may not have any search volume, so you won’t want to prioritize them.

You can create seed keyword lists with hundreds—or even thousands—of keywords that you can then analyze for inclusion in your final strategy. And while being thorough is generally beneficial, additional ideas given by keyword tools have limited utility in practice (unless you have a large team behind your SEO strategy).

I’m sure you can think of most of the seed keywords you’d like to utilize off the top of your head or after an hour or two of study. There is no need to create exhaustive lists.

Places To Find Seed Keywords

  • Your website

  • Competitor websites

  • Comparison sites

If you want to exert more effort on your keyword approach, perhaps for the first time, here are some helpful resources:

  • Customer conversations.

  • Talk to the customer service staff or listen to call recordings.

  • Product positioning and messaging materials. 

Note: If, after going through this list, you still don’t have enough seed keywords, you can begin using keyword suggestion tools.

Refining the seed keyword list for Keyword Strategy

This is a subjective exercise, but I believe a second look is necessary. Refining your list can save time and help you focus your data collection on the content you want to create and the topic matter knowledge you want to develop, rather than just the keywords themselves.

In this phase, you should review your list and remove any keywords that are too specific or too wide. Here are some pointers to consider if you own a firm selling software to help businesses analyze customer happiness.

Avoiding Broad Keywords

If you can think of several reasons people would search for a keyword that has nothing to do with what you sell, your keyword is too broad.

Someone searching for “customer satisfaction” is likely seeking to understand the concept in general. If you build software to analyze customer satisfaction, you won’t help someone who doesn’t understand the general phrase. No conversions. (If your company grows and develops an enormous product suite that analyzes client satisfaction, reconsider.)

Avoiding Narrow Keywords

An excellent test is whether you can dedicate a blog page to your chosen topic. The keyword is probably too limited if you just have a few ideas.

If someone searches for “how account managers should use customer satisfaction assessment software,” they may be interested in your software. This keyword phrase certainly isn’t part of your broader keyword strategy. Targeting specific conversion-oriented keywords is an effective keyword strategy.

 Add it to your list of content posts to create and use to promote a more important general topic.

Determining And Scoring Keyword Relevance

Relevance implies how likely a keyword searcher is to convert to your site.

I recommend using a scale of 1 – 3, with 3 being the most relevant.

Every business pursues relevance differently, but here are some questions you can use as a checklist:

  • How important is this keyword to your brand? Maybe your outbound dialing software should be related to “outbound dialer” but not “sales rep efficiency” (or vice versa!).
  • How would your CEO or board rank for a particular keyword?
  • How well does your content match the phrase? If you run a pie company, you may be able to search for “cheddar cheese” and “pie a la mode,” but not “cakes.”

By the way, “least relevant” should still be quite relevant. You don’t want keywords on your list that have nothing to do with your business. The keywords on your list should ideally have better relevance scores.

Getting Volume And Competition Data

Consider volume to be the demand for information on a particular topic.

There are numerous methods for gathering or guessing at volume data. Remember that it will be an estimate no matter the approach to obtain your volume data. As a result, volume data is more valuable as a broad, directional signal than as a specific quantity. For example, if you see data that displays 3,000 searches per month for “cloud computing,” the actual number could be quite different, but you can conclude that “cloud computing” has substantially more volume than a comparable phrase that only shows 300 searches per month.

If a keyword has no volume in a tool, it’s probably too specific to target as part of your plan. You might try another keyword strategy in another tool or broaden it till you get an idea of monthly search volume.

Gathering competition data

If volume represents the demand for material regarding a specific term, the competition represents the existing supply.

There are numerous methods for gathering or guessing competitive statistics. And, like volume data, competition data will be an estimate or a directional hint rather than a statistic you can entirely rely on, regardless of the source.

There’s one more wrinkle: whereas volume is a straightforward measurement of the number of searches made for a specific phrase, competition is a considerably more sophisticated statistic that attempts to predict how difficult it will be to rank for one particular keyword. Nobody can genuinely foresee this, but a solid estimate can help you make informed decisions about the phrases you might rank for.

Understanding Your Keyword Strategy

Congratulations, you now have a data-driven keyword approach! So, what does it all mean?

  • Your first objective should be to generate content centered on the “blog conversion rate.” I suggest starting with 3 – 5 articles that connect to this keyword.
  • Your next focus should be handling the keywords below this one, and you should plan on writing 3 – 5 articles for each.

This is a list of suggestions, not a definitive list to which you must comply. Feel free to skip anything that doesn’t look right or that you’re not ready to write about.

Read more on how to improve your Keyword Strategy: How Your Keyword Strategy is Failing You (And How to Fix It)

You’re done! What’s next?

As you can see, developing a keyword strategy does not have to be a time-consuming procedure. If you narrow your focus, add relevance with volume and competition, and keep your plan updated, you can create a reliable, defensible approach in just a few hours.

With your keyword plan in hand, the next step is to put it into action by producing content.

You should also revisit your keyword approach regularly. Let’s be honest: most businesses (and agencies, for that matter) create a keyword strategy once and then forget about it for years. This is a poor thing, especially for fast-growing businesses that need to respond to changing conditions surrounding their developed plan. You should examine your keyword strategy regularly, maybe every 6 to 12 months, to ensure that everyone is still on board.

Building a keyword strategy is useless unless it’s implemented, and even if it is, it takes months of consistent effort to see the results. So, now that you’ve got yours, go make some content!