The following guest post comes to us from Ryan Stewart, a digital marketing expert and the owner of Webris, a Boston based digital marketing agency. Be sure to visit his author’s bio below to learn more and connect.
How to Use Keywords to Drive Traffic to Your Website
As much as I hate marketing buzzwords, one rings true: “content is king.”
When crafting content for marketing purposes, you need to first begin with keyword research – otherwise, you’re creating content for the sake of creating content.
Understanding what makes strong and effective keywords and knowing what resources you have at your disposal to craft such keywords can make this process much simpler than you ever thought possible. It starts with having a basic understanding of what a good keyword actually is.
Too often we presume tons of traffic indicates solid keywords in their marketing approach – and too often do marketers find themselves confused when faced with tons of traffic but low conversion rates.
That’s why it’s important to dig out the intent behind the keyword as opposed to just pure search volume.
Numerous tools are available that can help you come up with potential keywords for your content.
However, often the best starting point for keyword brainstorming is your own knowledge of your business and industry, as well as the metrics you already have at your disposal. Identifying the search terms that are already driving users to your content is a great starting point for optimization.
Use your own actions as a resource – if you were searching for this piece of content, what keywords would you use?
While this shouldn’t be the end all and be all of any marketer’s keyword brainstorming efforts, this can be a good way of coming up with ideas to get started.
Once you’ve got a basic idea, use Google Keyword Tool to find search volume. Combining your own intuition with Google’s data is a great way to build out your initial list of keywords.
Crafting Relevant Keywords
As you brainstorm and research, it may be tempting to fill your content with high-traffic keywords. Stop! Now consider – are those keywords really relevant to the content that you’re producing?
And above all else, are these keywords going to draw in the type of traffic that you want?
As you brainstorm potential keywords for your content, remember that those keywords must be relevant to what is actually on the page once visitors click those links.
Getting people to visit your content is only the first step in your keyword strategy – keeping them on your page and enticing them to view the rest of your content or to respond to your call to action are equally important goals.
Utilizing Long Tail Keywords
One of the simplest ways for marketers to boost the relevancy of their keywords is to incorporate more long tail keywords into their content. When people conduct searches, they are typically looking for specific information.
A search for “cosmetic dentists” will drive in better quality traffic than a simple search for “dentists” – not only because the content will be more specific to what the user is searching, but also because these types of keywords typically catch site visitors later on in the buying cycle.
Local Search Practices
Businesses with physical locations or who do a large amount of business in specific areas are quickly discovering the importance of incorporating local search into their keyword strategy. Businesses that offer services locally should emphasize the importance of including local search terms into their keyword strategy.
This is a simple and effective way to drive in relevant traffic. Driving in users from Des Moines, Cheyenne, and Los Angeles is hardly going to do a business any good if their services are only offered in Atlanta.
A good starting point for many businesses that do offer local goods and services is to identify the local terms that are already driving in traffic and to expand upon them.
Calculating the Value of Keywords
Once you develop a good list of potential keywords, you can begin to perform the necessary research with resources such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool, Google Trends, Microsoft Bing Ads Intelligence and Wordtracker’s Free Basic Keyword Demand to determine the value of those keywords and their potential to drive in traffic.
One thing that is important to remember is that keyword optimization is something that should continue to evolve over time. Search engine algorithms – as well as the attitudes of online traffic – are always in flux.
Paying attention to metrics such as traffic and conversion rates allows marketers to continue to optimize their keywords and change their keywords as needed to ensure that they never miss out on new opportunities as they arise.
Additionally, focusing on the quality of traffic first and the quantity second, you can overcome some of the biggest hurdles and pitfalls associated with crafting relevant keywords for your content.
What other tips do you have for successfully researching and incorporating effective keywords into your content marketing strategy? Share your ideas by commenting below!
About the Author: Ryan Stewart is a digital marketing expert with over 10 years of experience working with clients like Best Buy, Accenture and the Department of Defense. Ryan holds a number of web certifications as well as a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). Ryan currently owns Webris, a Boston based digital marketing agency. Follow Ryan on social media: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn