Content MarketingSearch Marketing

Keyword Research Must Answer These Questions

We’ve watched many companies do what they call keyword research and I’m surprised at how much information they miss when they’re advising companies on what keywords to target with their content marketing strategies. Here are some important questions that we answer

  1. What keywords drive conversions? If you don’t know, I’d recommend leveraging analytics properly and reporting so that you can identify the keywords that drive business… not traffic. A key mistake we see by many companies is a focus on the keywords that drive traffic rather than the keywords that drive business. Getting legitimately ranked takes time – make sure you’re spending those resources wisely by actually ranking on visitors that purchase. Consultants often just find keywords that have large search volumes. Unless you’re selling advertising on your site, you need more than visits – you need business
  2. What keywords do you currently rank for? Because companies spend so much time analyzing traffic, they often miss the keywords that they don’t rank well on but could be. Identifying the keywords and pages that you’re buried in the rankings for is a prime opportunity to tweak those pages and get better rank with. We utilize Semrush to find pages and keywords that we rank on. We then go optimize those pages and often get a nice bump in rank and traffic.
  3. What central topics can your keywords be categorized into? Pages on your site can rank for dozens of keyword combinations. It’s important to understand it the key topics your keywords can be aligned with match your website’s organization and alignment. Does your site hierarchy match your keyword hierarchy? If not, there could be opportunities to build out pages and sections of the site that focus on organic search traffic. We often recommend a few organic landing pages that focus on a keyword rather than a product or service of the company. Those pages drive rank, traffic, and conversions. WordStream has a keyword tool where you can paste 10,000 keywords into it and it will categorize them for you.
  4. What keywords should you compete for? Many times, your competition is getting traffic that you could be… if you only understood what they were ranking for that you are not. As well, many keywords may be impossible to attain good ranking on. Why are you competing on keywords you’re not going to win? Again, Semrush has been our tool choice for this. We can look at competing domains and then review the keywords our competition rank on to see if we have gaps in our content strategy.
  5. What keywords could you generate content on that will result in rankings and traffic? It’s fine to produce a list of a ton of keywords and synonymous phrases… but what phrases could you write blog posts, organic landing pages, infographics, whitepapers, ebooks, presentations and videos on today that would result in immediate results? We don’t believe keyword research is really thorough unless you’re providing content recommendations along with the analysis. Finding long-tail (low volume, highly relevant) keywords has been easier using WordStream.

By the way, if you’ve not seen the newly improved user interface from Semrush, it’s incredible:

We tend to use Semrush for finite analysis and WordStream for longtail discovery and keyword categorization. Disclosure: The Semrush link in this post is our affiliate link.

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is CMO of OpenINSIGHTS and the founder of the Martech Zone. Douglas has helped dozens of successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to assist companies in implementing and automating their sales and marketing strategies. Douglas is an internationally recognized digital transformation and MarTech expert and speaker. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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