This is the second installment of a three-part series about how SEO needs to be thought of as a strategy, not just a tactic.
73% of in-house marketers and 76% of US agencies said SEO provided excellent or good return on investment (ROI). (eMarketer)
How do you create an SEO strategy that achieves “excellent or good ROI”? By building SEO into the beginning of every content project, not at in the middle or even worse at the end of the project.
As I said last time, Your SEO team should be involved from the very beginning! This is the only way you will be able to create remarkable content marketing campaigns.
Here is the second reason why SEO and keyword research are so important.
2. Keyword research defines what content to use
Search engines have become much better at understanding user intent. What this means is they can better assess what it is that the searcher is really looking for. Marketers can use keyword research to understand where searchers are in their purchasing journey, what information they need, and what type of information they want to see.
- Where are searchers in their buyer’s journey?
Broad keywords that give searchers an intro to a high-level category of results are often used for searchers that fall into the “awareness” stage. Think “shoes.” This a stage where they may not really need shoes, but they are thinking about what is out there. Where more specific keywords typically fall into a stage that is later in the journey. Searchers know they have a problem and they are looking for a solution. Or in this case they know they need new shoes and they know what type of shoe they want. For example, “brown leather hiking boots.”
- What information do searchers need?
Keywords that produce results the include how-tos or basic understanding of a topic are typically being used for a learn intent. Or to gain knowledge. However, if the search results offer product comparisons, branded pages or pricing, then the usually the goal of the search falls into purchase intent.
- Who is searching for the information?
Understanding who needs the information will help marketers build a search strategy for content marketing around personas that match the way people search. For keywords that produce in-depth, highly technical search results, then the audience is most likely people who are working with the products or data. If the search results are a higher level strategy or business ideas, the audience is likely executives or business owners. For example, “specs for Windows laptops” compared to “profitability Windows laptops.”
Doing this kind of keyword research up front will help develop a content marketing calendar that is detailed, is aligned with your business goals and provides direction for content before it is written. Content will then include the relevant information, target the right audience at the right point of their journey and remove the wasted time and effort it takes to fix content after it has been produced.
Next time we’ll talk about how combing through search results pages reveals ranking priority and the most popular ways people are digesting content.