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Keywords are invaluable when it comes to boosting traffic to your site through search engines. Organic traffic is what comes from high rankings on search engines like Google, and implementing a solid content strategy can lead to valuable returns with just a little investment of time, energy, and research.
Start with What You Know
You know your site inside and out. Your customers, clients, and potential recruits do not. It’s always smart to start with a site audit to identify popular pages, effective or ineffective calls to action, how well navigation menus are structured, and other strategy elements that create an improved user experience.
You don’t have to do this on your own, of course. An expert strategy team can perform a comprehensive site audit with the ready-made tools that can be easily leveraged and integrated for maximum impact on your target audience. Use Google Analytics for a great, free starting point that can help you break down user habits, traffic sources, and more. There is even a Google Analytics plug in specifically for WordPress that makes integrating analytics a key part of optimizing your CMS.
Take on the Trends
Keyword research should be tailored to more than just target audiences and search engine robots. Google Keyword Planner identifies and tracks changes in trending keywords that are increasing or decreasing in popularity. Create a time-tracked analysis with topics and keywords related to your product or organization, such as “Activism” versus “Protest” for a membership drive on the website of an advocacy organization.
Google Keyword Planner will allow you to see changes in keyword trends over the course of 12 months with an easy to read graph, related terms, and competition level for specific keywords. It even suggests appropriate bids for Google AdWords, should you want to repurpose this information for paid marketing. Leverage this insight to tailor your keyword strategy with changing social, economic, production, or political events to keep your content relevant and on-trend.
Short vs. Long Tail Keywords
Short tail keywords are the most commonly used type of keywords. This means the competition can be quite high. Short tail keywords are, in general, one or two words and are extremely frequent in organic searches. For example, “car” or “blue car” are widely searched terms, meaning the potential audience engaging with these terms is much bigger than those searching long tail keywords. This also means, however, that the competition for getting ranked with short tail keywords is much tighter, particularly for widely used products or services.
Long tail keywords add specificity to the search. Usually three to five words long, these increase the chances of getting ranked because the competition is much lower; the downside is, of course, that with lower competition there are less searches performed for those keywords. For example, expanding “blue car” to “lue Mazda 3 car” will certainly increase the chances of someone selling that exact car being found on a search engine. The potential audience searching for that combination of keywords, however, can be much lower.
When choosing between using short or long tail keywords, analyzing target audiences and return on potential rankings will help you make an informed decision. Remember that the goal, whichever you choose, is to maximize the likelihood of ranking high for your particular business niche. Helpful guides like this can help you break down the metrics and potential return on short vs. long tail keywords.
Look Beyond Google
Google Analytics, as mentioned, is a great starting point. Their Keyword Planner is also immensely useful. However, the suggested bid points for their keywords highlights an important point: this is designed to benefit Google, first and foremost. There are other helpful keyword planners that can be used in tandem with Google’s available tools to create a broader understanding of the scope for search engine rankings with well-chosen keywords.
Moz’s Keyword Explorer is a great tool that adds dimensions like “Volume” and “Difficulty” to keyword analytics. It allows users to analyze not only the relevancy of keywords, but also the importance of keywords to particular campaigns. It even neatly organizes the available keyword metrics with graphics and data for easy tracking. Keyword Tool is another that draws on Google to mine useful keywords; it uses Google Autocomplete information to create a useful database of long tail keyword ideas. Kwfinder.com is yet another widely used long tail keyword research tool that demonstrates aspects of keyword research beyond Google Keyword Planner’s capabilities, including trends, search volume, targeted domains, and social shares. You can also target results by geolocation. These are just a few of the great additional keyword planning tools that can be found online and used in conjunction with Google’s tools.
Remember to Keep Content Focused & Relevant
Content relative to keywords should be trendy, yes, but it can be a dangerous temptation to jump on every trend. Remember to integrate evergreen content into your site that produces steady returns on keyword investment over time. Common evergreen content includes lists, “how-to’s,” tips, and even multimedia products like videos that provide staying power and continual return points for users. A strong blog or white paper that is well researched and broad enough to outlast any changing trends will undoubtedly have invaluable return for the investment in time and content creation as well. Mixing trending topics with evergreen content is the quickest way to ensure users are not only driven to your site in the first place, but keep coming back for more.
Leveraging keyword tools and analytics is the primary way to ensure maximum profitability in terms of search rankings and traffic increases for your site. Data-driven content supported by keyword research is an invaluable tool for driving organic traffic and increasing search engine rankings as part of your SEO strategy. Use tips and tricks like these to not only increase traffic, but create lasting content that will continually reinforce your SEO rankings as your organization grows over time.