Why have a SEO Strategy?
Do you want people to find your website?
Do you have important information on your website that needs to be found? Do you offer a service or product?
If you answered yes to the questions above, then you need an SEO strategy. A strategy doesn’t have to be a long and drawn-out process—it could be, but it doesn’t have to be.
An SEO strategy is used to help you determine what content you need to write about and what keywords the content will target. You can’t just write about a topic and expect people to find you. A strategy helps set you on the right path to Google discovery. Do you know how search engines work?
Every page on your website needs to have a keyword associated with it. This focus keyword is what the content on the page is about. If you know what the best keywords to target in your SEO strategy are, then every page/post on your website has a purpose. You shouldn’t publish any content without a keyword focus because it will never get found otherwise.
An SEO strategy also helps with producing the right content for your ideal buyer. We’ll go more into this in the points below.
How to Choose the Best Keywords
It All Starts with Your Content Plan
You can’t begin researching keywords without knowing what you’re going to be writing about. It’s like putting the cart before the horse. Your content plan dictates what you need to be writing about, and keywords are then associated with each blog post.
If you don’t have a content calendar, you can’t research keywords. Well, you could, but it makes things harder and out of order. For example, let’s say we own a boots e-commerce website, and we know we need to write about buying boots this season. In our content plan, we would have blog post title ideas that not only answer our ideal buyers questions but help sell the product.
The content plan could be as simple as this:
- The perfect Fall boots for every holiday occasion
- How to find your perfect pair of riding boots
- How to wear boots with jeans this fall
- Do I really need a pair of snow boots?
- Can I wear leather boots to the snow?
- Transitioning your fall boots to winter: Outfit Ideas
This simple example outlines some blog post ideas that we need to write about. These are great ideas, but for this content to rank, a keyword has to be associated with each blog post. Selecting the best keyword might also change the blog post title that you came up with, such that you could use a better title that ranks higher.
Before you start your keyword research, make sure you have a content plan.
Do Your Keyword Research Based on Your Ideal Buyers
In addition to having a content plan, you also need to conduct your keyword research based on your ideal buyers.
What sort of keywords are your ideal buyers using when searching for your product or service online? What information are they looking for? What language are they using?
Don’t assume that what your ideal buyer is searching for is also what you are searching for. Understand your ideal buyer intimately before selecting your keywords.
Let’s use the boots website example again. Let’s say that the boots website ideal buyer is a young 27-year-old woman who’s fashion forward, frequently buys online, uses Pinterest for outfit inspiration, works in a professional environment, reads fashion blogs, and has low income, so her shoe options need to be lower priced.
What keyword would she use when searching for snow boots, “affordable snow boots” or “cheap snow boots?” Do you know which one you would target?
So, in addition to having a content plan, you also need to know who your ideal buyer is so you can choose the best keywords for your SEO strategy.
Our Process for Selecting the Best Keywords
Once you have a content plan and ideal buyer, it’s time to start researching keywords using keyword tools and Google.
There are a ton of keyword research tools and methods you can use when researching what keywords to use. I’m not going to touch on all of them, but I will walk you through the process I take when researching keywords and selecting the best one for my strategy.
I run a fashion blog, and for each of my blog posts, I research what keyword to focus on. On my personal fashion blog, Stylishlyme, I write about everything style and fashion. Now, let’s say I want to write about how to wear white jeans.
Step 1: Select the blog post title in my content plan that relates to white jeans
Step 2: Brainstorm a list of keywords or questions that my ideal reader would use when searching how they can wear white jeans.
- white jeans outfits
- how to wear white jeans
- can I wear white after labor day
- white pants outfit for summer
- can I wear white jeans to work?
- can i wear white jeans even if I’m not skinny?
Step 3: Once I’ve brainstormed a list of ideas I use SEMrush to research a little further and determine which would be the best keyword for the blog post.
Here’s an example of what SEM results looks like.
When I search “how to wear white jeans” in SEMrush, the results show me the volume of organic search it receives each month, the number of results, paid search, competition, and related keywords.
I research each keyword, phrase, or question I brainstormed in step 2. If a question I brainstormed doesn’t have a high search volume, no results will be shown, and other suggestions are given. This shows me that this might now be a good phrase to focus on.
For my content plan and SEO strategy, I’m looking for a keyword that has above 500 in search, low competition, and not a lot of results. Every SEO strategy is different, and the things you look for in keywords might be different from what I’m searching for in my blog.
When I researched “white jean outfits,” the volume was pretty low at 170. Thus, the keyword is deleted from the list of possible options.
The perfect keyword for this white jeans post was “what to wear with white jeans.” This long tail keyword provided me with the best results, and I knew I could create a blog post that was better than the 10 listed on the first page of Google.
Evaluating the websites that rank on the first page of Google for the keyword you’re trying to rank for is very important. You need to make sure that your content will be better than what’s already there.
I did write the blog post on “what to wear with white jeans,” and it now ranks on the first page of Google as result #1.
Step 4: Select the keyword you would like to focus on in your blog post, and write a blog post that is better than the first 10 in Google results.
Step 5: Repeat these steps for every page and blog on your website.
Selecting the best keyword for your SEO strategy is a time-intensive process that shouldn’t be shrugged off at any time. A well-thought-out plan will lead to your website being found, thus resulting in more clients for your business.