Don’t be Afraid of New Keywords

Written by Nick Stamoulis

Upon taking on a new client there is a specific process that we take. It begins with getting to know the client, the industry, and the competition. Once there is a better understanding, we move on to the keyword research phase of the campaign. Keyword research is essential because the keywords that are selected set the foundation of the campaign. People search using keywords and it’s those keywords that need to be incorporated into both on site and off site content in order to gain visibility in the search engines.

The proper way to conduct keyword research is to go page by page of the site and brainstorm a potential list of keywords for each page. Plug each potential keyword into a keyword research tool, like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, and see what relevant keywords come back that can also be incorporated into the mix.

A common issue among clients is that they are hesitant to stray away from the core set of keywords that they think they should be going after. There are maybe 10 or so keywords that they want to rank well for and insist on focusing on only those keywords. There are a few problems with this strategy.

First, it means missing out on lots of opportunity. If you have 50 pages on your website, that means that there should be at least 50 different keywords to target. Each page of the site should serve a different purpose. If the content is all similar and targeting the same keywords, it means that those pages are essentially competing with each other for search engine attention. It also creates a bad user experience on the site. Visitors expect to see new information on each page, not a different version of a page that they already clicked on. The search engines rank individual web pages, not a website as a whole. This means that each page of a site has the opportunity to rank for relevant keywords.

Clients often make the mistake of focusing too much on the search volume of a keyword. A broad keyword might have 20,000 searches a month but a niche keyword (or long tail keyword phrase) might only have 2,000. The keywords with the lower search volume also have less competition, meaning that if you focus on that long tail keyword and incorporate it into content marketing efforts, you can improve your ranking for it. Long tail keywords are beneficial because the searchers that use them are typically more targeted visitors that know what they are looking for and are further along in the sales cycle.

Targeting only a small number of keywords is also a problem because it can potentially get you into trouble with the search engines. The search engines like to see a natural approach to keyword usage. If the same core set of 10 keywords are used again and again throughout content and used as anchor text linking back to your site, it’s obviously being done for SEO purposes. By incorporating new keywords into the mix you can keep the search engines happy and improve the number of visitors to the site that are searching using a variety of keywords.

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