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Keyword Research Guide - TrafficPRM


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This free keyword research guide outlines the basic steps for SEO, designed more for marketers, PR folks and social media pros who are relatively new to search. The gist of the guide is help people to identify the proper keyword terms and phrases to optimize website content, news releases and other digital assets. Optimizing PR and marketing content for search is something a lot of people talk about, but rarely gets the attention it deserves. There is a process to keyword research that involves collaboration, reasoning, research and technology. Simply getting a list of the top high-traffic terms from Google isn’t going to cut it. Traffic PRM has put together this list to help you get found on the Internet, so if you're serious about inbound marketing, these are your first steps!

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Keyword Research Guide - TrafficPRM

  1. 1. © 2010
  2. 2. Optimizing PR and marketing content for search is something a lot of people talk about. Keyword research is one of those things you’re bound to hear in seminars, webinars and “how to” white papers, but it rarely gets the attention it deserves. There is a process to keyword research that involves collaboration, reasoning, research and technology. Simply getting a list of the top high-traffic terms from Google isn’t going to cut it. TrafficPRM put this short guide together to help shed some light on the keyword research process and offer a foundation for more relevant and meaningful search results. As always, we welcome your feedback and ideas to make this guide better! This document is available to all under a Creative Commons Non-Derivative license - it may not be changed or altered without express written consent. © 2010
  3. 3. 1 • The first step is to define where your site or sites stand when it comes to organic search optimization. For this you’ll need to have in place and be familiar with back-end analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Omniture, Compete, Coremetrics or others (Google Analytics is free.) Most content management systems (CMS) also include some level of analytics. Any of them should be able to give you a quick view of traffic trends on your site, Assess and the keywords people are using to find you. where • Your analytics tools also offer insight into you are. competitor sites and their traffic trends. Identify terms and phrases where they do well and/or where they outrank you. © 2010
  4. 4. 2 • Develop a foundation of relevant search terms. Talk to customers. Sit down with your team and come up with a list. Talk to the sales and marketing team. Benchmark competitors. See what industry media are writing about. Naturally, your products and services will suggest good terms as well. • A good number of free tools offer insight into search trends and suggestions for keywords. Brainstorm a Google Sets, Google Insight for search and the beginning list SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool are just a few to help come up with an initial list. using people and technology. © 2010
  5. 5. 3 • Coming up with a list of generic individual terms is just a first step—unless you’re a huge company with strong domain authority it’s likely you won’t rank for them. • Multi-word phrases indicate that people are more specific and serious about what they’re searching for. Often these folks are further down the sales funnel. Make a list of phrases, not just individual words, that logically fit your product Don’t rely or category. Then use keyword research tools like solely on Google Wordtracker to benchmark relevant multi-word phrases that get traffic. Adwords to define • Don’t make assumptions about what words your primary and phrases are popular. You are bound to be search terms. surprised by the difference between what people would logically search for and what they actually do. Just like everything else we find in marketing, human search behavior is often unpredictable. © 2010
  6. 6. 4 • Find out who you are competing with for various phrases and how powerful those other brands are. If a keyword is ‘owned’ by a major brand or a site with tens of thousands of links, it may not be worth your time. • Narrow down your originally identified keywords by evaluating the number of daily searches for a particular phrase as well as estimates of how many pages are competing for that phrase. Your best Discover who phrases will be marked by both a significant volume you’re up against of daily search traffic and by low to moderate competition. A really unique phrase is only good if as far as keyword people are actually typing it into search engines, competition. and a phrase that gets typed in all the time is only good if you have a decent chance of ranking well among the results. © 2010
  7. 7. 5 • Unlike search engine marketing or SEM, where you might compete for dozens, hundreds or even thousands of keywords, SEO is about a more methodical, focused approach to gaining traction in primary SERPs (search engine results pages). • You’ll want to keep the keyword selection manageable for you and your brand. There’s only so much content you can optimize. Start with a • At Traffic, we like to start by focusing on the top dozen or so keywords, beginning with high-traffic keyword cluster. terms. Remember that Google and the other search Don’t overdo it. engines don’t look favorably on “keyword stuffing.” A good rule of thumb is that a Web page or given Focus in on a piece of content, such as a news release or blog post, handful of the should contain at least one and not more than four most relevant keywords or keyword phrases. phrases. • In organic search optimization, remember that the long tail is key. You won’t always be able to compete for high-traffic terms, but choosing a number of terms that get moderate traffic can deliver more visitors in the aggregate over time. © 2010
  8. 8. 6 • As you conduct keyword research, think about where and how you are going to deploy terms and phrases. Review your existing Web content and PR and marketing content with your keywords in mind—ideally, your keywords should direct people back to a particular landing page for that term or phrase. Does your site have a page that can serve this function, or do you have to create a new one? Press releases, site copy, newsrooms, blogs and multimedia are where you should embed Give your keywords. Are they good enough to engage people? keywords • Devise a content marketing strategy to keep fresh a home. material going and give keywords more places to live on your site. © 2010
  9. 9. 7 • Monitor how well you are climbing the search rankings for your keywords. It can take as long as 4 to 6 months, if not longer, to gain traction. Keep the keywords that drive traffic and ditch the ones that don’t. You might speed up the process by performing some quick trials with pay-per-click ads. • Your competition never sleeps, and neither do the search engines, which are constantly looking Monitor your for fresh content. Your keyword research must progress. Adjust continue. In a Web-centric world, devoting some time and energy each week to SEO management your approach. is necessary—and well worth the investment. Do it again. Think in terms of how business objectives can translate to new keyword clusters. © 2010
  10. 10. TrafficPRM is an interactive PR firm based in St. Louis. With a strong background in corporate communications and marketing public relations, Traffic helps clients develop compelling programs that promote products, build brands and enhance discoverability. Traffic delivers an integrated mix of traditional PR and marketing services, including media relations and reputation management, and in-bound marketing services, including SEO and social media. We hope you find this guide helpful. For more help with SEO or for more information about TrafficPRM, please contact us at © 2010