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Haris Cajic - 01.24.2018

Strategic Implications of Keyword Research

Keyword research is an important part of every SEO strategy. It forms the foundation of many SEO activities such as content optimization and production. However, keyword lists themselves are only as powerful as the strategy behind them. Taking a strategic approach to filtering and implementing keywords on a site will take your SEO to the next level. Let’s explore a few methods for getting the most out of your keyword research.

Start with Your Goals
Without a clear understanding of your business goals, you will end up with keyword lists that lack focus. Consider your target audience and at which stage of the sales funnel you want to target them. The keywords you focus on will vary significantly between these stages, as will the level of effort required to rank for these keywords. By defining your end goals, you will produce refined keyword lists that will better inform you of audience targeting, content production, ranking difficulty and more.

Take Advantage of Your Existing Strengths
For websites whose ranking potential sits in the tens or hundreds of thousands, static keyword lists will not provide any meaningful data. In such cases, more actionable keyword lists can be created. One great example is compiling a list of keywords that the site already ranks for on the second page. The site is already ranking, but is just falling off the first page. This presents a great opportunity, as many times only slight optimization will be required to push the website over to the first page. By choosing your fights wisely, you can obtain higher rankings (and more traffic to your site) without wasting a massive amount of resources.

Focus on Conversions
If you have difficulty nailing down specific goals before starting keyword research, you can always rely on the goal – conversions. Whether you are targeting individuals high or low in the sales funnel, the end goal should eventually be the same, leading the user to perform a valuable action on your website. By focusing on how you will eventually lead a user to conversion, you will be able to gain important insights during your keyword research phase. For instance, your keyword research may reveal that most of your potential customers perform informational searches. This would mean that your overall strategy would need to focus on establishing trust with users over a longer period.

Consider Alternative Ranking Methods
Google has come a long way since the days of the standard blue link. Today, the search results page is teeming with rich snippets, knowledge graphs and other unique forms of results. Focusing keyword research on these alternative ranking methods can reveal opportunities to gain a much more prominent position across search engines. For example, you can identify keywords where the results pages list rich snippets and analyze the likelihood of being able to take these coveted spots. This sort of targeting can help you define a laser-focused content strategy that you won’t easily unearth with more generic keyword lists.

Utilize Existing Relationships and Links

Conducting an audit of your backlinks can reveal websites which already like your content. Take in mind these connections when determining keyword targets. For example, if your website produced a popular guide on 2016 summer shorts fashion trends, then you could perform more research into keywords for summer fashion trends. By doing research into the most popular content produced by you and your competition, you can better position yourself for success before ever digging through a single keyword list.

There are endless ways to produce quality keyword lists. It is important to remember that keyword lists should be actionable. By taking a strategic approach to your research, you will be able to cut out the fat and focus on what matters most for your business.