“What are we doing about SEO?” How To Kick-Start Your Keyword Strategy

If you ever write for the web in your job, chances are somebody asks you one of a variety of questions, many of which you may find tricky to answer in an informed and accurate way.

Content marketing and online analytics were two of the biggest emerging disciplines in B2B PR roles in Futureproofing The PR Department – our playbook for staying ahead in public relations. An SEO understanding is important to both, and a keyword strategy is at the heart of that.

Write for your audience, not search engines

I’ve always found search engine optimisation a misleading name for the process. For me, it sounds like you’re writing for Google, Bing and Yahoo. It conjures up images of trying to trick search engines into ranking your content highly by tenuously littering it with popular search terms, regardless of whether they’re relevant to your subject matter.

Even if that worked, nobody would want that as it’d mean your blog, press release or website would be attracting unfocused attention. Once they see it, then what? It’d be visits for the sake of them. They’d visit once, leave disappointed and be unlikely to return again. You’d then be left with the task of rebuilding the website’s reputation.

The reality is that the likes of Google don’t work like that anyway. Search engines are designed to provide relevant results, and use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to match results to the user’s intention. In other words, they use related keywords, synonyms and grammatical variations, when returning searches.

So you need to favour relevance over volume when including keywords in your content, and use related words to account for the different ways your market might choose to search. Write for your audience…if you’re relevant, the search engines will do the rest and help them find you.

Building a relevant keyword list

Whether it’s business blogging, a press release about a new piece of technology or a website tweak, you need a list of keywords to keep your content efforts on track. Make a list of all the categories related to what your company does and wants to be known for.

Start populating those categories with keywords related to each of them, and expand upon them by brainstorming related keyword searches and the phrases around them.

The keywords could be short-tail and comprised of one or two words, such as ‘internet security’, or they could be long-tail and made up of more words. An example would be ‘internet security free trial download’. Long-tail keywords tend to have a lower search volume than short-tail ones, but the traffic is often more focussed.

Finding related keywords and topics

Having a list of related keywords and topics is a good springboard for coming up with new content angles that appeal to your audience.

A quick way to find them, and gain an insight into what your audience is looking for, is to Google one of your keywords, then scroll to the bottom of the results page, where you can see a list of related searches.

Prioritising your keywords

Once you have a long list of relevant terms and phrases related to your business, you need to work out which ones to focus on.

Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner is most suited to PPC, but it works well for general keyword planning too. It’s free to use (you just need to sign-up for a Google account) and gives you search volume data for keywords in different locations, giving you an insight into which ones to prioritise based on competitiveness, as well as relevance to your business’s audience.

For more ways to stay ahead of the curve, download Futureproofing The PR Department