Any Beginner’s SEO 101 Guide will tell you that Keyword Research is the first step in the SEO process. However, many guides fail to explain the actual process of conducting keyword research. There are different keyword types, latent semantic indexing, audience profiles and difficult metrics to account for. For this reason, I wrote the Complete Keyword Research Guide for SEO.
Understanding Keyword Types for Audience Targeting
One of the fundamental steps to understanding keyword research is being able to differentiate informational keywords from intentional keywords. These keyword types or keyword segments, help us create a content strategy that aligns with our conversion funnel.
Informational vs. Intentional Keywords
Research, Tutorials, DIY
Build Awareness and Interest
Account for Majority of Organic Traffic
Direct Response Keywords
Used for Products/Services pages
Difficult to Rank/ High Competition
Now we visualize this concept using a marketing funnel:
Persona-Driven Keyword Research
For many industries, especially B2B, searchers will query (search) for identical products or services using completely different keywords. Reasons for this can be generally attributed to the searcher’s job role, technical knowledge, or skillset. Hypothetically, a construction supervisor in need of bronze alloy pipes may use broader terms like bronze copper alloys, while an engineer may use a more specific terms associated with testing standards or compounds.
The first step is to create audience personas. We will want to obtain information such as:
There are many ways to collect this data. Some of these options include:
Social profiles really are a great tool for collecting persona data. You can quickly and easily understand their likes, dislikes, and even the way they write.
For fanstastic, in-depth information about persona-driven keyword research, check this out.
How to Choose Your Keywords
Keyword research and selection is not an exact science. Some SEO strategies may involve much more detailed keyword segmentation or groups. However, a great way to get started is by using a keyword research tool.
Once you’ve finished building a list of keywords, next it is time to qualify those keywords. You will be spending a lot of time in the near future optimizing for these keywords, so you wan to make sure you’re optimizing for the right ones.
Keyword Qualification Checklist
Is the keyword relevant to your website content?
Applying Keyword Research to SEO Strategies
More than likely, you are beginning to realize that there is a whole lot more search volume associated with your informational keyword list than your intentional keyword list. Yes, this is normal. A long time ago, Rand Fishkin wrote a blog called Illustrating the Long Tail. The illustration below is from his article and interestingly enough, Long Tail keywords (which are commonly informational keywords) make up for 80% of the traffic.
Your long tail keywords and informational keywords can all be part of your content strategy. Using each article, blog, or page as a new way to drive more traffic to your website. At that point it is important to remember, however, that you will need to plan your conversion strategy. Once the user gets to the website, how do you convert them into a sale? What’s your strategy?
Joshua Belland is the CEO & Founder of Joshua Belland SEO Consulting. He specializes in developing SEO driven content strategies, while using his web development skills for technical SEO. Josh's career in SEO started in 2009 and uses his blog/writing as a means to give back to the SEO community while educating other's in the industry. Linkedin | Google+ | Twitter