Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.
If you remember anything about Dory, you remember that she is on the hunt for her parents without any clue where they might be. She ends up finding them because she stumbles onto a path made of her favorite shells that lead back to where her parents are living. We find out that over the years she was gone, her parents were building new paths every day that led back to their home in hopes that one day she would stumble onto one and find her way home. Your content keyword strategy should work in a similar way.
People can’t find you if you aren’t in front of them. Remember, Dory isn’t the one with the plan — her parents are. Dory is wandering around and just doing whatever shows up in front of her. Keywords are much like those shell paths, branching out from your various pages. Your visitors are searching Google, Bing and other search engines, much like Dory scoured the ocean for her parents. The best chance you have of being found is to spread out a wide keyword map that is likely to get your content in front of people.
To cover the ocean of web possibilities, you are going to need a lot of those paths branching out in smart directions to land in the searches of your prospects. This is such a big deal in today’s virtual market that many companies are spending thousands of dollars each month to research and target the best keywords for their reach.
Do your research
So what are the best ways of searching keywords for your content? There are stellar tools you can use to help find the best keywords to focus on for your map.
Google Keyword Planner – This free tool is probably the most popular one on the market for doing keyword research. You can’t see what keywords you are currently ranking for, but you can use it to find similar and suggested keywords.
SEM Rush – This has long been a tool for digital marketing agencies and top businesses looking to be competitive with their keywords. This full-scale marketing platform will give you metrics on keyword rankings, traffic statistics, social media analysis, link building, brand monitoring and more. You can even see what websites are ranking for specific keywords, what position they are in, how much the pay per click is, the current volume of monthly traffic, and what similar keyword terms exist. Monthly packages for this tool start around $100.
MOZ Keyword Explorer – This is another tool available that is able to show competitive analysis reports, help with keyword research and provide backlink analysis. There is no social media integration with MOZ, and reports aren’t very advanced. Plans start around $100 a month.
Build a spreadsheet (yes, literally)
Start by mapping out what high-volume keywords are good for your brand and what content you already have that aligns with those keywords. You want to work out what content you need to produce more of, what content needs to be optimized, and what keywords are already well in hand. Create a spreadsheet that tracks the keyword, your URL related to that keyword (or NA if no content yet exists), the volume of the keyword, and then columns of the things that might impact your optimization (such as page load speed, organic traffic, external links and engagement levels).
- Map search volume to know how much the keyword is worth in your strategy.
- Track engagement and organic traffic to understand what keywords are already working (and then research similar variations).
- Look at how keywords are used within the content, URL and title of the page to help increase the ranking.
- Create a tangible keyword map to stay organized and see where you are positioned in your industry.
- Consider the organization of your site structure to support the keywords getting more volume (URL).
It may seem daunting at first, but build your map one shell at a time until you have a great number of valuable paths leading back to your site. As you craft those keyword paths, you are going to start to see the gaps where there is high volume for search but no direct content on your site. Increase your reach, and those passing fish will find the solutions you are offering.
Aletha M graduated from the University of Saint Francis in 2009 with a B.A., double-majoring in Communication Arts and Graphic Design and double-focusing in Illustration and Computer Arts. She photographed the Saint Francis football team for a paid work study all four years she spent at the school. Immediately after graduating, she got a job at a non-profit company teaching art to young children and running their art program. She moved on to work as a copywriter and graphic designer for another non-profit company in Indiana as a Marketing Assistant for two years. She now spends her time as a wife, mother, freelance writer, and photographer.