Venturing into 2011 means a significant number of business owners making their New Year’s resolutions to overcome the economic downtime through various marketing campaigns. One of those campaigns that will likely be a focal point of businesses in Connecticut is their online marketing. However, without the proper tools and research prior to January 1st, you will miss out on an early start to your 2011 success.
Let’s take a moment to break down the keyword research into phases (4 to be exact):
Phase 1: Ground Breaking
“Work from the ground up.” In other words, start your research at the very beginning and expand from there. In this particular case, the beginning of your research is the idea of keyword research.
Numerous companies have common misconceptions of keyword research:
- You Need Software — As much as a few software programs may help certain people, they are certainly not a necessity. In fact, you can find outstanding keyword research tools that are free throughout the great source which is the world wide web.
- Isolate High Search Rate Keywords — While this is enticing and a significant number of SEO companies out there recommend targeting high search rate keywords, this is not the answer for your campaign. With high search rate keywords comes an extreme amount of competition, so include them but do not focus on them in your research.
- Short Keywords Only — If you have followed our keyword and search engine optimization updates, you’ll know right away that this is a large misconception. Keywords come in one word, multiple word, or long-tail form. All of which need to be included in your research to optimize the results and overall impact on your campaign.
In general, to complete a well-rounded and all-inclusive keyword research process, you need to ensure that you have no pre-established misconceptions and you fully know what keyword research will yield for results. Remember that keyword research is a necessary step in your online marketing campaign, and one that will help you launch in front of your competition.
Phase 2: Be The Man With The Red Coat and White Beard (Santa)
As you rid your campaign of keyword research misconceptions, you will start to establish a list of true keywords (short and long-tail) that are used by your target audience. Instead of going at this task all at once, think about you being Santa – he makes his list and checks it twice throughout the year.
In other words, take your time creating the list of keywords and make sure you continually check that list throughout your campaign. First and foremost, you want to create a list of all words you think your customer would use when they want to find a business like yours. Would they use location, products, services, generalities, team members, or company name?
The second step of the second phase is to ask your friends, colleagues, and even current clientele about the search terms they may use when they search for companies like yours. This, in general, will give you an outside perspective to what your target audience puts in their search box. This will also extend your current list to the point where you have to eliminate some of the keywords.
The third (and last step) of this phase is to eliminate any general terms like “shoes” or “hats”, etc. The searches that most individuals do now consist of at least two words, and reach to an average of 6 words. With that said, anything shorter or longer than that needs to be considered for elimination.
Phase 3: Build With Tools
We mentioned (in phase 1) the idea of using software and other resources in your keyword research processes. The idea behind these tools is to simplify and increase the efficiency of your research. By using the various tools and resources available to you, you can narrow down your keyword list into highly-attainable and target-traffic focused keywords which will power your online marketing campaign throughout 2011.
Here are some of those tools:
- Google Adwords — One of the best free tools for keyword research, and one that needs to be used in each and every keyword research process.
- WordTracker — While I haven’t sampled the paid version, WordTracker’s free tools are some great resources for keyword research. They allow you to input potential keywords and view their usability amongst your competition. This is an awesome thing to have at your fingertips (for free!).
- WordStream — Once again, WordStream has a paid service which I haven’t tried, but I listed their site because of their phenomenal free tools. They are currently ranked by several SEO leaders (including us) as having some of the most efficient and useful reporting tools for free.
Phase 4: Solidify Your List & Attack The Market
With the research that you do with the free and paid tools, you will start to narrow down your tremendous keyword list into a high-power and high-efficiency list of keyword phrases which will yield significant results for you and your company. Try creating a spreadsheet of your keywords initially to establish trackability search rate, and conversion ratios for the phrases; this will allow you to become aware of the current keywords’ effectiveness. However, you want to focus your initial campaign on the top 10 to 20 keyword phrases and rank them as such on your spreadsheet to make its use easier.
Now that you have established your top-rated keywords, it’s time to plan out your online marketing strategy for 2011. Take a look at the things you need to consider:
- On-Page Search Engine Optimization — Analysis of everything from the types of pages that you have to the content on the pages to the tags, meta descriptions, headings, alt texts, and anchor texts. Ask yourself if you need more content pages than you currently have to maximize the selected keywords, if you need to adjust the content you currently have on the site to accommodate the newly acquired keywords, and then make sure you alter the meta data to fit those changes.
- Off-Page Search Engine Optimization — Now is the time to attack your social media outlets through social forums, social network platforms, blogs, online articles, and much more. In fact, the more you can use keyword-rich quality content to attract readers and search engine bots to your site the better. So, get out there, use anchor text, alt texts for pictures, and quality interactions to enhance your overall reputation.
- Analyze and Repeat — Constant analysis of your keywords, their effectiveness, and audience behaviors is the third key to this phase. Without it, your site will merely be white noise if your audience alters their conversion behaviors in any way. However, if you analyze on a regular basis and adjust your content to match your site users you will consistently be ahead of the game when it comes to driving targeted traffic.
Now that you have the steps needed to complete your keyword research for your online marketing campaign in 2011, you need to do one more thing…take action! However, if you need help in completing the research and establishing an online marketing campaign for your business, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
If search engine optimization (SEO) is something that you are interested in but don’t know how to get started, contact us today to schedule your free marketing analysis.
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Image Source: HubSpot, “The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing”, E-Marketer.com