The starting point for any search strategy is to identify by which words you want to fight.
Even for older sites and that have already received many links, it is impossible to compete for all words related to the business organically.
For sites that are starting, this fact gets even worse. So it’s important to choose what search terms you want your site to be listed in the first few Google results and then set strategies to achieve that goal.
Creating the list
The list should start with a variety of words that are related to your business. One tool that should help a lot is the Google Keyword Tool. From a data entry (can be a site or a set of keywords), the tool can provide a large list of suggestions, as well as other data that we will use later.
To feed the tool, we suggest that your company insert each of these items into the Keyword Tool:
Words that describe your company, products/services and the market in which it operates;
Your own website;
The site of competitors or referrals in the market;
If you already use some tool that measures your site traffic, like Google Analytics, include words that already generate organic traffic.
For each of the steps, separate the relevant results and place them a worksheet. With this initial list in hand, three key points should serve as a basis for choosing which keywords your business will fight for:
1. Search Volume
It is important to ensure that there are many people effectively searching for the keywords you want to compete with.
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The Keyword Tool itself offers this information. Remember to add it as a column next to each keyword in your spreadsheet.
2. Relevance to the business
Relevance to the business is how much what you offer on your site is related to what the user is searching for.
Several terms have a broad scope where others describe more precisely what your company offers. You need to identify how strong the keyword relationship is with your business.
Imagine that someone searches for “marketing” on Google: our blog certainly has some relation to the keyword, but it’s not that strong. Those looking for marketing may be interested in academic concepts, an advertising agency, buying books on the subject, among others. So the relevance is low. Already for searches on “digital marketing blog” our relevance becomes greater.
Think about the following question: If the chance for the user to find what you are looking for is from 1 to 5, what is the grade of each of the keywords in my list?
With this note in hand, place it on your spreadsheet, keyword for keywords.
3. Difficulty of the keyword
There are keywords that are already explored by highly relevant sites and well evaluated by Google while others still give a lot of room for new sites to quickly appear among the first results. As a result, it is very difficult to rank your website among the first few terms and this should be evaluated when setting your keywords.
It is not a general rule but usually the higher the volume, the harder it is to be among the first. Another way to check the difficulty is to price the AdWords tool: more expensive keywords are often the hardest (if the price is not appearing in the tool, you need to be logged in). Other simple indicators are the number of search results for the keyword (which appears on the Google results page just below the search field) and the authority of the sites that appear on the first page, which can be estimated by some tools.
There are even more elaborate tools, which offer a difficulty assessment of keywords taking into account a whole set of important factors.
The difficulty should be one more column in your spreadsheet.
Note: If you are also using the spreadsheet to purchase Adwords, the average CPC for the keyword is also a required column.
Coming to the final definition of keywords
Now is the time to look at your spreadsheet items and take stock. A fairly simple method is to give scores for each of the three criteria and produce an average.
Generally, we can see a long tail of keywords:
There are keywords that are much better than the others, but they are also harder to compete with.
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Our general recommendation is to think about the authority of your site and choose to use the keywords directly proportional: the less authority, the less crowded the chosen keywords should be.
However, this situation changes over time. So do not throw away your spreadsheet: you have to constantly evaluate the results of the choice, and as the site gains more credibility and more fighting for better keywords, you can review the choice and opt for keywords of greater volume.