Back for Part 3 in the series on Keyword research. In Part 1, we explored the history of SEO keyword research and what are considered best practices for 2014. Continuing in Part 2, we went through the nuts and bolts of using the Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool.
For those following the series – now that you have some hands on experience with the functionality of this tool – we can take a step back and talk about merging the practical use of the tool with the creative and intuitive part of our brains. What does that mean? Musicians and painters use an instrument or brush as a tool and they develop skills for how to use them technically, but when they play or paint, the creative process controls the tool.
So with keyword research, I have seen people create lists of thousands of words and phrases – that is the relatively easy part. But how do you narrow it all down to one primary phrase and a few supporting ones? That is the goal to achieve.
Keyword research should help to define the structure of the website. Once you determine the top level focus of your Home Page, you need to determine what the focus for the other site pages will be and how your navigation will display them.
Think about it this way, if you are at a party and someone inquires as to what your business is about, what do you tell them? Not in an elongated ten minute conversation, no life history, no listing of each and every thing that you manufacture or offer as a service – but in one small phrase containing two or three words! Can you do it? If you got it – write it down. It may be a very good starting point. Or not!
It is often difficult for an organization to determine that top level keyword phase that defines their entire entity. EVERYTHING else that you do is a sub-group of this top phrase. That important primary keyword phrase is the focus of the Home Page.
Here is an example:
Conversation overheard: “Well, we have a music production company doing primarily music for children, with a variety of signed recording artists, we own and operate our recording studio and we sometimes produce music for TV shows or films, but primarily we release all our music on our own record label. On the side, my partner and I are both studio musicians and we play bass and drums on other people’s records.”
Based on that cocktail party conversation, what is the top level focus for your Home Page – the page that everything else you do fits under?
I initially would choose “Children’s Music” as the focus, with the longer tail “Children’s Music Record Company” as the primary keyword phrase.
Next I would run that through the Keyword Planner tool and, like in this instance, there might be a surprise! “Children’s Music” has 1,000 monthly searches while “Kids Music” has 9,900! So the primary focus becomes “Kids Music” and “Kids Music Record Company” is the primary keyword phrase, with “Children’s Music” and “Children’s Music Record Company” as supporting phrases. With that top of the pyramid in place, your site can be structured something like this:
Now that you know the pages of your website, the next task is to do research and select the keyword phrases for each one. Notice that I am not lumping “Recording Studio” in with “Music Production” on the same page. They each have their own page and unique copy, and the hierarchy created is logical and natural.
Note that I named the blog for this site, “Kids Stuff Blog,” because when you blog on your website, your topics should not just be one dimensional. Branch out from music to other interesting things about kids and families. If you create a variety of great children related content that is well optimized for search by the diligent keyword research you will do after reading this tutorial series of posts, then people will hopefully find your website when they are searching for things other than just “Music for Kids”. Since the blog topics are all kid related and attracting folks who have children, you can acquire an audience of site visitors that may indirectly discover the best kids music to purchase for their family and friends!! I have written individual blog posts targeted to the desired audience segments that have virtually doubled the traffic to a website.
There is structure and order to good SEO. It is logical. Make wise and thoughtful choices, revisit them the next day and refine. It is smart to refer to competitor’s websites, but even though they may be more successful than you, don’t automatically assume that if you copy all the things they incorporated in their website that you will be elevated to their level. Don’t assume either that they are doing great SEO that you should mimic. You may be copying a bad website that gained credibility in the eyes of Search Engines primarily because the NY Times featured them in an article and referred a ton of traffic to them (or various other reasons).
Now you are on your own to explore this world. Fly out of the nest, interact with the Keyword Planner Tool to do keyword research for your website and blog. Content rules and optimized content, really rules!
Have you used these keyword research tactics for your content? We would love to hear about it. Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.