3 Reasons Your SEO Campaign Needs A Keyword Strategy
Whether your internal marketing team looks after your SEO in-house or you work with an external agency, an effective keyword strategy that will drive relevant organic traffic to your site – thereby generating more leads and revenue – is a must-have.
Through your keyword strategy, you’re able to benchmark current performance, make informed tactical decisions, monitor progress against your goals and gain valuable insight into competitor rankings.
In this blog, we’ll cover what a keyword strategy is and three key benefits of having one for your SEO campaign.
What is a keyword strategy?
Keywords are the bread and butter of SEO. Without a considered approach to what keywords you want to target, your ability to rank and compete in Google will be poor, resulting in very little organic traffic to your website.
A keyword strategy is designed to give focus to your SEO efforts, considering the opportunity, competitiveness and relevance of certain keywords and phrases to your business and its products or services. This process forms the backbone of an SEO strategy, allowing you to strategically target relevant phrases with the highest-ranking potential to drive organic performance.
How to create a keyword strategy
When working with new clients, keyword research is one of the first tasks on our to-do list. Before beginning your keyword research, we advise looking at your competitors to take stock of where you are versus where you want to be. Using our in-house Competitor Analysis tool, we can generate an understanding of where you sit in comparison to your competitors to learn how you can get ahead.
Following this analysis with extensive keyword research helps you select what keywords you should target in the short and long term to create an effective strategy. Below are some of our top pointers to help you through this process:
- Create a list of the focus areas or URLs you want to target. This helps you to define the most relevant target landing page(s) and provides focus for your SEO campaign.
- Consider what keywords you want to target on these pages through keyword research – this will be dependent on exactly what the page in question is for. For example:
- If the page is for women’s skirts then keywords will be top-level and generic such as ‘womens skirts’, ‘ladies skirts’ etc.
- If the page is more specific such as /womens/skirts/summer-skirts, longer tail or niche phrases should be targeted which could include terms such as ‘summer skirts’, ‘womens summer skirts’ and ‘skirts for summer’.
- Begin building your keyword list using tools such as SEMRush, Keyword Planner and Moz to help you keep track of your keywords. These tools also suggest similar keywords which can be incorporated into the strategy. Keywords should be segmented into groups (Skirts, Summer Skirts, Long Skirts, Smart Skirts) to help you keep track easier.
This will aid you in creating a keyword list segmented into different groups and mapped to a dedicated landing page. The size of this keyword list will depend on your business and its offering. It’s not about targeting as many keywords as possible. A short yet well-researched list can be just as successful in delivering against your objectives as a much longer, more extensive one.
Top tip: If there is no landing page to target a relevant keyword, this could highlight an opportunity to create a new page for that phrase.
What are the benefits of a keyword strategy?
1) You can benchmark your performance
Keyword and competitor research help to set expectations and performance benchmarks right at the start of your campaign ensuring all stakeholders are on the same page. This allows you to create a keyword strategy aligned to both your wider business goals while identifying market opportunities.
Once the final list has been agreed, you’re able to then benchmark your starting point and where you currently rank for keywords before any SEO work begins. At the start of a campaign, we recommend uploading your keyword list to a rank tracking software. There are many tools available such as SEMRush, Moz and Ahrefs which provide this service and will help to monitor the success of your campaigns.
Top tip: Check if your SEO agency has benchmarked your starting rankings. If not, how will success be measured? This is an essential task that supports keyword mapping, reporting, content, meta data – the list goes on!
2) You can set realistic campaign goals
It’s not uncommon for a business to want to rank for ambitious keywords only to find it’s unrealistic – at least in the short term. By choosing achievable keyword goals for your business, you can avoid disappointment.
For example, if you’re a small online business specialising in women’s fashion, the chance of ranking on page 1 for a highly competitive phrase such as ‘skirts’ could be slim. That isn’t to say that it’s completely impossible, but it will require a lot of time, resource and investment as well as continuous work to maintain that ranking if you did achieve it. However, if you found that you were already ranking at the top of page 2 in position 11 for the phrase ‘long summer skirts’ then this could be a more realistic target keyword to get on to page 1.
An element of your keyword strategy should focus on these ‘quick win’ keywords – phrases already ranking at the bottom of page 1 or on page 2. These keywords provide realistic opportunities that could be easier to achieve in the short term. Keywords which do not rank at all or rank on page 3+ should also be considered, however, it needs to be recognised that generating performance for these keywords could take more time.
Your target keywords list should be monitored and reviewed regularly. When new and relevant opportunities, products and services become available, you should look to expand and adapt your keyword list accordingly. For example, if your business has plans to release a new product in the lead up to Christmas, your keyword strategy should be expanded to cater for this.
Top tip: Google Search Console is an excellent tool for seeing what your website is already ranking for and helping you set realistic goals. It’s free for businesses to access and provides insight into your current rankings, clicks, impressions and click though rate (CTR).
3) You can track, monitor and report on keyword performance
When you invest in SEO, you really need to understand and monitor the success of your campaigns. The best way to do this is through regular reporting.
An SEO report should cover elements such as traffic, leads/revenue, competitor analysis, clicks and impressions. But one of the most important metrics to document on a report is keyword performance and rankings.
Monitoring rankings keeps a clear focus on the strategy and can help address issues and identify opportunities. For example, let’s say you’ve been working on the keyword ‘long summer skirts’ and have maintained position 6 for the last two months. However, you find your rankings slipping further down page 1. Documenting this movement in the report can help you recognise an issue and take action sooner rather than later.
A thorough report with in-depth ranking data is excellent for supporting internal communications too. This report can be used in the wider business for those who may have less understanding of SEO. If a business can see how organic campaigns are improving rankings and visibility across defined KPIs, then it can help to build the case for continued investment in SEO.
Top Tip: Ranking performance should ideally be assessed every month. Rankings can fluctuate day-to-day and should not be reported on in isolation. Averages across the month can give a better overview of performance.
Keyword research and strategy formation is a huge part of our technical SEO services. Our organic experts have even developed a variety of in-house, custom built tools which fuel us with data to guide our strategic decisions.
As an SEO agency, we have deployed our approach to keyword analysis for many businesses including Shelbourne Motors, Robins & Day and Premier Polytunnels to drive impressive and sustainable organic results. If you want to know more about our approach to keyword strategies, our technical SEO experts would be happy to chat with you.