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Data-Driven Marketing Steps for SEO Keyword Analysis

The stepping stones for keyword analysis are actually anything but data-driven.  They require thoughtful analysis and dialogue about the messaging and goals of your website.  However, keyword analysis without web analytics will inevitably result in missed opportunities for search traffic and conversions that your website needs to grow your business.

Step One:  Identify the subject matter of each of your landing pages.  Keep the subject simple.  Ask yourself the following questions?

  1. What do I want a visitor to gain from landing on this page?
  2. What would a visitor be searching for that would cause them to land on this page
  3. What are my clients goals for the page?

Allow this list be very long, using both single keywords (head terms) and short phrases (long-tail keywords).  Make sure the lists are defining a specific landing page.  If a keyword appears for two or more landing pages, take the time to figure out where the term would provide the best depiction of the page.

Step Two:  Use external resources to build your list even further, including a thesaurus and friends or colleagues that are familiar with the site, as well as the goals for the site.

Step Three:  The first data-driven step for keyword analysis it to use an online keyword analysis application to identify the search volume and search competition level of each of the keywords on your list.  The search volume will indicate how many times a term was searched on a particular search engine, or across several engines (depending on the tool) within a designated period of time.  The higher the volume will be indicative of the level of opportunity you site has to be displayed for natural search results.  The search competition level provides a gauge of how difficult it will be to get a top rank for that term – based on how many sites are targeting the keyword or phrase.  Begin isolating the terms with the good search-volume-to-competition ratio.

Note: These applications may also provide like terms that you can analyze as potential candidates for your keyword target options.  You may be tempted to add terms to your list when you see their search volume, but make sure you are always thinking about the questions in Step One when adding to your list of keyword possibilities.  It will be impossible to create valuable content for a page if you are forced to write around terms that are not an accurate depiction of your landing page purpose/message.

Step Four:  The second data-driven step for keyword analysis is to apply any additional web analytics at your disposal.  For example, if you have paid search campaigns running, give extra weight to high performing keywords.  These keywords provide much better data-driven insight than search volume.  They actually evidence that a search not only resulted in a click onto your site, but a successful event was achieved.  This is a valuable indicator that the visitor landed on the site they were searching for, which is essential to the visitor experience, and the search engine’s perception of relevance for the search term

Step Five:  When you have your keyword list narrowed down, take the time to enter the finalists into one or more search engines one by one.  Look at the sites that are ranking for those keywords.  This will be a key indicator for what that particular search engine identifies as a relevant landing page for that term.  Is this the company your site should be keeping, or would your presence make the SERP (search engine rank page) a classic case of “one of these things is not like the other”.  If it is the latter, consider crossing it off your list.  It is likely a sign that the keyword is not the best depiction of your subject matter.

Although you are ultimately only going to be able to use one or two keywords for each landing page, it is beneficial to have five or six on hand when it is time to develop you content.  You may find some of the terms make it too difficult to build up keyword dense copy that is written well, so the other options may have to take the lead.

Another article that may be helpful for your keyword analysis:

Keyword Research Tools Tips for Data-Driven Marketers

Popularity: unranked [?]

Author: Steve Parker

*This post originally appeared on Asking Smarter Questions and has been reposted with permission.

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