What’s Your SEO Keyword Strategy?
Let’s get right to it. If you’re just starting out with SEO, you’ve probably found more than a few “Get to the first page of Google quick” articles and “Everything you need to know about SEO” guides.
Those things are helpful for some and they’re probably well-meaning…perhaps.
But, here’s the thing those countless marketing gurus might not be telling you about SEO:
Even knowing and using the basic keyword do’s and don’ts puts you ahead of the curve.
Of course, diving deep and getting really hyper-focused on the micro-level details would be a whole new level of impact.
But if you’ve been avoiding learning or using SEO because you don’t think it’ll make a difference, I’m here to tell you not to sleep on it.
Okay, great. But now what?
Well, today I’m going to share a few basic keyword concepts that you can take with you as you start an SEO strategy right now.
Know Why Keywords Exist (And Why “Tequila” Isn’t Enough)
You probably already know that a keyword is a word someone types into Google or another search engine (Let’s be honest, though. It’s probably Google.)
When they type that keyword or keyword phrase in, they get results that the search engine believes they’re looking for.
Imagine this: You’re at a new trendy bar and don’t recognize anything on the drink menu.
The bartender might ask you, “Well what kind of liquor do you like?”
“Tequila!” you reply.
When you tell him “tequila”, you’re providing a keyword, and he can then make you a drink, or suggest one from that drink menu, that you might like.
Imagine, then, that Google is the bartender, the word “tequila” is the keyword, and whatever drink he suggests is the keyword result.
Maybe he nails it!
But perhaps he doesn’t.
And if you haven’t gone off to the kitchen for a drink yet, you’ve probably already noticed what the problem with this might be.
What if you’re at a tequila bar, and the entire multi-page drink menu is only tequila? And what about the sheer number of potential tequila drinks and types of tequila there are?
If all you tell the bartender about your drink preferences is “tequila” you could end up with a lot of things you don’t like.
Getting back to our Google SEO keyword analogy, you realize this:
A keyword like “tequila”… may not be enough.
It may not be enough in terms of specificity: You may need to use multiple words or phrases.
It may not be enough in terms of purpose: Does targeting just the keyword “tequila” get you in front of people who are specifically looking for your tequila drink recipes?
In the same way that you don’t want just any tequila drink from your bartender, you don’t want your product or service to end up in front of just any customer or client.
When you select keywords and use them in your content, copy, or website backend, you want to be sure your work shows up in front of the right people and that when you show up in Google, it’s for the exact right purpose.
That’s why you’re going to get creative with your keywords.
Create Purposeful Keyword Lists
If you haven’t read my prior article about client psychology, I recommend it before beginning your SEO keyword journey.
If you have here’s the next step beyond diving into client psychology: Create keyword lists for each page and purpose.
Once you know who your ideal client is, you can create lists that connect to the questions they ask, the things they need to know, the problems they’re trying to solve, and the things they’re just captivated by.
You won’t simply create keyword lists that apply to what your product or service literally does (“simple tequila drink”) you’ll create keywords that relate to what your client or customer thinks they want (“easy to make summer tequila cocktails”)
The client psychology and SEO strategy here can’t be overstated: You’ll want to create lists with intention.
You may end up with keyword lists focused on each website page, for each product or offer, for each benefit, or even for each client-related pain point.
These lists allow you to get really specific about how you want to show up in search results. They allow you to explore your searcher’s intent and play with the phrasing they might use.
Be warned: When you get purposeful about your lists you may find yourself enjoying the SEO process.
Whether you’ve built these lists in a Excel spreadsheet or a Google Sheet they’re not doing anything for you unless you begin to use them in your content and copy.
So these last two tips are warnings to keep your keyword efforts on track.
Say no to keyword stuffing
When you first begin to infuse your writing with SEO, you may find yourself feeling an urge to put your keywords in every line or phrase. You might want to repeat them, and you may have even heard that they need to show up repeatedly in a paragraph or on a page to make a dent in your SEO.
First, yes you do need to use your keywords. You created that list and you’re going to use it.
But second, you should not be stuffing everything with the same or similar keywords.
The truth is that your audience, even if they know nothing about SEO, can feel what you’re doing when you write,
“We’re a team of coaches providing coaching services to people who are ready to shift their life with some help from a coach.”
Keyword stuffing is punished by the SEO overlords and makes your customers uncomfortable. So, strategy-wise, take a look at your lists, make sure you have a few ways to answer a question, a few ways to say something, and even a few words related to your main word.
In the overtly sarcastic example above, you might shift to something like,
“We’re a team of coaches that provide support, accountability, and resources to clients who are ready to make a change in their lives, with some help from trusted advisors.”
This is way less keyword-stuffed and yet still has some great coaching-related keywords in it.
And speaking of keyword stuffing, don’t overcomplicate your SEO life either.
And Focus For Your Sake
No one does SEO perfectly. And I’m right there with you if this feels challenging for you.
When I first started writing my website for SEO I used all the keywords. I kept them varied, I didn’t stuff, my lists were client-psychology backed, and still… crickets.
What was going on?
Well, after a lot of digging and research, I found that what I was trying to do, whether I knew it or not, was focus on too many keywords in each piece or page.
Once you have your keyword lists, you’ll then want to “optimize” or focus on 2-5 keywords per piece or page.
You’re still trying to avoid keyword stuffing, but when you zero in on how to use those 2-5 words a few times (and balance that with words that are related to them too), you become even more purposeful. You have the essentials handled.
There is a delicate balance between keyword optimizing focusing and keyword stuffing but it comes down to that earlier coaching example. If it’s not disrupting your reader’s focus and it’s helping your SEO (which is, in turn, helping you serve them) you’re probably doing it right.
And, though SEO is a long game, you can still find yourself with a streamlined strategy that’s manageable and that you can measure over time.
Dorky as it sounds: That’s an SEO win.
Your Next Steps For Search Engine Optimization
So now that you know how to get started with keywords and what to avoid as you do, where do you go from here?
Get these concepts nailed down and then take action. (Imperfect, “probably going to need to readjust but lets get our hands dirty anyway” action.)
Take that action.
Learn as you grow.
Don’t wait until you know everything about keywords…that day won’t come and your business can’t wait.
Get your strategy in place, make your lists, select your 2-5 focus words per piece, and don’t keyword stuff.
Then check your metrics over time to see the impact (Don’t worry I’ll cover basic SEO measurement-tracking in a future blog), and then decide where you need to learn a bit more.
That way, you can learn and add to your future SEO strategy while your current strategy continues its work.
Want To Learn More About Implementing a Simple SEO Strategy?
If you want to learn more about SEO or want a step-by-step process for addressing your business or brand’s search engine optimization, head over to my Stellar SEO course or reach out to me here to schedule an SEO consultation call.