Search engine optimization can be a complicated undertaking.
Indeed, SEO approaches, strategies and best practices are constantly changing, while new hack or growth tactics regularly appear, promising to boost SEO rankings and performance as never before.
There are myriad elements companies must consider related to SEO â€” from having more backlinks to producing better quality content, from enhancing on-page and off-page optimization to improving page load speeds.
And those are just a few of the elements.
Then, of course, there’s the most commonly discussed SEO component: keyword targeting
Ultimately, effective SEO takes a lot of work, time and resources. There’s a reason for all that; It’s worth it.
â€œSEO has an incredibly high ROI when compared to marketing channels like PPC or outbound marketing,â€ insists SEO guru Niel PatelOpens a new window , â€œ[it] is one of the best ways toÂ drive more consistent, relevant trafficOpens a new window that converts.â€
Although some of us opt to hire SEO agenciesOpens a new window to deal with that aspect of our business, many companies prefer to take it in-house. Marketers tend to try to handle keyword targeting themselves.
The problem, though, is that brands often overcomplicate the process, making tough work of something that could and should be relatively straightforward.
Keyword research is vital
The role of keywords in SEO has evolved significantly. Identifying a viable list of targetable words and phrases that will grow your site and page visitors and boost conversions â€” at a price that fits your budget â€” is increasingly critical to brands that want to ensure their advertisements, homepage and content are getting seen by the right audiences.
A robust keyword strategy also influences your quality score and ad rank, metrics that contribute to how high an ad is positioned on search engine results pages. Considering the top three ads in Google attract nearly half (46%) of all clicksOpens a new window , you can be sure that getting your web pages into a higher position for the relevant online searches will impact your company’s bottom line.
Content marketing: changing the keyword landscape
Estimated to be valued at half a trillion dollars within the next two years, content marketing has fast-become a vital component of a dynamic marketing campaignOpens a new window .
A major part of this shift can be explained by the fact that search engines prioritize high-quality contentOpens a new window that helps solve searchers’ problems.Â As Patel notes, â€œSEO is no longer about targeting your homepage for the industry keyword.â€ Rather, he says, â€œcontent marketing is SEO incarnate.â€
In other words, while SEO elements such as meta data, page speed and even keyword optimization are still important, content is now the key driver of SEO success and lead generation.Opens a new window
That’s why Patel advises marketers to â€œstop wrrying about the small things and focus on the efforts that will generate the best return.â€
That means designing a content marketing strategy with defined goals, backlinks and, most importantly, keyword research.
That’s right, we’re taking it back to that age-old â€” but timeless â€” design principle: keep it simple, stupid.
Too many fellow marketers I know spend hours, if not days, researching keywords of one or more of the big keyword platforms (for example, Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Moz, Ahrefs and SEMRush). As many of you know, though, this process can produce a thousand or more potential keywords to target, sending you down a keyword research rabbit hole.
And it’s easy to overcomplicate things when you’re filtering through such overwhelming amounts of data.
So how can marketers ensure they don’t get tangled in the weeds of keyword targeting?
Focus your research around real searches instead of a generic keywords in your space. Marketers need to understand that search engines’ keyword evaluation is becoming less computerized and is more contextual and intent-based.
Don’t put so much stock in those keyword generating services. Instead, couple the insights you get from them with your own common sense and knowledge of your industry and audience.
Creating keyword groups is a great way to identify which words and phrases you should target on different parts of your site and in your various pieces of content.
This sponsored blog from AdzoomaOpens a new window , published on Martech Today, does a great job of breaking down how you can group your keywords based on your specific business operations, as well as on the intent of your target consumers.