Complete SEO Keyword Research Strategy

SEO

Tom Schmitz May 18 2011

Here is a complete SEO keyword research strategy.

This list is Google AdWords Keyword Tool centric. That’s because I tend to work on SEO with large enterprise clients that use AdWords. It is important to remember that the Google keyword database is designed for AdWords
and PPC traffic. It’s a limited set of words based on paid search, not organic search. Look at other keyword research tools like SEM Rush and WordStream and Keyword Discovery and WordTracker. Pay attention to the search queries that stand out. Just because Google does not corroborate
does not mean you should eliminate it.

Depending on the industry, market or niche this can take between a full day and a week. It involves a lot of data gathering and analysis.

Compare this to your own SEO keyword research strategy? Does anything stand out? Do you think something is missing?

I start with competition research.

  • What words and phrases do obvious or known competitors target? –> Add to the brainstorm list
  • What are their ranking strength metrics (links, authority, etc.)
  • What do they rank or get traffic for

Brainstorming possible keywords

  • Top of my head
  • Looking at competitors
  • SEM Rush, Wordstream and other research tools
  • Look for alternative sources of relevant words and phrases

Run words through Google Keyword Tool

  • Run the brainstorm list through the GKWT
  • Download, concatenate and results
  • Filter results – remove words that get no traffic or seem irrelevant

Grab the client’s ranking strength metrics (links, authority, etc.)

Guesstimate, among the keywords, based on competition, which words

  • The client can rank for immediately
  • Are achievable with some work
  • Are achievable with above average success
  • Are out of reach

Soft-match keywords to the client

  • Highest combination of search volume and ability to achieve a top 10 rank
  • Convertibility and commercial intent
  • Match to the client’s existing content
  • Match to possible new relevant content

Review the Top 10 ranking for each keyword to confirm

  • Whether or not the client ranks already
  • It is really relevant based on the present search results
  • The level of competitiveness for each keyword is realistic
  • There are no surprises or forgotten competitors

Determine the appropriate content strategy

  • Long tail content strategy – Lots of keywords with low search volume and low competition
  • High/Mid tail strategy – Select keywords with high search volume and high competition
  • Combination strategy

Identify hub pages/SEO target pages and assign keywords to them

  • Existing pages
  • Pages that will have to be created