Keyword optimization (also known as keyword research) is the act of researching, analyzing and selecting the best keywords to target to drive qualified traffic from search engines to your website.
Keyword search optimization is a critical step in initial stages of search engine marketing, for both paid and organic search. If you do a bad job at selecting your target keywords, all your subsequent efforts will be in vain. So it’s vital to get keyword optimization right.
But optimizing keywords isn’t something you do ONLY at the outset of a search marketing campaign. Ongoing keyword optimization is necessary to keep uncovering new keyword opportunities and to expand your reach into various keyword verticals. So keyword optimization isn’t a set it and forget it process. By continuously performing keyword analysis and expanding your database of keywords, your site traffic, leads and sales will continue to grow.
In a recent survey, participants listed keyword optimization as one of the hardest tasks in search engine marketing. Because of its difficult nature, most site owners, marketers and bloggers don’t spend enough time optimizing keywords. This is ironic since optimizing keywords is the most important aspect of SEO and PPC. If you don’t choose and use keywords your customers are searching for, you won’t get found. That means no traffic, no sales, no money.
So to look at the big picture, you must practice search engine keyword optimization to:
Keyword optimization plays a major role in every aspect of Internet marketing from content strategy, to link building, to how you group your keywords in your AdWords ad groups, to how your site content is organized, a.k.a your information architecture.
SEO Keyword Optimization
When it comes to SEO, the success of your organic search efforts rests largely on how effective you are at discovering, researching, analyzing and selecting the right search engine keywords for your website. All other aspects of SEO rely on successful keyword optimization. What’s more, optimizing keywords touches every aspect of your SEO marketing efforts.
PPC Keyword Optimization
But optimized keywords aren’t just for organic search marketing. There’s tremendous value in optimizing your PPC keywords. To be effective with your pay-per-click campaigns, you must speak the searcher’s language. The more keywords you select that your customers are searching for, the more traffic you’ll drive to your website, the more consumers you’ll convert to customers.
You can take your PPC optimization further by evaluating your AdWords account with the AdWords Performance Grader, which grades your campaigns on important factors like ad text and long-tail keyword optimization.
Social Media Keyword Optimization
Determining which keywords to target and how to incorporate them into your messaging is also a big factor in social media marketing. This guide to Keyword Research for Social Media is a good resource for determining which keywords your audience is using and covers everything from how to conduct keyword research for YouTube to researching keywords for Facebook.
When determining which keywords to choose for your optimizations efforts, there are a number of factors you should evaluate.
Keyword Popularity – The more popular a keyword is (meaning the more that people search for it), the more traffic it will drive to your website, should you rank highly for it, that is. When it comes to choosing keywords based on popularity, there are two lines of thinking.
Keyword Relevance – It’s critical to choose keywords to optimize for based on how relevant they are to your products or services. If your keywords are not intrinsically relevant to what you’re offering on your website, the traffic the search engines feed your website will not be delivered a relevant message. Thus, they will be unable to complete the “search and reward cycle.” You see, searchers seek relevance and without it you’re unlikely to convert them into customers.
Keyword Intent – To determine the value of your keywords, you need to identify the intent of the searchers. Which stage are they at in the search cycle? Are they browsing? Are they ready to buy? Or are they simply looking for solutions or pursuing information?
The intent behind keywords or more specifically “search queries” can be broken down into three categories.
It’s important to optimize for the high intent keywords rather than keywords of low intent. By identifying, classifying and segmenting your high intent keyword groups into separate baskets of intent and eliminating the low-value keywords, you’ll see your search relevance rise and you’ll generate more, qualified traffic.
Finally, since it’s so important to choose the right keyword for blogging, Web copy and landing page creation, let’s wrap this up with some of the best tools on the Web for researching, analyzing, discovering and optimizing keywords. I’ve also included some of my favorite articles on keyword optimization, analysis and research so you can learn more about optimizing keywords.
If you’re starting a site from scratch, it can be difficult to know which keywords to target. The good news is there are a number of free keyword search tools to help you discover keywords. One of our favorites is…
Great Keyword Optimization Resources
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.