Keywords & Content are the foundation for successful search engine optimization and effective website copywriting to attract targeted visitors. In the Keywords & Content column, expert contributors shared strategies for keyword research and search term analysis, compare query volume and estimate competition in the SERPs, SEO copywriting tips, new ideas for content creation and better ways to utilize existing keyword analytics to further your optimization strategy. Keywords & Content no longer runs as a standalone column and has since been incorporated into the Content Marketing column on Marketing Land.

Avoiding The Keyword Research Checkmate

Chasing after one specific keyword set can not only be frustrating, but also inefficient. The marriage of keyword research and content can result in strong, targeted pages that perform, reach the ideal demographic, and result in conversions -- if you're willing to test and think "outside the box." Targeting keywords solely because they have a high search volume isn't necessarily the best way to go about creating your keyword roadmap for on-site copy and inbound tactics. As selfish as we like to be with keyword targeting, it can't exist as its own siloed research anymore. At the end of [...]


The Informational Content Advantage

You may have heard that content is king, but the truth is that informational content is king. It's estimated that approximately 50-80% of search queries are informational in nature (pdf). Most websites have very little informational content on them, preferring instead to focus on driving a conversion. These websites are missing an excellent opportunity to capture search market share. Ratios of Informational Content In previous articles, I've written about the importance of theming content -- developing a strategy that truly plays to your customers' search intent. But usually, very little [...]


Spring Into A New Content Strategy

It’s officially Spring! The time when we all start thinking about websites. No, I’m lying, you’re probably thinking about getting outside instead of reading this article. But, on the subject of website redesign, we’re leading several of our clients through this right now. As they’re all at various stages and have various requirements for the finished project, I thought it might be beneficial to write up a content strategy process you can use when you do redesign your website. Hire The Right People You need: A Website Developer: one who is open to a variety of platforms and c [...]


How To Stop The Panic Before Asking “Have I Been Panda Slapped?”

[caption id="attachment_112063" align="alignright" width="205"] Image credit to ShutterStock[/caption] You may see a drop in rankings or traffic and immediately panic. Have I been Panda-slapped? Even now, as we look at the two year anniversary of Google's Panda Update, the likelihood is that you have not. Rankings and traffic fluctuate for many reasons, most of which are not related to penalties from search engines. But, how can you tell? Instead of watching rankings overall, watch categories of keywords. If you separate your keyword categories by topic, you can more easily spot trends t [...]


4 Under The Radar Keyword Research Sources You Can Use To Find Hidden Gems

keywords-writing-content-featured If you are using the same tools and techniques as your competitors, you’ll end up competing on the same keywords, resulting in an ongoing SEO battle that will drain your resources in this zero sum game. This article will outline a number of tools and techniques that I have used to go above and beyond conventional keyword research to find 'hidden gems' with low competition and high volume. 1.  Wikipedia How many times have you found a promising keyword only to discover a Wikipedia page ranking first in Google? The prospect of having to outrank Wikipedia used to be daunting, but after dis [...]


Back To Basics: Getting Started With Keyword Research & Content Creation

Sometimes, the best path to success in SEO is going back to the basics of good old fashioned keyword research and content creation with the end goal in mind: the customer and the conversion. In this article, I’ll look at a website that was submitted for review from a “Keywords and Content” focus. The site is Restoration Parts Source (RPS), an e-commerce website supplying restoration car parts and accessories for new, vintage and classic U.S. makes and models. 1.  Don’t Focus Only On Broad Keywords In his submission, Michael, RPS’s Web consultant, listed some keywords that [...]


The Keyword Researcher’s Guide To Creating Competitive & Compelling Content

Any marketing veteran will tell you that before you begin developing a business marketing plan, you first need to know who your target market is, along with what they want and how to appeal to them. This is just as true online as it is offline. When pursuing an online marketing campaign, whether it be SEO, PPC, social media or link building, keyword research helps you understand your potential audience. And, understanding your audience is key to developing smart and effective usability practices on your website. Using a variety of keyword research tools that are available online, you can [...]


Keywords & Search In 2013: Interview With Andrew Goodman & Matt Van Wagner

Recently I had a chance to sit down with two veterans of the search industry, Andrew Goodman of Page Zero Media and fellow Search Engine Land contributor, Matt Van Wagner of Find Me Faster, after their session “From Keywords to Buy Words” at SES Chicago. The conversation started with keywords, but took on a life of its own as we discussed Google, Bing, attribution, and even urinal advertising. Jenny Halasz (JH): What do you think are the most important issues facing how we think about keywords? Andrew Goodman (AG): Evolution is what we feel most comfortable with, and we are hop [...]


What Is The Secret Sauce In Good Content?

One of the things I really like about the field of SEO is how so many professionals are willing to help others in their free time. They volunteer to help non-profits, write blog posts for free (ahem!), and attend public SEO meet-ups. In the Puget Sound area of Washington State, the Seattle SEO Network holds a pair of monthly meetings: one for Pro SEOs to exchange ideas and help each other learn, and another to bring together SEOs and local business people starting in the world of online marketing who might not know a <title> tag from a local search citation. Having volunteered my t [...]


Have Keywords Stopped Being A Proxy To The Customer?

keywords-fog-featured It’s said that keywords are a proxy for a customer, right? So let’s talk about the customer. Schema this, canonical that, and black and white zoo animals… if you don’t have a search expert on payroll, you’re already behind the Joneses. I get emails like the one below all the time, this one being from the talented owner of Castleview 3D Architectural Renderings: “I need your help.  I realy don't get the whole keywords/SEO/web marketing thing -- but I know enough to know that I shouldn't and don't want to tackle it myself. I'm a small business (small = just me) and maybe I can't [...]


How To Develop Helpful Content To Improve Visibility & Conversion

In this article, we’ll look at another website that was submitted for review from a "Keywords and Content" point of view. The site is Shipping 2 USA, a free service where "you get the lowest quote for shipping to/from the USA." Add Helpful Information To Your Website I see that the folks at Shipping 2 USA are creating articles for their blog, but when I looked at the recent posts, they seemed to be mostly news about shipping (such as "Record setting sized Irish ship makes historic shipment to the USA") that I suspect are not very helpful or interesting to their site visitors or potenti [...]


11 Things To Ask Yourself When Optimizing Content

A client asked me the other day why we were optimizing his software for Los Angeles, when he’s located in Raleigh, NC. In explaining the reason to him, I realized that a basic guideline for optimizing pages is long overdue. I’ve developed the following flow chart and explanation in response. Theming Content The first question you need to ask yourself when optimizing a page is, What is the Page About? If you can’t answer this or your answer is a keyword, then maybe you shouldn’t be building the page. Seriously. You need the page to be about something in order for it to have value [...]


The Difference In Keyword Research For SEO vs. PPC

keywords-featured Often when I complete a keyword research project for a client, they ask me about keywords I may not have included, or they want to know what the relative competition on the keywords looks like. This happens often enough that I thought I would remind everyone that while research for SEO and PPC can go hand in hand, they’re actually very different. First, think about what your goals are with each medium. What are you trying to do, and what constitutes success in that area? Next, think about how the keywords will be used. Where, when, how often? Finally, consider what your margin for erro [...]


10 Ways To Create Engaging Content For Action

Many organizations rely on a website to be their #1 sales tool. They pour thousands of dollars into building just the right website with a great design, robust shopping cart and plenty of bells and whistles. At some point in the website building process, they might think about the content that goes on the website. It's the last thing they do before rolling the site out. It's an afterthought. Your website may be your #1 sales tool, but it's the content of the site that makes that tool work. Pictures, programming, tools and other fun stuff can be important in making your site visibly and f [...]


Video Content For Ecommerce Sites = Improved Search Results + Increased Sales

After I mentioned adding videos to ecommerce websites in a recent article, a client asked about specific types of video they might use on their website. In this article, I’ll outline several types of videos you could add to your ecommerce site to help increase sales. I’ll also cover where to host videos for the best search results and talk about how you can produce your videos. Benefits Of Video Content On Ecommerce Sites Here are just some of the benefits of employing video content on ecommerce sites: Videos can help shoppers make buying decisions leading to increased sales. Yo [...]


Intent, Content & Spamming – Is There A Difference?

The difference between intent and content is what Google is missing. [caption id="attachment_128943" align="alignright" width="240" caption="My White Hat Feels Dirty"][/caption] Keywords at their most basic level are what we use to communicate, and if you think back to those COM 101 days, you’ll remember that the way it works is our thoughts are encoded in our brains into words, those words are spoken or written, and then decoded by the brains on the other end. This is why when you say something, it may not come out (or be received) the way you meant it to be. If we think of our [...]


How To Create Content When You’d Rather Be Doing Something Else

Can You Tell I Don't Feel Like Writing This Crap? It's summer. Do you really want to be reading 5 tips for barbecuing Pandas or an infographic on 7 ways to club a Penguin? Wouldn't you rather be drinking a glass of wine while nibbling on cured meats, local cheeses and a nice piece of fruit? Of course you would! Va bene. But those damn SEO experts keep telling you that "Content Marketing" is the key to rankings. But what do you know about content? You sell <insert your fine product/service here>. You ain't got no time for creating no stinking content. And what the hell is "content" anyway?  Why can't you just sell your damn [...]


Three Free Keyword Research Tools

One of the hardest things to do in keyword research is to uncover related keywords. With that in mind, the tools I’m reviewing today all help identify related keywords that you may want to search in more detail. These tools are not a substitute for detailed keyword research like I talked about in my first series of articles. Rather, they may help to either identify those keywords that are most important to your competitors, or help find obscure opportunities where there may be little search volume, but there is also little competition. All of the tools I reviewed for this article are [...]


Content Ideas For An Ecommerce Site

In this article, we’ll look at a website that was submitted for review from a "Keywords and Content" focus. The site is WindyCityParrot.com an ecommerce site that sells "everything for exotic birds". (Note that this is not a SEO site review or user experience review.) Windy City Parrot is doing an excellent job with keyword research for discovering search queries that indicate a purchase intent for the products they carry so I’ll focus on content ideas to help make the site more useful, unique and interesting. I’ll be suggesting content ideas outlined in some recent SEL articles that [...]


Keyword Research Tool Review: Google AdWords

Keywords are important. I've heard from several potential clients recently who have talked to other "professionals" who told them keywords are no longer important for SEO, and that good content is all you really need. Here's the thing. Keywords are language. They'll always be important because words are how we communicate with each other. So until someone invents the microchip that can be implanted in your brain and read your thoughts without using words, you'll need to think about language in marketing. And I can only hope that those potential clients were told this by one seriously mis [...]


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