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.

Forget Reading! Web Content Is Meant To Be Skimmed

There are a lot of different schools of thought on how to develop website content that is "just right" for search engines and customers alike. Everyone has his or her own idea of what the perfect amount of content is. Unfortunately, we still hear people saying that any content is too much! The argument goes something like this: "People don't read, they just look at the pretty pretty pictures." This is both true and false. Many people don't read content, but they are just a fraction of your audience. Another fraction skims the content, and still another fraction will read every word on the p [...]

4 Content Assets To Engage Prospects At Any Stage In The Buying Cycle

One of the most important aspects of increasing online conversions (particularly for B2B focused sites) is speaking to prospects at all stages in the buying cycle. A prospect doing research on a topic is at a different place than one who is looking to hire a company, and each prospect must be met at the stage where they are. Below, I describe four proven content assets and incentives to reach business buyers at all stages in their purchasing process. 1.  White Papers & Webinars White Papers and Webinars are great for B2B prospects at the very beginning of their buying cycle. Pros [...]

How To Use The Keyword Funnel To Understand Searcher Intent

Keyword research can give you great insight into customer problems, needs, desires, and intent.I like to categorize keyword categories themselves into a total of *ten* funnel stages. After performing my initial keyword categorization (sort of into micro-categories), I like to categorize the categories themselves into a total of *ten* funnel stages I’ve developed, which are organized around a “problem/solution” mental model.

Time To Reap What You’ve Sown From Keyword Seeds

If you’ve been following the series on Keyword Seeds and Keyword Research over the last couple of months, I’ve been writing about how to perform really good keyword research through a series of tactics that I call the "Keyword Seed Method". Don’t bother to go look that up in Google, as I think I’m the only one in the world who calls it that. But it helps me to think of keywords as "seeds" of information that will eventually grow into a "garden of possibilities", if you will allow me the artistic license. I’ve been reading a lot of classic literature lately. I received many ema [...]

What’s In A Word? The Critical Role Of Keyword Selection For Business Growth

Marthe types the word "Melkeallergi" into, searching for information about a health condition she's worried about. In her discussion group for Norwegian school moms, one parent suffered from stomach cramps just like she did, and mentioned the diagnosis of "milk allergy". "Could this be what I have, too?" Marthe wondered, and decided to find out. So she ran a search on Google. But like hundreds of potential customers of TINE, a Norway-based company that sells milk, Marthe was influencing the outcome by choosing a specific keyword. The search results point at websites that explain m [...]

9 More Content Development Ideas For Increased Visibility

In the first article in this series, I outlined 10 ideas for adding content to a website and other venues to help improve organic visibility. In the last article, we covered 10 more ideas. With today's piece, you'll have a grand total of 29 content development ideas to get working on. These additional content ideas should help improve organic visibility and can potentially help increase conversions on a website. In this article, I’ve included some user generated content ideas as well as some ideas most useful for ecommerce sites. As with the previous ideas, much of this content can be pro [...]

How To Develop A Keyword Plan

Since last time, you've been busy growing your keyword seeds into little seedlings, using those handy Excel tricks I wrote about. You've likely got thousands of keywords now, and may have no idea what to do next. If you’ll forgive me, I’ll continue the planting analogy for categorizing and mapping keywords. It seems appropriate, with spring upon us. You’ve found your seeds, planted them in little cups, and gotten seedlings from them. Now it’s time to plant them in the garden and watch them grow. But just as you shouldn’t drop a bunch of seedlings into the ground in no particula [...]

10 More Content Ideas To Improve Organic Visibility

In my last article, I outlined 10 ideas for adding content to a website and other Web venues to help improve organic visibility. Here are 10 more content ideas that should help improve organic visibility, incoming links and social engagement, and often help increase conversions on a website. 1.  Surveys If you have a decent amount of visitors to your website or a number of connections in one or more of your social networks such as LinkedIn or Facebook, you can run surveys and publish the results on your website along with your commentary. There are plenty of survey tools available [...]

Tips For Growing Keyword Seeds With Excel Formulas

Have your seeds germinated yet? Last time, we talked about keywords as "seeds" of ideas; a single keyword to represent an entire keyword cluster. Now it’s time to make our seeds grow. [caption id="attachment_114848" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Germinating your Keyword Seeds"][/caption] Using the example of Artisan Construction Services again (thanks!), we’ll walk through the process that I use to grow a single seed. In this case, let’s use "deck". To begin with, I want to think of the types of decks my client might build: Composite Wood PVC Hardwood Ceda [...]

10 Content Ideas To Improve Organic Visibility

In the past series of articles, we focused on determining what keywords were already generating business for a web site and then optimizing your existing pages to improve organic results for those keywords. In this and some future articles, we'll cover adding new content to a website as well as other web venues to improve organic visibility. When we work on a comprehensive marketing project for a client, we first learn about their business and then discover what marketing tactics their competitors have employed. At the same time, we learn what web venues are available to focus our mar [...]

The Keyword Research Rabbit Hole

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how to use your first meeting with a client to understand their business and collect information that could later inform your keyword research. Now, you’re back at your desk and wondering what to do with all that information. To begin with, you should have three lists of keyword-types (I call them seeds): [caption id="attachment_110492" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Elements to include in keyword research"][/caption] Seeds most important to your clients (note that these may include jargon and industry-specific terms that need further researc [...]

12 Steps To Optimize A Webpage For Organic Keywords

In this article, I’ll outline the steps I take to optimize a webpage to try to improve organic search results;  both increase rankings and improve click-throughs from the search listings. If you’ve been following along in this series, we covered the first steps in the previous two articles. 1. Choose The Keywords To Focus On In Organic Keywords: The First Step In Search Engine Optimization, I covered how to use Google analytics to choose the organic keyword phrases to focus on first in your optimization efforts; those keywords already contributing to the business goals. We then looke [...]

Rich Snippets & Learning To Love Not Being #1

#1 rankings have a hallowed place in the minds of most SEOs. Many of us use #1 rankings as bragging rights (I'm guilty) or as one of the key metrics for campaign success (guilty again). But long-term trends in the way search engines rank pages and display results are both changing that. Now, it's entirely possible to run a successful campaign where none of the target keywords are expected to hit the #1 position. As search engines evolve from a tool for ranking pages to a tool for driving decisions, this is only going to get more common. Fortunately, it's possible to build a campaign a [...]

5 Questions To Streamline Your Keyword Research

It’s time for the first meeting with the customer. You may be a seasoned search marketer, but you’re still a little nervous. How do you achieve that perfect balance of getting the information you need while still exuding an aura of consummate professionalism, knowledge, and generally make yourself seem like the search Dalai Lama? [caption id="attachment_106867" align="alignright" width="133" caption="Dalai Lama (of keyword research?)"][/caption] First, realize that the real Dalai Lama feels no need to prove himself, he just *is*. Project an aura of confidence, and realize the most el [...]

How To Prioritize Keywords For Optimization Based On Organic Competition

Previously in Organic Keywords: The First Step In Search Engine Optimization, I covered how to use Google Analytics to choose the organic keyword phrases to focus on first in your optimization efforts: those keywords already contributing to the business goals. We then looked at how to use Google analytics to help "map" those keywords to existing pages on the site for optimization. In this article, I’ll continue on to the next step and show you how I prioritize the keywords by evaluating the difficulty of reaching top results. Check Keyword Rankings The next step I take before beginnin [...]

Why Do Search Engines, Keyword Research & SEO Really Matter?

Let's go, you and I, on an imaginary trip to Oslo in Norway. Now, the first two things you'll want to do is arrange flight tickets to Oslo, and find a good place to stay. Where do you go for this information? A small (but growing) fraction of the online population will hop over to social networks like Twitter or Facebook and ask their network of friends and contacts for advice. But 9 out of 10 Web surfers will hit up a search engine like Google or Bing. Search engines are complex software tools that send out scouts called 'robots' into the World Wide Web to find, analyze and in [...]

Content Marketing Essentials: Tactical Advice From A To Z

From boardrooms to blogs, mainstream marketers are fixated on "Content marketing" and why it’s so important these days. In reality, savvy advertisers, PR pros, brand evangelists, SEOs, in-house and agencies have been leveraging content’s intrinsic power since the dawn of organized marketing activities. Wielded properly in the hands of masters, there are few tactics more powerful. Practically everyday, we come in contact with brands of all sizes, wanting to better understand how to develop a more holistic content program as a vehicle for nurturing traffic and conversions. Many of th [...]

Organic Keywords: The First Step In Search Engine Optimization

In this and some following articles, I’ll outline the steps we’ve developed over the years to optimize pages to improve organic search results - not just rankings, but click-throughs and conversions, too. The first step is to choose the keywords to focus on and then map those keywords to pages on the site. Choosing Organic Keyword Phrases With Google Analytics We start by improving organic search results for keywords that have proven to contribute to our client’s business goals (whatever the goals are: leads, sales, signups, visits or page views for advertising sales, etc). As a [...]

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