9 Steps to an Effective Keyword Strategy

The idea of creating a keyword strategy can be a bit more overwhelming than it actually is. Typically most people are intimidated by the start; What is it? What does it look like? Why do I even need this? Isn't this something only for the SEO "pros?"

effective keyword strategy

It's actually not that complicated of a concept and anyone can do it and, in fact, it's more effective to have someone close to your business do it. An effective keyword strategy considers how your target audience is using the good 'ol Internet and optimizes your already informative content to target that audience.

Here is the 10 step process you need to follow to create an effective keyword strategy:

  1. Like most inbound marketing initiatives, start with your buyer personas. Buyer personas that are accurate and a well-rounded representation of your ideal client is always where you want to start. 
  2. Using your buyer personas, think about how these people are using the Internet. What are they searching for? This is the tricky part, you need to think creatively here.
    For example, say you sell marketing services as a marketing consultant. (That's what I do BTW.) Guess how many websites come up for search terms like "marketing consultant," "best marketing consultant," "marketing consultant for hire?" A lot. Therefore my keyword strategy doesn't focus on these. 
    One of my buyer persona's doesn't know they need a marketing consultant. So they are researching ways on how to implement best marketing practices themselves. So instead, I focus on keyword phrases that cater to content that helps them implement best marketing practices, for example, "Should I be paying for Facebook?"
  3. Come up with a massive list of keywords and focus on long tail keyword phrases. 70% of searches are long tail keyword phrases. Long tail keyword phrases are not just words like "tennis shoes" but rather "red tennis shoes for people with flat feet." Using long tail keyword phrases you can really get creative and start cranking away on your list, so don't just pick 20. Seriously create a spreadsheet of hundreds of potential keyword phrases
  4. Use tools to find even more keywords. After you've wracked your brain for all possible ideas for phrases for people to help find your website use tools. Here are some of my favorites: 
    • Google's Keyword Planner (although this one is kind of a pain because you have to create a Google AdWords account even if you aren't planning on advertising)
    • Ubersuggest
    • MozPro (you can sign up for a 30 day free trial, but then you'll have to pay- worth it though as it has an insane amount of awesome features.)
    • Google's Related Searches section (found at the bottom of any serp listing.)
effective keyword strategy

5. Determine keyword difficulty. Some keywords are going to be more difficult than others to rank for. You should break up your spreadsheet into three different categories, low hanging fruit, middle of the road and challenging. Again using some to the tools listed above (Specifically Moz and Google) you can find how hard these will be. 
6. Set goals: pick 10 keyword phrases you want to rank well for. I would suggest picking 10 middle of the road keywords you really want to focus on. The low-hanging fruit keywords are a no-brainer. Work on creating content around those simultaneously.
7. Create a solid content strategy. Based off of those 10 middle of the road keyword phrases and the low-hanging fruit phrases, create a content strategy. Create a blog editorial calendar, a rich content calendar, landing pages, website pages, etc.  Remember, no matter what types of content you're creating, quality is essentially. Don't just write a terrible blog post with a keyword phrase used in it 15 times. This is not amateur hour.
8. Get your content out there! People will eventually find your content as you move up in search rankings, but why wait?! Share your content on social media, email it to people you mention in your content and ask them to share, put some advertising dollars behind it.
9. Lastly, and always, track and analyze your progress. At a core level, use Google Search Console to determine how you're ranking for keywords. If you decide to invest in Moz's Pro tool, tracking and analyzing becomes much more accurate. Compare your target phrases month over month. See how your content and your site is ranking for these phrases. What pieces of content are getting tons of

What questions do you still have about creating an effective keyword strategy? What tips would you add to this list?