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Professional digital marketers and the best SEO firms know how instrumental developing the right keywords list is. If you are doing your own search engine optimization, this is an important step that you should take quite seriously. The keywords list that you are targeting and tracking should not be put together haphazardly. Rather, it should be assembled methodically and purposefully with the goal of bringing you more visibility in organic search results, and thus more clicks to your site and hopefully more sales and/or leads.

So, are you wondering where to start? Follow these steps to help you put together an SEO keywords list that is going to show real results and improve your ROI.

Who Are You and What Do You Do? 

First, it’s important to track both brand and product terms. Your brand name and variations of it should be included in your keywords list, as well as any specific product terms that you offer or are selling. If you are selling notebooks, you will want to track and optimize for that product. If you sell many different products and there are too many to include, then pick your top performing products or those that bring in the most revenue for you.

If you have a site that is more lead generation-focused, pick out the main terms that describe your service or product and include those initially.

Gauge Interest & Find Variants

When doing keyword research, it’s extremely important to gauge the public’s interest in what you are selling or offering. Before including a keyword in your list, you’ll want to see the monthly search volume for it, which will tell you how many people (on average) are searching for that term per month. There could be a keyword that you think makes perfect sense for your list, but if it is has no search volume, then there is really no need to include it.

When looking into search volume, you should also look for other keywords that are related to the keyword you are looking at, which might have high search volume as well. If we go back to the notebooks example, you might want to see what search volume for “notepads” is like.

Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner is a great tool that will allow you to find both search volume and other related keyword ideas for the terms you are looking up. Google Trends will also tell you what keywords are popular or are trending in your industry, so be sure to look there too.

Determine Competition Level

Search volume is not the only factor that should be considered when developing your keywords list. The best SEO companies will also determine what competition is like for each keyword before including it. If search volume is high, that’s great – but if competition for that keyword is also very high, you might have a hard time moving up in the rankings for it depending on the type of SEO work you are doing and from what position you are starting out at.

For example, the term “notebooks” is most likely highly competitive. If you want to rank well for that term but are currently not ranking at all for it, you might want to include something a bit more specific and long tail. Perhaps a term like “black spiral notebooks” or “yellow legal notepads” would make more sense, as they are more specific, yet still have a high search volume and maybe lower competition.

Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tools is a great product that will show you the average competition level for the keywords you are researching.

See What the Competition is Up To

Any SEO worth his or her weight is checking in on the competition. See what keywords your competition is going after or tracking to determine if there are holes in your own keywords list that might be worth filling. Tools like SEM Rush and SpyFu are fantastic for conducting competitor keyword analysis.

Develop Keyword Tiers

With all of the information that you have gathered from search volume, keyword difficulty and competition, put together a list of keywords that makes sense for your site. If you have a smaller site, you don’t want to create a keywords list that is too long and end up spreading yourself too thin. Once you have a list put together, break it up into three tiers.

  • The first tier should be your most important keywords – the ones you are most focused on and believe you have the best chances with.
  • The second should consist of important keywords as well, but maybe they are a bit longer tail with lower search volume.
  • Your third tier should be made up of the most competitive terms that are possibly the most far-fetched or those that you really just want to track and not aggressively optimize for.

Start Optimizing!

Once you have your keywords list ready, you can start optimizing. You can use the same tools and principals of keyword research for identifying possible themes for onsite content and content marketing as well. If you would like help with SEO for your business, Grow Team can get you set up with the best SEO firm for your specific digital marketing needs. Contact us today to see how we can help your business get the work it needs.

David Moses and Max Helmer are seasoned executives who can help you grow your business. Please contact us to setup an evaluation with them.

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