It seems so simple- every good plan of action needs the proper amount of research to be successful. So how do we build the right kind of plan to bring new customers into our websites and convince them to trust us? It all starts with keywords.

What Are Content Keywords?

How do customers look for companies like yours?  Content keywords are the specific words and phrases that are likely to be use to find you online. These words are usually descriptors which are “key” to your industry. They include things like product types, product names or services offered.

Using this focused group of words, you can create a powerful plan of attack to craft content designed to pique the interest of your target customers.

Start Broad and Refine Your List

Brainstorming is the first step in the long path towards a refined list of content keywords. Start with the largest list of words you can come up with.  Eventually you will whittle it down to the highest quality words which are most likely to attract your prospects.  But as you get started, you won’t know which ones are best, so start broad.

As you narrow the list, balance it with diversity. Don’t focus on just one keyword or grouping of keywords.  Building a diverse list which speaks to different aspects of your business gives you a better starting point for content creation.  For example, we have clusters of keywords around web design, social media and content marketing. Each group is designed to be relevant to a portion of our audience.

If you notice you are not appearing in search engine results for a specific product keyword, refer back to your list. It’s perfectly acceptable to shift your focus and explore new keywords if the ones you’re using aren’t working. In fact, it’s a healthy part of content development. This Search Engine Land post suggests a few great ways to keep your keywords balanced and stratified.

Crowd Sourcing Your Keywords

You’re creating content for your audience to engage with and enjoy, period. Why not come right out and ask them exactly what they want to learn more about? With enough constructive feedback, you can develop a new content plan based on keywords found in the answers your audience gives to questions like, “What interests you the most about (YOUR INDUSTRY HERE)?” or “What subjects have we not written enough about lately?”

Your Crystal Ball – Web Traffic

Web traffic is not only a way to take a bird’s eye view of the past it can give you a glimpse into the future too. Identify popular trends or topics.  Look for the  the top 10 blogs on your site over the last 6 months. You may need to look at a longer time frame (9 months or a year)  if your web traffic is a relatively small number.

Look for the topics that performed the best, create a list of the keywords connected to that content. Also look for blog posts that continue to attract readers long after the publish date without any additional promotion.  These trends and popular posts help you build a list of content keywords with the future in mind.

AdWords Research Is Free

AdWords is scary. I get it. The thought of spending (sometimes) absurd amounts of cash for a few click backs to your website can be daunting. Luckily, most small businesses don’t need to invest in AdWords to bring readers in. You should, however, be taking full advantage of the free tools AdWords gives you (you will have to create an account to use the tools) when starting to refine your keyword list.

Using this tool, you can upload the list of keywords you’ve created to get a full search data readout. You’ll know how many people search for each term on average each month, how it stacks up to other keywords in the same area, how much it may cost to run text based advertising for each keyword and many suggestions for new phrases for you to try. It’s free, so it won’t hurt you to explore the tool, even just to get new recommendations for what to write about.

Once you have your keywords ready it is time for a little content planning. Download our content calendar tool to get organized

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