Most buyers in now research on-line before they buy. To be involved in their evaluation and buying process, you want to know what words and phrases they are using to find products and services like yours.  Knowing their search language increases your odds of being discovered and puts you in a better position of guiding them to your web site.

As well, leading search engines like Google and Bing have been updating their search logarithms to better recognize semantic relationships such as synonyms, related words and phrases and other contextual content. So this may be a good time to conduct a keyword and content review to ensure that your on-line properties are still aligned with your target prospects’ search language.

The importance of keywords – A review

Keywords are the word and phrase combinations your prospects use to find your web site, your blog, your on-line ads and your social media. They are the foundation for your on-line investment in your web properties.

Keywords create pathways to your website and contribute in these ways:

  • Align the language of titles, URL, content and images of your web site pages so that search engines can better understand what your web site is about and properly index your pages,
  • Help define topics for your blog posts – Search engines like current and relevant information. Blogging with a focus around your keywords meets both of those criteria,
  • Improve the profitability of your on-line marketing campaigns by ensuring you attract the right kind of traffic,
  • Raise your profile on Linked In and other social media, as these content-sharing platforms also provide search capabilities for users.

Think like your target client

What are the key words and phrases your target client would use to find a service like yours?

Be aware that  the words you use to communicate your service and value (part of your selling process) may differ from the words your prospect is using in research (their buying process).

Identify those key words and phrases that are the common language that connects potential clients “searching for answers” and your Value Proposition.

Make/review your keyword list

Make a list of phrases that describe the problem you solve, visit Google Adwords Keyword Planner or other keyword research tool (or contract out to an SEO specialist) to generate the vocabulary related to your market.

Depending on what tool you use, you’ll see daily search traffic for each of the search terms, the level of competition for the terms, plus alternative suggestions.

Also make note of the longer phrases (called long tail keywords) are three or four words long that are very specific to what you are selling. While the traffic volumes may be low, competition from other websites may be low as well, and you stand a better chance of being found and attracting exactly the kind of client you are looking for, because whenever a prospect uses a highly specific search phrase, they tend to be searching for exactly what they are intending to buy.

Back to semantics

It’s worth repeating the big search engines invest heavily in their search algorithms so that they better understand search queries and recognize context, synonyms and other word relationships. This frees you to focus on creating human-friendly content that still incorporates your keywords but doesn’t put you in the position of using the same phrase over and over to get your point across.

Using your updated keyword list – a performance checklist

The task of company blogging may be spread across several people in the organization. You will want to ensure that this effort is properly optimized for maximum discovery by your target internet user.

Some marketing automation tools have an SEO checker/suggester already built into their application. If you’re still using basic email marketing apps, consider publishing blogging guidelines that list the keyword phrases and a checklist to ensure that the blog post title, URL, and meta description contain the relevant keyword for the topic at hand.

Also ensure that the keyword and its synonyms appear in the body of the blog post. If including an image, name the image with a topic-related phrase and use its alt text for a different descriptive phrase.

When completed, the published content should be informative and conversational while still being “search engine friendly”. Search engines frown on “key-word stuffing” i.e. using the same keyword over and over again, which is one of the major reasons for the evolution of semantics algorithms to assist improved search as well as making content more readable.

At the end of the day, your primary goal is to connect and communicate with other humans through the technological marvel that is the Internet.  An expanded and updated keyword list,properly applied to your Internet properties will help you in achieving that goal.