How do you choose the best keyword when defining your SEO strategy? There can be a lot of factors to consider, and it may not always be cut-and-dry when it comes to the best keywords to optimize for in your SEO content.
We have a process for defining a keyword strategy that we’ve used for 100+ client SEO plans that includes three factors: (1) search volume, (2) competitiveness, and (3) profitability. We’ve found that these three factors are the most important in determining how to define your strategy; watch the video below or read on to see how these factors come into play.
Why Does it Matter?
As we all know, ranking high in Google organic search results is extremely valuable for your business in terms of web traffic. But something else to note is that even small, incremental improvements in your organic ranking can make a difference. Whether it’s from number 5 to number 3, or even just 10 to 9, those small steps up indicate a greater overall percentage of traffic that will be driven to your website, which means more leads and ultimately more sales.
So how do we fine-tune to take advantage of those incremental improvements in traffic? The framework that we mentioned above with those three factors is going to be key to this strategy. Let’s break it down here.
What’s the Approach?
When you are in the first stages of defining your strategy and choosing the best keywords, you’re going to start with brainstorming. Whether on your own or with a partner, on paper or a whiteboard, or any other method, you’ll come up with a list of possible keywords to use that fit your business.
Then the question is, which one of those possibilities is going to be the best one to use? To determine this, we’re going to use those three factors we mentioned earlier, which are (1) search volume, (2) competitiveness, and (3) profitability.
Search volume is simply the number of searches that a particular word or phrase has in a certain amount of time, usually within a 28-day period for this strategy. We can also filter search volume by geographic location, which can be especially useful for businesses that serve particular cities or regions.
The greater the search volume, the more people are searching for that word or phrase, and the more likely your site will be to show up in search results. One tool we use to find search volume is Google Keyword Planner, which you can use through your Google Business account.
The second factor is how competitive you will be able to be for a particular keyword. In other words, how difficult or easy will it be to rank in the top results for that keyword? Do you already rank for certain words or phrases? If that’s the case, it would be easier to move up in rankings than starting from scratch. Additionally, how many competitors are already ranking for a certain word or phrase? This will also play into how competitive you can be.
Third and finally, we are looking at a keyword’s profitability. Regardless of the business, not all keywords are the same in this respect. Certain words will have a higher expected revenue outcome than others, which is something we need to consider as we choose the right keywords.
How Do We Implement It?
How do these three factors come together? Let’s look at how these factors intersect and what that means for selecting keywords.
High Search Volume + Low Competition = Low-Hanging Fruit
Search terms with high search volume and low competition, but low profitability, are what we call low-hanging fruit. These keywords will be fairly easy to rank for and get traffic from, but the expected revenue outcome will be low. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take advantage of those opportunities, since as we mentioned previously, any incremental improvement in rankings and traffic will help improve your site’s performance overall.
High Search Volume + High Profitability = Big Bets
Keywords with high search volume and high profitability, but also high competition, we would consider big bets. We know that it’s going to take a long time to rank for these search terms because the competition is so high. But these bets may be worth it in the long run because of the high search volume and high profitability. These bets are about playing the long game.
Low Competition + High Profitability = Monitor/Stop
The third intersection includes search terms with high profitability and low competition, but also low search volume. These terms may seem very tempting because of those first two factors, if the search volume is too low, these terms probably aren’t going to be the best. There is no point in ranking number 1 for a keyword no one is searching for. These types of keywords may be worth keeping in the back of your mind and monitoring, because things can always change and that search volume could always go up, but for the time being it’s best to leave them alone.
High Search Volume + Low Competition + High Profitability = Double Down
When a keyword hits all three of these factors that is the ultimate sweet spot. This is where you want to focus your attention, because these are going to be the best keywords to optimize for.
It can take some time and a few brainstorming sessions to find the right keywords that fit the three factors of search volume, competitiveness, and profitability. But when you find the sweet spot it’s definitely going to be worth it!
If you want to learn more about our SEO keyword strategies, or are just looking for someone to help out with digital marketing in general, we would be more than happy to help! Just give us a call at (253) 224-4891 or send an email to [email protected].