How to Choose Keywords for SEO: A Marketer’s Guide For Keyword Prioritization

Blog Keyword Research SEO June 12th, 2019

Welcome to another installment of the Inseev video+post series. Today we are going to focus on how brands and can choose keywords for SEO. Picking search engine optimization keywords is a tough task for any marketer and this how-to guide shows the way we think about picking the best SEO keywords.

Check out the video and post below!

How to Choose Keywords for SEO

Today we are going to talk about keyword prioritization, how to choose content topics and how to prioritize what keyword target we should go after.

This is not a topic about keyword research. In this situation, you already have a list of keywords and we want to focus on you take that list of keywords to start creating good content or good pages, and choosing the right SEO keywords to go after first.

I’ll talk through kind of a step by step process that you should be thinking about, and then give you some tips on other stuff you can do there.

Step 1: Build Your SEO Keyword List

There are millions of pages out there about how to conduct keyword research. We have a keyword research process of our own that we will promote as part of this video series. However, there are a bunch of awesome tools to help such as:

Don’t forget about paid search data! If your client has paid search or you are using a paid search company, you can easily figure out which non-branded keywords are driving sales and which are not. Get all of this data!

Here is an example of a keyword report below:

Step 2: Look for SEO Keywords in a Paid Search Term Analysis

So, first and foremost, if we have an ecommerce website, ultimately the first place we want to look is within search term analysis. If we have all these keywords like the list below we want to understand what keywords actually drive good traffic and what don’t.

Paid Search Search Term Analysis is Crucial!

When doing a paid search term analysis you want to get a long streak of historical data. You might want to talk to the paid search analysts to make sure that you are not looking at something that you shouldn’t be, specifically like, if things have changed drastically, or over time the CPA on a specific keyword has changed A lot. Other things to consider are if the cost acquisition, CPO, or cost per lead has changed significantly in the account due to external factors, like a macro domain or something.

There are a lot of things that can affect your numbers. Generally, if you are looking at the past month or two and there is enough day-to-day statistics with the statistical significance you are probably pretty safe.

Let’s say I want to look at all the keywords in the entire account, I’m going to look and try to relate it back to my keywords over here, and try to find opportunities based on conversion rates.

The first thing I’m going to go over to the search terms and then I’m going to look by cost and cost per conversions. So there are a couple of other things you might want to do here. I can add a filter, and filter out a known brand so campaign brand that does not contain, brand, that will get me a little bit of cleaner data here.

And now I’ll start to look at the search terms that have been really profitable. Not every keyword you researched might have been on the top list of the paid search list. Once you find these SEO keywords you can be like, “okay, this is definitely something I want to prioritize in SEO”.

Choosing SEO keywords utilizing paid search data is the only way we can see how keywords are tied into revenue or leads.

Step 3: Understand Keyword Intent

Keyword intent is almost more important than keyword volume! We have a great post on understanding keyword intent that you can check out.

However, keyword intent is very important in the process of choosing SEO keyword targets. Let’s look at an example:

Fresh Start is a keyword that is important in the tax resolution space. Let’s look at the SERP:

Even though “Fresh Start” is important for our consumers, it might not be a great SEO target!

I start to see Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, first two results there. I start to see, San Diego country, so some localized results, then Comprehensive Criminal Relief Program, that doesn’t seem like one we are looking for. I don’t see anything about taxes in here, and I know that the fresh start initiative is what I should be going after.

Check out the difference in SERPs:

But understanding intent is extremely important when you are trying to prioritize keywords. SEOs will come back and say hey here are all the keywords you should go after and we are like “well, did you look at the SERP?”, there is sometimes no easy way to rank above some pages and we don’t want to choose keywords that will be impossible to rank for.

Don’t Forget Value of Keyword to Client!

One thing that people miss a lot whenever they trying to prioritize keywords is they only focus on the organic keyword volume, difficulty of the SERPs and intent. If we don’t have any data of whether or not all these keywords are going to convert (no paid search data) but we do know that the clients have potential products or services that can match the keyword that we want, right?

Let’s do an example with the very important term “king bedding sets”. Okay maybe we have decided to go after “king size bedding”, “king bedding sets” and we come back to our client and say, this is our number one priority for SEO. Well, we’ve spent all this time putting a plan together, you know we either going to create this awesome page, we’ll map everything out, we want all these elements to be on it, here’s the title tag, and all other data. If you don’t think about the value of the product we are selling the client might go

“You know, we don’t really make much money on king bedding sets because they actually cost us so much to produce, and we make all of that money really on twin bedding sets.”

Oh, okay. Well in that situation you are going to look like you didn’t think it through before you start your project and now you have to redo your work that you shouldn’t have to redo because you just should’ve asked in the first place. This brings us to step 4

Step 4: Use the Client As a Resource to Choose SEO Keywords!

One of the first questions I love to ask questions in the discovery meetings or when you’re having your first meeting after the audits are done and you are trying to figure out what keywords you are going after.

The first questions I always ask are:

What is your team working on? What makes you the most money? What are people searching for on your site or on Facebook?

Just to recap here:

  1. Get your keyword list
  2. Conduct a paid search term analysis
  3. Make sure that the intent of the keyword matches your page
  4. Make sure you’re asking the client about company focus and margins

Step 5: Look at Search Volume & Difficulty to Choose SEO Keywords

Next go after keyword volume and difficulty of the SERPs themselves. Let’s keep using the example of “bedding sets” but focus on queen terms. I bet if we Google “queen bedding sets” this we’ll going on Macy’s, Walmart, or some of the big conglomerates:

Macy’s is there, Wayfair, Walmart, JC bedding, do you think a small little luxury linen company from Texas that does three million dollars in e-commerce a year is going to beat those guys right now? I don’t think so.

In this case, the difficulty of the SERP directly impacts our process of choosing the right keyword for SEO.

So, if I am a small expensive linen company, I am going to focus on luxury terms instead. But what if they already dominate the luxury space? We need to look for non-luxury terms that are not as difficult as queen bedding sets.

We picked duvet terms, bed linen (generic) terms, and some others. However, we needed to sell it to the client and prove small success before stepping into the larger terms. Guest what? We are crushing it.

There you have it! How to choose keywords for SEO. Any questions? Hit us up and we can get back to you ASAP.

1 Comment

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    Amazing Blog!!!
    It guided me a lot for keyword research process as I was using the Answerthepublic and keywordsEverywhere tool for it only. But now will implement all these above strategies to do keyword research for Branding Marketing Agency.
    Thank you.