Developing a Keyword Strategy? Top 10 Questions to Consider

By Lauren Inggs - May 31, 2015

Every inbound marketer worth their salt understands the importance of a well-crafted SEO strategy. And a great SEO strategy starts with extensive keyword research, without which it would be difficult to gain insight into our target users and structure our content strategy moving forward. 

Yet many marketers fumble when it comes to conducting keyword research and implementing a subsequent strategy. Some don't know where to begin while others get bogged down by the deluge of information facing them. Either way, the fact remains that developing a solid keyword strategy is a vital part of inbound marketing, and requires constant upkeep to ensure it stays fresh.

User searches are constantly evolving and changing, so it's pointless using the same keyword strategy over and over. But developing the right keyword strategy doesn't have to be painful. We've put together some questions to ask yourself to ensure you ace your keyword research, selection and strategy.

10 Top Questions to Ask When Developing Your Keyword Strategy

1. Am I Staying Client-Focused?

It's important to keep abreast of trends in customer searches, as these have a direct influence on your choice of keyword strategy. Searches come through in many different ways, with varying query lengths and methods. Some people search in fragments while others use fully-formed terms. A recent study showed that it's increasingly common for searchers to use queries longer than four words, indicating the importance of factoring in long-tail keywords, and not just short phrases or single keywords. Staying ahead of trends in search behaviour is guaranteed to get your keyword strategy off to a good start.

2. Have I Mined Every Last Resource?

While Google may be your "go to" for keyword ideas, it's important not to neglect other tools and sources in the process. Tools such as Moz, WordTracker and SEMrush are great for finding additional insights and overlooked keywords on your web pages. Another excellent source of research is social media and support forums, giving you the opportunity to gain an overview of popular words and phrases used by people discussing your service or product. Don't miss out on opportunities to further your keyword research by relying solely on Google.

3. Are Long-tail Keywords Part of My Research?

Are you using long tail keywords in your keyword strategy? If not, you should be. Not only are searchers prone to using fully-formed terms and multiple word queries in their searches (which is exactly where long-tail keywords come in), but long-tail keywords are highly cost-effective and valuable when used correctly. Long-tail keywords are great because there's less competition for rankings, unlike shorter keywords. Using them can be a bit daunting at first, as you'll see lower traffic from a numbers perspective, but you'll see a greater ROI in the long run.

4. Am I Already Ranking for My Phrase?

When developing your keyword strategy, it's valuable to know how well you currently rank for your chosen keyword phrase. There are many tools online that can help you get ranking data, such as Moz. Knowing where you're starting off from a ranking perspective helps to create a launching point for your keyword strategy.

5. Will My New Page Display My Keyword Phrase?

Don't be surprised if you don't see results when your keyword strategy involves minimal mentions of your target keyword phrase on your web pages or blog posts. You don't want to be penalised for spamming each page with your strategic keywords, but it's vital you place them strategically and naturally on your pages, so they are easy for search engines to crawl and for ranking purposes. 

6. How Much Traffic Do I Receive?

If you delve into your website's analytics, you should get a ton of keyword data. This data is valuable when analysing the keywords used to reach your site, and in deciding how to adjust your content strategy to boost keyword rankings.Remember not to be discouraged if you find a keyword isn't searched that often, or if a high-ranking keyword on Google only brings in a handful of visitors. It may only bring in a few visitors, but if they're a good match for your product/service offering, the visitors they bring in will most likely be far more qualified prospects.

7. Am I Receiving Traffic for My Keyword Phrase and Similar Ones?

Keep checking your website analytics to see which relevant keywords people are searching for - you may find some you never even included in your keyword strategy. As you create content, you open up new opportunities for the use of an array of related keywords or phrases. Make sure you grab the opportunity to boost your strategy using similar phrases.

8. Have I Got Great Calls-to-action?

The whole point of creating content and having a solid SEO campaign boils down to driving users or searchers to commit a specified action, with the purpose of building good leads and better customer engagement. The last thing you want is putting in loads of effort on a keyword strategy and content, but neglecting to indicate to your visitor what they're supposed to do. Make sure you create strong calls-to-action that clearly denote the required activity from your visitor. SEO and keywording strategies are only as valuable as the follow-through on the traffic they send to your site.

9. Are My Keywords Mapped to the Right Pages?

Make sure you get the most out of your keyword strategy by mapping specific sets of keywords to associated landing pages. Ensure that your landing pages are relevant by analysing of the keywords drawing traffic to your pages and match the intent of each visitor to a specific page. Most will start off using broad keywords, and get more specific as they progress along the buyer's journey, so create landing pages that match the keyword sets used at each stage. 

10. Have I Got Pages That Support Internal Linking?

Your content marketing strategy gets a boost from SEO when you link related pages to each other. This means creating opportunities to link areas where your strategic keywords are located to relevant pages in the anchor text of their blogs or content.