Ok, so we have heard it all before, and when I first began my Above the Fold journey focused on SEO, keyword research and analysis was first on my list. But where would I start, how would I begin? In my structured approach, I asked what I thought was a simple question:
How do I want to be found on the web?
At first it seemed such a simple question, but our sales model is multi-tiered, as is our marketing. We sell through resellers, distributors and OEM partners. So not only would I need to define keywords for attracting our business-to-business customers on the web, but also, I would need to target end users of our application to generate leads for the channel.
Step 1: Create the Keyword Lists
For our purposes, we built two lists: one focused on end-user SEO keywords, the other focused on attracting business-to-business customers with industry focused keywords. In other words, keywords that focused on layman's terms, and keywords focused on industry terminology, acronyms, and phrases. In the end, we analyzed the list and combined them to simplify our content focus. Now that we had the lists, the focus would be on optimizing them for maximum web traffic.
Step 2: Analyze the Competition
Now that we had our totally awesome lists, my goal was to see the current status of the web-o-sphere, and what we were up against. First, I wanted to see if we ranked for any of them, and "Surprise, Surprise", we got nothing. But I knew that going into this journey. Secondly, as I entered the keywords and phrases, I started to see some trends, of those who had attempted the journey before me - My Competition. They were several early players in the market that ranked here and there, and when I was done, I had a firm grasp of the who's-who for my keyword base. I used a great set of tools for this phase that makes life quite simple: SEO Power Tools. The Keyword tool lets you load lists, check rankings and even enter competition URLs for keyword analysis.
Step 3: Keyword Deep Dive
Ok, now that I had my lists, were they any good? Were they optimized for traffic generation? Where to go next...hmmm...Google. So, if you don't already have a Google account, get one. Sign up for an AdWords account, as there are several tools that are invaluable in your quest for SEO gold. In the Tools and Analysis menu, you will find the Keyword Tool. With the Keyword Tool, you can get a quick feel for several metrics on your list:
- The Competition Level: High, Medium or Low: This gives you a feel for how high the overall web competition is for the keyword or phrase.
- Global monthly and local searches: This is what it is all about, right? You may love a keyword, but if it means nothing to the web community, and has no love from a search perspective, you may want to remove it from your list.
- Other Phrases: This tool is a critical eye opener. It will provide you insight, as well as possibly give you ideas for higher traffic combinations or related keywords you may have missed.
These first 3 steps are critical to your web reformation and the journey to SEO greatness. Be sure to do all three, completely and with great zeal as this will lay the foundation for your web presence, and future SEO initiatives.
Great, now I have a list...what's next? First of all, don't keep it a secret!!! Get it to the marketing team, your bloggers, tweeters, everyone. Make this a pervasive mainstay to your overall marketing strategy. The next step in the Above the Fold process will be Content and Structure, coming soon...