Are you trying to figure out how to better determine keywords for your next content marketing campaign?
Every single day, millions of potential customers type queries into search engines that could lead them to your website. If you have a content marketing strategy that’s crafted and executed well, then there’s no reason why your website shouldn’t be gaining its fair share of those clicks.
A healthy flow of traffic referred your way from organic search can lead to many beneficial outcomes, depending on the nature of your business: ad revenue, lead capture for later retargeting, or even on-the-spot conversion. There are many worthy goals to aim for by ranking well with your onsite content, but unless your strategy is backed by solid keyword research, you’ll never get there.
Keyword research is hardly a new phenomenon, but plenty of online businesses and publishers make a lot of the same mistakes around content marketing that hinder the ability for their content to surface when prospective customers search for relevant terms.
A proper content marketing strategy, with shrewdly selected keywords, will bring you traffic, leads and revenues. Make sure to avoid these five blunders, and your rankings will be all the more likely to soar.
1. Overlooking keywords for parts of your conversion funnel
Some content marketers focus their strategies on helping people find information to help them with their research. Some want to target those who are ready to convert now. Both strategies, however, are flawed. Instead, your content marketing keyword strategy should cater to potential traffic from all stages in your conversion funnel.
People should be able to find relevant content of yours at every phase of their buyer’s journey, be it instant (think: “buy [name of your product] now”) or just gaining awareness of the problems you might solve. For example, if you run a consulting business that relates to website SEO, you should be optimizing your articles for keywords from “why SEO is important” all the way down to “the best SEO consultant for [your target market].”
That’s not all, though. It’s not enough to target all stages – each stage should organically lead into the next.
Every time your potential customer, be they an individual or a business, reads a piece of your content, they should be primed to go to the next. That’s why it’s called a funnel. Your customer may begin by trying to understand the problem they’re facing, then see that you have information on how to help them solve that problem, then understand that you’re the best option for them, and then reach out to you for a free consultation.
Don’t make the mistake of forgetting the purpose of content marketing keywords: not only to instantly convert, not just to raise awareness, but to build a funnel that guides your customer unerringly to you, whether your ultimate goal is selling something, gaining traffic, or any other goals of your content marketing strategy.
2. Neglecting conversion optimization on high-intent content pages
This mistake happens when you lose sight of your content marketing strategy’s ultimate aim. What is all that keyword research supposed to do? Most websites want their visitors to do something after they read an optimized piece of content, but many haven’t streamlined that aspect of their journey.
Imagine you have successfully nurtured a visitor, over the course of several months, tons of incredible content, and cunning retargeting. These visitors are ready to move ahead with their journey – the final step, at this point, is to register as a lead. You need to offer the option for your visitor to continue whatever journey you’re taking them on.
To continue with the logic from the previous section, if someone arrives at a content page that you’ve carefully crafted to attract visitors who are ready to convert, then you need to make sure that the page has a great mechanism in place to actually convert visitors here.
For example, if you run a consultancy business, your ultimate aim is to book consultations. You can do all the legwork of figuring out your high-intent keywords, optimizing blogs for SEO, etc, and still neglect the final step: giving the customer an option to continue the conversation.
Get back to your customers right away and give them instant feedback, as making them wait will decrease your conversion rates. People clicked on your site for a reason – now help them.
One common concern here is scaring visitors off with an intrusive pop-up, but there are several non-intrusive widget options that give visitors the option to book, but without being too pushy.
If you want to check if your final step is easy enough for visitors to complete, try A/B testing a few options. One free tool to use is Google Optimize.
3. Relying on generic advice for your content marketing campaign keywords
What does your business look like? Are you running an eCommerce website, a B2B services company, a SaaS tool, or a hobby blog trying to drive traffic to your site?
The approach you take for content marketing keyword strategy might vary a lot based on what your website does, because each type has a slightly different goal. If you’re new to coming up with your own content marketing campaign keywords, you may have serious misconceptions about how to optimize your content keyword strategy.
To avoid simply following the wrong footsteps, think about the pain points your customers are experiencing, the problems you can solve for them, and what your ultimate goal is when coming up with your keyword strategy.
Then, make sure you measure your progress against your goals over time. Are you gaining those email signups? What does your conversion rate look like across all visits to your website vs. visits referred by organic search? This way you can make sure your strategy is paying dividends, no matter what your specific ranking and conversion goals are.
4. Misunderstanding the data behind keyword metrics
No matter how you’re formulating your content marketing keyword strategy, if you don’t truly understand the content marketing tools you’re using or the data they output, you’re going to make strategic mistakes. Data literacy can be defined as “the skill set of reading, communicating, and deriving meaningful information from data,” with “this ability to read and use data is what will propel your company to greater heights.” The truth is, this is the case whether you’re running medical lab tests or performing keyword research.
Without really being familiar with analytics biases, statistical significance principles behind what you’re seeing, and behind how the tools you’ve chosen work, you’re running the risk of misinterpreting the metrics associated with keywords you’re evaluating. At best, you won’t know why things are working or why they aren’t working. At worst, you’ll miss out on opportunities to drive qualified traffic, increase lead conversions, and ultimately create a high-performance content marketing plan.
When it comes to keyword research and data illiteracy, one example that I often see is the fact that so many content marketers believe they need to rank for high-volume keywords. On the surface, this makes sense – higher search volume equals better chance of achieving whatever your goal is with content keyword strategy, right?
But if you dig a little bit deeper, you learn that actually, ranking for “zero volume search terms” is one of the best ways to acquire organic traffic. Most tools get their information from Google Analytics, which only gives you the numbers for broad match commercial intent queries, rather than exact-match or longer informational queries. As a result, these tools are imprecise when estimating monthly search volume, and they can err on the low side.
If your goal is to gain traffic, and you don’t understand these basic keyword research statistical concepts, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. You might end up targeting keywords that have nothing to do with your brand’s value proposition or going after high-competition keywords that you’ll never have a chance to rank for.
5. Not updating your keywords over time
People, businesses, search algorithms or the global business ecosystem can change at the drop of a hat. This means that even if you perform outstandingly well for a keyword one month, this may not be the case the next. It can happen that quickly.
For example, imagine you were getting fantastic results back in February for your restaurant’s online menu. If you didn’t optimize your local keyword strategy to include curbside pickup and contactless payment options as soon as the consumer need landscape shifted in March, you would have missed out on a huge opportunity.
Stay on top of your data, measure the trends, tweak and continue experimenting with what increases your key performance indicator metrics, and what doesn’t. Your audience, the algorithms, and even your business might change over time.
To ensure you’re optimizing your content marketing campaign keywords, set aside some dedicated time every quarter to review results and change, update, or refresh your strategy. Use free tools like Google’s suggested searches, Wikipedia, and even Reddit to keep your keyword research current.
Content keywords are tricky but worth it
If you want to build a profitable website, no matter what your end goal is, you need to optimize your visitor’s journey from start to finish. There are a lot of pitfalls to dodge on the way to a successful content marketing keyword strategy, so make sure your keyword research is current and specific to your business, that you’re covering all your bases, that you understand the numbers you’re getting, and that you give high-intent visitors an immediate option to continue their conversations with you.
Keyword strategy is a must for every business, whether your aim is to drive traffic to a blog, sell products, or market your services to another business. If you avoid these five mistakes on your next content marketing campaign, you’ll be on your way to optimizing your website to maximize its potential, whatever that may be.
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash