What do you want to be known for?
It is an essential marketing question we ask our clients. If you were building a physical storefront, what would it say on the building? In the windows? When your customers tell their friends about you, what do they say? These are not digital or website questions, but marketing questions. Knowing and being consistent with the words attached to your business helps improve all points of marketing and communications.
For most organizations, their website is a primary point of interaction with stakeholders, customers, prospects and other key audiences. In many if not most cases, it is the first contact people have with their organization and brand.
Just like the historical storefront, websites also depend on traffic to connect with current customers and create new opportunities. Small to medium-sized businesses receive about two-thirds of this much-needed traffic from search engines.
The goal of every search engine is to take only a few words and magically deliver relevant results. The goal of SEO is to get your business at the top of that list of results.
While there are many factors that can improve a website’s performance, the linchpin of SEO strategy is the keyword list. When we work with clients to develop a keyword list, we keep these points in mind:
Words must be relevant to the company, the brand, and the people. These words should already appear frequently in company literature. They need to be a natural extension of business conversation because, once selected, they will be used everywhere with a goal of making them synonymous with your business.
The potential customer is the one initiating the search. Winning keywords need to be in their voice, in their vocabulary, and in their mind.
Complementary and competing businesses offer new perspectives and ideas for keyword selection. Think beyond where the business is today to where it wants to be.
The Web is spilling out piles of data every day. This allows companies to know the answers to questions, instead of relying only on speculation and intuition. Try out potential keywords in the search engines. Discover if the space is overcrowded or empty, full of your competition or devoid of it, on target or off the mark, and perhaps find a few surprises.
The Keyword List
Now is the time to pick the winners. These are words that score well in relevance to company, customer and search engine.
Don’t think of this as the final list of keywords, but the first list. This is a process of measurement, discovery and correction. A solid SEO strategy acknowledges a gap between expectation and performance that makes way for improvement. It also expects change and is prepared to test and change along with the world.
Next in the series: Now that I have the words, what do I do with them?
– Wayne Kaufmanschmidt, Digital Strategy Vice President