Inbound Marketing SEO

Google handles at least 2 trillion searches each year. How can you rise above the noise and achieve high rankings in organic search results?

While Google’s search algorithms are constantly changing, one ranking factor has remained the same: keywords. Along with high-quality content and links, an effective keyword strategy is instrumental to search engine optimization (SEO).

Shhh it's a secret!

Keyword research should work in tandem with your content marketing. Avoid cramming your blog content or web pages with as many keywords as possible. Instead, find the best keywords for your company, industry or niche and naturally integrate them throughout your content and website.

How can you find high-performing and relevant keywords for your business? Discover the 3 secrets to picking keywords that will draw qualified traffic to your website and boost lead generation:

1) Relevancy is key

We see it all the time. A company’s focus keywords don’t quite match up with the keywords their customers are searching for.

Your keywords should be relevant to your target audience. They should be the specific terms and phrases your prospects, leads and customers are typing into Google, Bing or any other search engine. If not, how will they find your website or blog when searching online?

How can you find out what keywords your target audience is searching for? By monitoring social news feeds and Google Trends, you can uncover a wealth of insights on trending topics and user behavior.

You can dig even deeper and conduct in-depth keyword research with Google’s Keyword Planner tool. This free tool gives you the monthly search volume for any given keyword. Build out a short list of terms you think your customers are using and then see if you were right by plugging them into this tool.

Other keyword research tools include Moz’s Keyword Explorer, Ubersuggest, Keyword Tool and so on. Before deciding on any one tool for you and your business, test out different ones and ask around for recommendations.

The goal of all this research is to unearth high-volume, low-competition keywords that make the most sense for your SEO strategy. Always keep your buyer personas and their pain points, challenges and other defining characteristics in mind. Would they use this exact verbiage when seeking more information or another phrase instead?

2. Scope out the competition

Running out of keyword ideas? Size up the competition and see what they’re ranking for.

SEMRush allows you to enter a competitor and view the top keywords they’re ranking for organically. You can see the ranking keyword, their position in search results, traffic received and other helpful information.

Use this information to inform your own SEO keyword strategy. Generate a list of 20-100 keywords that your competitors are ranking for. Decide whether you should compete for the same keywords or search for less competitive alternatives. You may discover you’re missing out on key SEO ranking opportunities or keywords your competitors never even considered.

3. Focus on long-tail keywords

Let’s face it. The chances of you ranking for popular, highly competitive search terms like “content marketing,” “social media” or “search engine optimization” are slim to none. We’re not saying it’s impossible. If you have endless reserves of patience and considerable time on your hands, you just might pull it off. But, you’ll have better luck targeting less competitive, long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords are very, very specific keywords or key phrases. While long-tail keywords get less search traffic, they’re typically easier to rank for and see more conversions than broader keywords.

For example, you have a better chance of ranking for “women’s blue running shoes” than “women’s shoes.” Not only is the former keyword less competitive than the latter, but someone searching for this long-tail keyword knows exactly what they’re looking for and is probably closer to making a purchase. A true win-win situation.

Need help finding long-tail keywords for your niche or industry? Try using the auto-suggestion feature of Google search. Just start typing in your first keyword and Google will auto-populate keywords based on popularity. Or you could find long-tail keyword ideas with tools like HitTail or WordTracker Keyword Tool.


Mapping out your SEO keyword strategy is only the first step in optimizing your website and content. Discover the critical components of a solid SEO strategy and how you can start implementing them today by downloading our guide On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO and Why A Lead-Generating Website Needs Both below.

Get Found on Page One of Google and Get More Website Traffic. Download This Guide to Learn How. Download Your Free Guide.

Topics:   Inbound Marketing SEO

Courtney Feairheller

Courtney is the content writer at Stratus Interactive, where she is responsible for writing original, thought-provoking blog posts on a variety of topics. Courtney has been writing stories since she was a wee little one and has experience in B2B and B2C content marketing in addition to SEO. See all Courtney Feairheller's posts.

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