Get what you really want from your keyword strategy
Get what you really want from your keyword strategy

By on in Content Strategy

Get what you really want from your keyword strategy

The potential for free traffic and free leads makes optimizing for search a critical component of any digital marketing plan. But it’s not enough to say you want an X% increase in clicks or page views, or an arbitrary position among Google results. Your SEO strategy—and more specifically, your keyword strategy—needs to be, well, strategic.


We’ve seen countless RFPs that say they want to rank on page one or in the top ten on Google. What does that even mean? For which keywords? Among what audiences? And why?

We’ve seen countless RFPs that say they want to rank on page one or in the top ten on Google. What does that even mean? For which keywords? Among what audiences? And why? One of my own personal family members complains that he doesn’t get enough search traffic—an idea that surely results from unsolicited offers on LinkedIn to increase his visibility. But his business is 100% referrals—and the few folks who have stumbled across him via search have turned out to be terrible clients.

So let’s start there. What do you want to get from search?

If you’re a referral business that needs people to be able to validate that you exist and provide the services they require, you need to make sure you’re googl-able by name. Or even by first name plus your job and maybe your location.

If you’re a manufacturer or B2B marketer, you want to rank high among people who might buy your products or services, not people who are searching “What is (insert complex process name)?” I mean, I can easily get you a gazillion clicks by people who want to know what PPE stands for in a pandemic, but they’re unlikely to buy your welding helmets.

If you’re a small or mid-sized company, owning general, global terms within your market is a very long longshot. And why would you want to anyway? A one-off bookstore, for example, can’t compete for “nonfiction” or “best-selling novels” while there’s an Amazon out there. But you might get somewhere with “largest selection of graphic novels.”

For many of our clients—especially mid-sized B2B companies—long-tail keywords offer far greater value than broad terms. Lower on the demand curve because these three- to five-word phrases are so much more specific, they bring in fewer clicks. But the clicks they do bring in tend to be deeper in the consideration phase and more likely to convert.

Of course, for many marketers, this shift in focus requires some education of higher ups, who may only seem interested in big numbers and upward trending arrows in a slide deck. And Google doesn’t help, making suggestions that will help them eat up your SEM budget but don’t really connect with your prospects.

Like anything in marketing, trust your brief, your strategy and your gut. Put yourself in your prospects’ shoes—giving them quality content that answers their questions, rather than optimizing toward a false goal, will give you the real results you want. And if you need a little guidance, we’re here. Reach out any time.