Narrow Keyword Selection by Intent
First, the Straight North team identifies topics relevant to the services the client offers and gives a brief synopsis of the topic, including a few sample keywords.
Next, we brainstorm keywords relevant to the topic being researched and use Google’s Keyword Planner Tool to discover keywords to add to the research. During this phase, we look very closely at the user’s intent. Taking user intent into consideration helps us shrink the universe of relevant keywords to a manageable set of the most effective keywords to optimize.
Specific words within a search term can shed light on what the person’s intent was when he/she entered the search term into the search engines. For example: The keyword phrase “web design classes“ indicates an intention to learn. The keyword phrase “web design quote“ indicates an intention to purchase. The keyword phrase “web design” indicates no particular intention. The first keyword phrase is a superb fit for Web content designed to teach; the second keyword phrase is a superb fit for Web content designed to generate sales inquiries; the third keyword phrase is probably too vague to warrant optimization.
What About Low-Volume Keywords?
Optimizing for low-volume keywords is seldom cost effective. If only a handful of people are searching for the keyword for which a company is ranking highly, that keyword will not generate enough traffic and conversions to justify the cost of optimizing it.
There are, however, exceptions. If a low-volume keyword represents a good opportunity to make a $500,000 sale, a mere single conversion over a two-year period will more than pay for its inclusion in the SEO campaign.
Current Keyword Performance
How a website's content is currently performing in organic search is an important consideration. Keywords with high rankings could form the foundation of a campaign — if they are strategically sound keywords. On the other hand, if highly ranked keywords are strategically unsound — for example, having vague user intent or low-search volume — existing content will need to be re-optimized or even eliminated.
Using the Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools), we look at impressions, clicks and click-through rates to determine current keyword performance.
The Moz Keyword Difficulty Score tool, Google AdWords Competition Level, and Suggested Google AdWords Bid Price provide data about how difficult it would be to rank for a given keyword. The harder it is to rank, the more costly the SEO effort. A campaign made up only of very difficult keywords could be cost prohibitive.
Align Campaign Goals and Keyword Intent
Creating a keyword strategy for a client is a foundational element to an SEO campaign. We use the keyword’s user intent and the keyword data collected above as inputs to help identify the keywords we will be focusing on for the client’s SEO campaign. Aligning your client’s SEO campaign goal and the keyword’s intent is very important as you could waste a lot of time, effort and money optimizing keywords that won’t help meet your client’s SEO campaign goal.
Interesting data: The 1,000 Most Asked Questions on Google.