You’ve decided to leverage great content to engage your audience and generate some good leads. But that can come only after you have been able to attract the right audience with your content. Search engine optimization has a great role to play in ensuring that your content is visible to people who are searching for it.
While that is SEO summed up in a sentence, there is actually a lot that goes behind creating optimized content. The content piece with the right on-page SEO elements is just the end product for a long and carefully-thought-out process of research and strategy. This is the part where you actually invest time and money; whether it’s you doing it, or your SEO manager, or your digital marketing agency.
As a business owner, you are about driving higher ROI. And so you want to get this part absolutely right, but not at the cost of countless trials and errors. You do not want a situation where you have a keyword strategy, you’re creating content, running ads, only to realize midway that those are not the right keywords for you. You’ve lost precious time and money, will have to go back to the drawing board to create a different strategy, and then invest time in pivoting to the new strategy. All of this is time you could have spent diving deep and creating phenomenal content based on a “first-time-right” keyword strategy.
Now that you know the cost of not having the right keyword strategy, here are 3 powerful ways to get it right, and save money on your content optimization process.
Get the Right SEO Keyword Research Tool
There are a lot of tools out there that can perform keyword research. Some are very specific, as in they will do one thing and do it really great; like finding the search volume in different countries. Others might give the exact keyword difficulty score. And while these are great, what you need is an SEO keyword research tool that can handle multiple functions, and yet, is within your budget.
Some of the key functions that you definitely need are:
- Keyword Volume: Check both global and country-specific keyword search volumes
- Keyword Difficulty: Identify how easy or difficult it is to rank for a certain keyword. High volumes are good, but not really useful if they are very difficult to rank for.
- SEO Audit: Audit your website for all SEO issues and generate a performance report that give you clarity on what is working and which aspects of your SEO performance need work.
- Create Keyword Combinations: You can never think up every possible search query around a topic. The tool should be able to take your seed keywords and create a list of all possible keywords around them, along with associated volumes. This is one crucial element that ensures you do not miss any important keywords.
- Long Tail Keywords: More descriptive, highly intent based keywords that give you the opportunity to bring your content to a very interested, highly targeted set of readers. For example: “employee engagement and productivity” is a good keyword, but “how does employee engagement boost productivity” is a long tail keyword that you can rank for by creating content that answers the question.
- LSI Keywords: A list of keywords that are closely associated with you focus keyword, and appear in Google autosuggest when you type your focus keyword. You need these because identifying and incorporating them in your content builds your website’s Domain Authority (DA) around the topic. It tells search engines that your content is reliable, and worthy of being ranked higher.
Now, you can access all these functions on separate free tools. But let’s face it, free tools and plans are great but probably do not give you everything you want. Or give you only a limited number of searches/metrics per month. And you definitely do not want to spend your time looking for a new free tool every time you hit a paywall.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have people who take paid subscriptions of a host of different tools, each one for the functionality that they offer best. This is great as it offers a level of data and insights that help you create a strategy that’s off-the-charts. But when you are just starting off, with a small team and a small digital marketing budget, opting for a host of different specialized tools is not a good idea.
You’ve got to walk the tightrope between features and budget. So here are a few pointers on choosing the right tool/set of tools for keyword research:
- Look for a tool that offers a good variety of features, especially the ones that you absolutely need. So features like keyword volume, country-specific volumes, keyword difficulty, associated keyword ideas, and site performance audits etc are critical features that your primary tool must have.
Found one? Let’s hold on to it.
- Verify if data from the tool for each of these parameters differ greatly from the data provided by tools that are supposedly best for that parameter. For example check keyword volume data against data from Google Keyword Planner. Check keyword difficulty numbers against data from Moz or Ahrefs.
- This can be done by running a couple of keyword searches on the free versions of these tools. Alternatively, you can also post a quick question on one of the several SEO forums, or google around for tool comparisons.
The data from this tool checks out against other, more specialized tools. This is looking good!
- Finally, do a price/plan comparison of a couple of your selected tools to choose the one that’s in your budget sweet spot.
- Once you have your primary tool, you can then identify the features that you feel are good to have but not really essential. You can get these by signing up for a couple of free tools that can bring in these features as and when required.
The key is to find an SEO keyword research tool that has powerful keyword research features, gives credible results, and meets your budget constraints. Note that you do not want to skimp here, but nor do you want to be needlessly extravagant.
Be Smart About Your Keyword Research
Keyword research is not merely finding a set of high volume words centered around your industry. Going down that route will give you keywords with high search volumes no doubt, but there would be very slim chances of your content ever ranking well for those keywords.
For example: Let’s say you have a built a new app or platform that enables employee engagement. While the term “employee engagement app”, or “employee engagement” might have high search volumes, there would already be more established firms that would be ranking on those terms. Unless you are the pioneer in an industry, there would always be some established competition already ranking for broad, industry-level keywords.
What you need is to dive deeper into your product/service offering, identify key aspects of it that bring value to your target audience, and identify keywords around those niches. In other words, invest your time in mining intent-based keywords. Figure out your target personas and think hard about what questions they might have while searching for a product/service like yours. As the business owner, no one knows this information better than you. And hence, you are uniquely positioned to look at the right places, to identify unique, highly focused keywords.
To carry forward our example of an employee engagement app, there would be questions around how to choose the right one for one’s firm, questions around why you need one in the first place, how does it contribute to the revenues, productivity etc. All of these translate into niche, intent-based keywords for your content. And if your SEO keyword research tool can help you get this part right, there’s nothing better!
Do not waste time and money in creating content around broad, industry level keywords with slim to no chances of ranking for. Search, instead, for targeted, intent-based keywords that will answer the question that your target audience has, guiding them through a complete buyer’s journey.
Start with a DIY Approach
While we have stressed upon the complexity behind it, a DIY SEO strategy and content optimization model is entirely possible. Once you have an intent-based keywords strategy in place, and have created great content around those keywords, it’s time to optimize it. You have already tackled the hard part, i.e. finding the right keyword. Now all you have to do is make sure that it is incorporated in all the right places in your content.
Here are the places where your focus keyword should appear on your webpage:
When readers spot their search query term in your title and description on the Search Engine Result Pages(SERP), they easily infer it to be something useful. It makes their life easier, allowing them to spot the information they wanted. Your readers love you.
These elements also make your content easy to read and index by the search engines. The occurrence of the focus keyword in each of these instances gives the search engine strong signals that your content piece is highly relevant for someone searching for this particular keyword. And so the search engines love you too.
These on-page SEO elements form the bedrock of optimized content and are something that you can do by yourself. If you are just starting out, with limited digital marketing budgets, taking a DIY approach to on-page SEO is advisable. It will save you serious money, eliminating the need for a dedicated SEO manager or agency, at least at the early stages.
So those were our three tricks to save money on creating optimized content. And since you are here, why not quickly evaluate Irayo for features, the ability to create intent-based keyword strategies, and on-page optimization. This might just be the right SEO keyword research tool for you to start your DIY SEO journey.