In SEO content planning, keywords and topics are often mapped out to specific phases of consideration or a customer journey funnel.
That’s a great place to start, and it often leads to the next step of mapping further to the right pages and sections of the site.
For those topics and terms that most naturally fit your blog, there are some important considerations we need to get right. Your blog keyword strategy needs to support broader SEO efforts.
In this column, you’ll find seven tips for a smarter, data-driven approach to choosing the best possible keywords for your blog content.
1. Know What You Want the Blog to Do
First, it’s important to understand that keyword targeting really means keyword intent targeting.
Even though the term
has a monthly volume of almost 10,000 searches, it’s going to be tremendously difficult to rank a blog post on it.
Instead, you might try
because it matches the intent of the searcher you’re targeting.
Brush up on intent and understand how it plays out for the specific terms, phrases, and topics you’re targeting. That will help you with the purpose and hierarchy of content for your site overall, including the blog.
2. Plan Where Your Blog Fits in the Funnel
Why are people currently coming to the blog (regardless of traffic source)?
Why do you want them to come to it?
How does your blog content support your website and marketing conversion goals?
Chances are that you’re not seeing too many direct sales and/or leads from blog posts. Bonus if you’re getting them and have a strategy for direct response and purchases.
It’s more likely that your blog supports the top of the funnel. Blogs are a natural entry point for someone looking for a specific topic, to get a question answered, or to gain knowledge.
That means there might not be much or any brand awareness for the site visitor.
Map out where the blog fits into the customer journey and natural funnel now, and what you want it to do going forward.
3. Leverage Thought Leadership
If you are in that situation where your blog supports the top of the funnel, make sure it is tuned toward thought leadership content.
That means helping, not selling (much). There are definitely exceptions — where someone is looking for something to buy right now or is in buying mode for services, for example.
You can also potentially be there when they go from research to buying mode.
Think about a person searching for instructions on how to put a garage door spring back into place, for example. Perhaps what they learn convinces them that they want no part of that process. Logically, they reach out to the service provider who generously gave them the stressful instructions on how to DIY.
Regardless of your conversion goals, try to answer questions, be a resource, and show leadership in your industry in your blog content to support the top (and hopefully middle and bottom) of the funnel.
4. Focus on the Long Tail
Think back to the
example from earlier. That’s a broad term. There’s no way we can write an article that will rank for that topic without a ton of other factors.
Even if we achieved the top ranking for that term for our post, is that the best place to send that traffic?
Are we providing the solution for all searchers and their intentions on that term?
That term is likely best served by a product or service page, a section of pages, and rich content as a resource in an evergreen format. Then we can use the blog to support that topic and to land people searching on related long-tail keywords.
The blog should support generic terms and topics, but it’s not the main place we target those. Think about the sum of many when it comes to the traffic opportunity for the blog.
Thie blog is our place to answer questions and gain the aggregate traffic from dozens, hundreds, or thousands of long-tail terms. They have lower search volume that adds up to a lot when bundled together.
5. Get Executive Buy-in to Support the Blog Budget
Maybe you just landed a budget for SEO. Now SEO is asking for content. Sigh.
Content isn’t always factored into an SEO budget, particularly if these are still siloed and looked at as separate disciplines.
Present a high-level version of the funnel and demonstrate how SEO needs different types of web content — including the blog — to support it. Show how it moves people from first impression to conversion.
If you can bundle blog content creation into the SEO budget, great.
If you have to sell it to your boss, stakeholders, or clients as a separate line item or add-on, bring your funnel plus the keyword opportunities currently being missed. Add in how your competitors are winning.
Those three things should help you make a compelling case to invest in an ongoing blog keyword strategy and the content development to support it.
6. Use Your Keyword Strategy to Inform Your Content Calendar
If your organization or client already has a content calendar and ongoing process for creating blog content, great! Find your way in as an SEO professional to work keywords into the plan.
Find out how topics are selected and learn the production schedule. See if you can provide a keyword strategy for the current content flow.
Also, see where you can work in priorities for the SEO strategy:
- Share best practices for blog writing with keyword optimization.
- Get your high-priority topics into the schedule.
- Map out the short and long-term plans.
- Identify and celebrate wins.
7. How Do You Know If Your Blog Keyword Strategy Is Working?
Speaking of wins, we need to define what those are.
Set up your reporting and attribution to see the whole funnel and how different pages, sessions, and types of content are opening the conversation and closing it for conversions.
Capture your benchmarks and measure blog content performance over time. Look at individual keywords, average position for blog content, traffic, and conversions (tied directly to blog posts as well as further down the journey and funnel).
Keeping a tight and segmented view of blog performance within the broader SEO strategy and within the funnel will help you justify and hopefully increase your budget.
Whether you’re trying to justify and ramp up a blog or already have a well-oiled blogging machine in your organization, it’s important that you’re maximizing the blog’s value for SEO.
Focus on the broader funnel and keyword intent for the blog.
Get the strategy and investment level right so your blog keyword strategy can really pay off.