A strong content strategy is supported by strong research. In early December, Kate explained why research is important in her article about increasing conversion rates through research. Later in December, Laura introduced us to research methods for social media based conversions in her article about data through social media. Now that 2012 is officially underway, I wanted to take a moment to talk about some strategies and tools to further your SEO content strategy with research in the coming year.
1. Research your Keywords
The first step in a well-planned content strategy is to identify your keywords. There are many tools out there, but perhaps one of the best is Google’s free Adwords Keyword Tool . Before identifying which keywords you want to target, it’s important to gather information on three things.
1. Does the keyword make sense for your audience? A lot of this will be based on your professional judgment in the field. Just remember relevancy is key here.
2. What traffic do your keywords currently get? If you are not currently ranking with a keyword, going after a high traffic keyword is an ineffective strategy.
3. How much competition do your keywords have? Find keywords that match your level of competition. If you are currently low ranking, go for low competition keywords.
As your rank builds, then you can consider attempting higher traffic and higher competition keywords. But don’t forget to maintain your rankings in the other keywords. Ever since Google introduced it’s new search index, Caffeine, page ranks are constantly being updated with new information. So if you stop maintaining your rank for any given keyword, you are liable to lose it quickly.
2. Keep It Current
When doing research for your content, it’s important to keep it current. Google looks for current and relevant information, so the older your sources are, the less they do for your ranking. In Google, you can refine your search to weed out old stuff, my using the More Search Tools link on the lower left side of the Google search page. Clicking it will reveal more search refinement tools; choosing articles only from the Past Week will help keep your sources current.
3. Use Reputable Sources
While using reputable resources can promote your content strategy, using resources that are not can harm it. For reputability, it’s important to do some research into the company and people behind the words. Check to be sure that they have the credentials or experience necessary to be experts in the field you are researching. Wikihow and Cornell University Library both have a excellent articles about how to effectively evaluate a source’s reputability.
4. Page Rank
Reputability and page rank often go hand-in-hand, but not always. Page rank is important for content strategy because links to highly ranked sites are given higher statuses in Google’s search engine. PR Checker is a free page rank checker that will allow you to check on the rank of any site. Of course, page rank also matters in relation to keywords. SEO Centro has a great tool for checking how you rank for specific keywords. You can even compare yourself to the competition.
As with content, you want your research to be targeted and relevant. Remember to use sources that are current, reputable, and well ranked. And before you jump into an SEO strategy, be sure you have researched and identified the keywords that will help you be successful. What are your go-to tools and how do you plan to use them to promote your content strategy in 2012?
Latest posts by Jon (see all)
- Research Tools for Content Strategy - January 2, 2012
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- Boosting Your Social Media Based Conversions - December 15, 2011