Demystifying Digital: Importance of Keyword Optimization

By Lindsay Valenty -

Search engine algorithms and voice search technology are changing the keyword game: is your strategy on point?

 In our "Demystifying Digital" series, we're going to discuss a variety of digital marketing tactics and describe what they are, how they work, and how you can use them in your current and future digital marketing ventures.

 This month we're going to discuss Keyword Optimization.

 Keyword optimization (also known as keyword research) is the act of researching, analyzing, and selecting the most descriptive keywords to drive qualified traffic from search engines to your website.

In the past, most websites would "keyword stuff" as many search terms as possible, but the landscape of digital is changing. According to Google's Behshad Behzadi, 55 percent of teenagers and 40 percent of adults use Google mobile app's voice search tool every single day, which means your keywords need to address the questions they ask, not just come up when someone searches for a specific word or two.

Consumers perform millions of searches every day. Your task is to know what they're searching for within your industry. Once you've got a list of standard search terms, you must identify the cross-section of words that have the highest search volume to competition ratio. This strategy will likely include a mix of head terms and long-tail keywords. 

Keyword Optimization Strategies

Head terms are the short, open-ended search terms we often use when first starting our search, usually less than 25 characters. For example, "running shoes" or "body lotion."

Long-tail keywords are the more specific terms we use to narrow in on exactly what we're looking for, typically longer phrases of 26-40 characters. For example, "running shoes for low arches" or "anti-aging body lotion natural ingredients." 

While head terms receive higher search volume, long-tail keywords tend to generate better click and conversion rates.

When you build your list, try to narrow in on keywords that have a high enough volume to drive meaningful traffic, but low enough competition to still rank for that term. 

Pros of Keyword Optimization

Drive qualified traffic to your website: If you want consumers to find your site, you must optimize for the keywords they're searching for, and include these same keywords in every aspect of your marketing: not just digital. Make sure you're utilizing the same content in your social and direct mail efforts as well.

Measure traffic potential: Researching the popularity of keywords will help you determine the size of your potential online consumers.

Write compelling content: Determining what keywords you need and weaving them organically into your website content will allow you to connect with potential customers and address their needs instantly.

Understand user behavior: Running reports on the head terms and long-tail keywords your consumers search for will provide ideas on what they need and how you can help.

There are many free and premium tools you can use to help build out your list of keywords. As the leading search engine, Google offers many of the most popular tools—AdWords Keyword Planner, Google Autosuggest, and Google Related Search.

Our digital strategy starts with targeted SEO research and elegant, functional web design—and follows through with data-driven email marketing, digital ads, social media and more. Let's get digital.