In the past we have talked a lot about the advent and rise of content/inbound marketing. A big part of any inbound strategy is blogging - in fact this can be the single most effective tool for establishing your company as subject matter experts and driving traffic to your site.
One of the hardest aspects of blogging is simply finding the time to commit to it - but before you can begin writing you must first tackle the focus keyword.
What is the Focus Keyword?
The focus keyword, or SEO keyword, is the heart and soul of your search engine optimization efforts. When a web user is online searching for information or a solution, they start by typing in a keyword/phrase into their search engine.
As simple as it sounds, this is the process you must think of when choosing your focus keyword. What phrase is most relevant to the content you are creating and will most likely be searched by your target audience? By taking an intelligent approach to this you can help increase the odds of being top of mind for search engines.
Tips for Creating the Focus Keyword
Use Tools to Enhance Your Search
While it is possible to select a good keyword out of the blue, it is recommended that you don't tackle the process blindly. There are tons of resources out there that can help take the guess work out of focus keyword selection.
The first is by simply checking out Google Autocomplete which you are no doubt all too familiar with. By seeing what results are suggested you can begin to see what phrases are most commonly searched.
Another popular tool to use is Google Keyword Planner which tells you how many people searched for a phrase over the last year. This is intended for use with Google AdWords however, but if you don't have an account there are many other options out there that can deliver solid results.
Check out this article which has over 80 focus keyword alternatives to Google Keyword Planner.
- Strike a balance between broad and specific. If you are writing about marketing tips you probably don't want to use just "marketing" and you will have less than desirable results if you choose something lengthy like "the top marketing tips for you and your business in 2014"
- Include it in your title, subheaders, meta description, anchor text, image alternative text and URL
- Use it early in your post. Many search engines give priority to the first 200 words on a page so it is crucial to include it early on
- Be sure it parallels what you are actually writing about! If your focus keyword doesn't align with the theme of your content it can really limit the overall effectiveness
- Use your keyword throughout the content where relevant, but don't overuse it! Including it too many times can be a red flag for search engines which are designed to recognize spam techniques
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right focus keyword for your posts can have a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of your content, so it is important to put in the time up front researching and crafting it before you start writing.
What tips and tools do you use for choosing your keywords? Let us know in the comments below!