Both Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Content Marketing are certainly marketing hot topics. Unfortunately, not all marketers appreciate the fact that these two fields always work in combination, resulting in an end-product greater than the sum of the two parts.

How do we define them?

SEO is the process of getting traffic from the 'free, organic, editorial' or natural search results on search engines. It seeks to identify valuable interest areas and the relevant language used by customers and prospects.

Content Marketing is the process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. (The Content Marketing Institute).

The words 'relevant' and 'valuable' jump out from both these definitions and to be worth the time and effort, content marketing needs to be both of these in large dollops. As SEO just happens to be one of the most useful ways to identify what is valuable and relevant, you can see the obvious link.

Without knowing what's important to your target market and understanding how they think and what words they use, it's difficult to create content which will be relevant, valuable and engaging.

Keywords is where the magic happens…

Keywords are where it all comes together. Keyword research is a critical area for marketers and offers some of the best 'bang for your marketing buck'. It is market research for the digital age, enabling us to learn more about our target market and gain important insights.

And whilst many of us understand that keywords are important in helping to improve search ranking results, we do tend to forget that they are just as important when 'speaking' to customers.

What does keyword research involve?

Keyword research means finding out what words and phrases your customers are typing into search queries to find information related to your business.

  • How often do they search?
  • With what intent - researching / comparing / buying?
  • What keywords are your competitors targeting?
  • How difficult is the keyword to rank for?

How do I do keyword research?

The good news is there are many free tools available if you have the time to start this process yourself. You can:

  • Type search words into Google to see what else comes up.
  • Use Google's Keyword Planner (although there are limitations on some of the data provided in free accounts).
  • Use Google Trends which provides additional information on historic trends and regional and country specific differences.
  • Research competitor and industry websites.

What's the right process to follow?

Like most things in life, there's no single way of doing things, it all depends on your own needs, the market size and complexity. The broad steps though are likely to include:

  • Start off with some 'seed' keywords.
  • Expand the list using a variety of sources (see the 'how' above).
  • Consolidate & de-duplicate.
  • Remove unwanted keywords.
  • Group into key category types.
  • Short list with approximately 10 priority targets.

However you do it, the important thing is once you've created your keyword plan, use it regularly, as a working document. Print it out and keep it on your desk whenever you're planning or creating content whether it is for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, website content or whatever other digital platforms you use. Let it guide and inform your content activity.

There's clearly much more to SEO and Content Marketing than keywords, but we've focused on keywords deliberately in this article as they play such a starring role, and are certainly the right place to start.

A bit overwhelmed and really time poor? Clear Signal can assist in small or big ways. We can:

  • Do the research and feed back the results in easy to digest format.
  • Create realistic content marketing plans and schedules.
  • Take on the entire SEO & Content Marketing side on your behalf, reporting back on a regular basis with measurable results.

If you'd like to find out more about keyword planning and research and how to dovetail this in to your content marketing efforts contact us at [email protected] or give us a call on 01256 370 910. We'd be delighted to explain how we've been increasingly adopting this approach and other content marketing techniques with our clients with some great results.

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