3 Ways to Avoid Being a Keyword Basket Case

This post was written by John White on Wed, 28 Apr 2010 08:50:11 +0000
Posted Under: keywords,search engine marketing,Web content

Your keyword basket contains the terms people use most frequently to find you. Be sure to share it with your marketing communications writers.

Have you spent time and/or money researching the terms that people use to find your blog and Website, your “keyword basket?” Do you realize that you can pump these terms into the white papers, case studies, articles and presentations you hang out on the Web as well?

Your marketing communications writers should have access – and maybe even input – to the keyword basket that results from your search engine optimization efforts. They should be creating content that judiciously uses these keywords to help the pieces get found on the Web and draw more visitors to your site. Keywords aren’t just for stuffing into your <meta> tags, after all.

This occurred to me while I read a Stephanie Tilton article, “Buyer Personas: How to Deliver Relevant Content to B2B Buyers“. In the same conversation during which you tell writers about the piece you want them to deliver, you should describe the persona of the ideal reader AND you should talk about keywords of importance in the piece.

Of course, keyword baskets are still a novel concept to some marketing managers. I can think of three companies that are keyword basket cases because of how they handle – or don’t handle – their keywords. Here are the scenarios and how to avoid ending up in them yourself:

  1. Company A doesn’t have a keyword basket at all. It has done an admirable job of growing business through sales rather than through marketing, so it hasn’t paid much attention to whether people find its content, let alone how they find it. The Webmasters have stuffed a few words into the <meta> tags on the home page, but there’s no concentrated, ongoing effort to assemble and maintain a keyword basket.
  2. Company B has a well-oiled marketing machine behind it. This is a company whose Web team meets weekly to plan and work on a fabulous Web infrastructure for shooting content in huge salvos from cannon on the roof. The team disgorges disparate, technical content in an orderly manner week after week, but is wrapped around the axle when it comes to its SEO strategy. “People will find us,” the team believes, even though it could easily distill keywords from its content and analyze them from Web statistics.
  3. Company C has a keyword basket that it gladly shares with writers, but it’s monotonous. The company stuck to the short, fat, dumb terms that drive 70% of visitors to their site, while ignoring finer, more subtle terms. The keywords in the basket are little more than permutations of the half-dozen or so words that most people would associate with its line of business. This makes for a simple basket, but not for very effective use in white papers or case studies, because almost all of the content from everybody in the category contains the terms. The basket is missing long-tail terms that describe in greater detail the nuances and unique value proposition in the company’s services.

Is your company a keyword basket case? What can you do about it?

John White of venTAJA Marketing is a marketing communications writer for technology companies. He posts about technology writing from the perspective of the marketing manager. It’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it.

photo credit: Marshall Astor

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