If you are searching for a definitive guide that explains exactly how to rank for your desired keywords in any industry, this is not it.
Instead this is a guide that discusses the basic process you can take towards ranking for top keywords in any industry, and a handy list of resources and more detailed guides and tutorials will be available at the end of this series.
If you are a part of a business with an online presence, you know how important it is to rank as highly as possible when someone searches for something that is relevant to your business and the products / services you offer. After all, the more your business is seen by interested buyers, the more likely you are to make a sale!
Exactly how do you go about getting these high-ranking positions in search results? In short, SEO. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is an essential component to any good marketing strategy. The pickle many businesses find themselves in is that they’re interested in SEO and getting to those top spots, but really have no idea of what steps to take to accomplish their goals.
Step One: Stop, Look, and Listen!
The very first thing you should do as a business looking to rank for top keywords in your industry is take a step back. It might be tempting to jump in with both feet and get to work optimizing your site for keywords you think are going to help you bring in loads of traffic. What you need to consider is whether or not all of that effort is going to give you the results you want.
Ask yourself a few essential questions before you get started:
- What are you selling?
- Who do you want to sell it to?
- How are you going to sell it to them?
Once you have identified the product or service you want to promote, the audience you want to target, and the ‘how’ of delivering the information you’ll have the basic information you need to get started with the next phase of the process: research!
For even more tips on what to do before you get started, see these posts by other top bloggers:
- Tips and Tricks to Keyword Research, Part 1: Taking a Step Back – by Greg Bem
- Five things you need to know before doing SEO Keyword Research – by Amit
Video: Introduction To Market And Keyword Research
Step Two: Look It All Up
Now that you know who you are and what you want to do, do the same thing with your competition.
- What are they selling?
- Who are they selling it to?
- How are they selling it?
- Are their goals similar to your goals?
If you and your nearest competitor are essentially trying to do the same thing (market a highly similar product to the same target audience in a similar fashion) then you can take an in-depth look at their performance and data to see what they’re doing right and maybe figure out why it’s working for them so that you can use this information when you put together your own plan.
Bring the focus back onto your business again
In order to rank for top keywords in any industry, you first need to find out what those keywords are. This is where keyword research comes in. Keyword research is important because it helps you identify the keywords you want to use when optimizing your pages. It can sometimes require a bit of outside-the-box thinking because not everyone is searching for the same thing using the same words. Two people can sit in front of their computers with the goal of finding company A’s red kickball; the first person might search for “red kickball” while person two might search for “company A red ball”. Both of these people are seeking the same product and are only separated by the words they put into their favorite search engine.
Get an in-depth look at the “us versus them” approach to analysis that needs to happen during the research phase in these posts:
- The Important Keyword Research Question That’s Often Ignored By Bloggers – by Shamelle Perera
- Make the Most of SEO Competitive Research : Evaluating the Competition – by Ann Smarty
- Competitor’s Keyword Selection – by Ryan Cote
- How to Analyze Your SEO Competitors – by webconfs.com
Video: Keyword Research – your Keyword Competitors
Keyword research can produce a lot of data, and we’ll cover what to do with what you’ve learned so far in Part Two of this post!
Keyword research and data gathering is hard work!
If someone came to you and asked for one tip that could help make their search easier or their results better, what would you say?
Leave us a comment and let us know.