SEO 101 – Starting with a Seed List for Keyword Research

May 24th, 2010

Building a SEO keyword seed list

Keyword research is your bread and butter for understanding more about your target market and your customers – to predict demand and shift if needed – so you can offer the products, services and most importantly content that potential customers are already seeking. It’s not exactly a crystal ball … just the next best thing for connecting with your prospects.

There is a plethora of meaty information to help you navigate the keyword research process, but before you dive in head first and absorb an abundance of expert knowledge on refining your keyword list, first consider building what SEO expert Aaron Wall calls a “seed list.”

Now, building a seed list really is no different than doing a thorough business analysis. It entails understanding the solutions/information your customers are looking for (search terms), how you will solve that need or provide relevant information (content on your site or in other marketing efforts) and how you will shift your approach according to the answers and data you accumulate.

Building a keyword seed list starts with asking the right questions:

  1. Which key terms are most relevant to my brand/business, products and services?
  2. What geographic areas are my customers searching from and for (your city combined with a relevant search term, like Chicago lawn care service)?
  3. What are my competitors doing to optimize their organic search rankings (specifically key terms they are targeting in the content of their site)?
  4. What opportunities do I have for keyword optimization in the content of key pages on my Web site, i.e. what am I missing?
  5. What is the data from my site analytics (hopefully you are tracking this via Omniture, Google Analytics or another web analytics platform) telling me about my prospects (which terms are driving traffic, which terms are converting site visitors into leads/customers)?
  6. Repeat question 5 for your paid search marketing (how much are you willing to pay per visitor to your site, i.e. how much is a single visit worth?) and determine which converting paid search terms represent the highest value for your business.

Answer these questions, build a core or “seed” keyword list, and you’ll be well on your way to better understanding what your customers are searching for and how you can connect with them, front and center.

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