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Create an Effective SEO Keyword Strategy

Update your on-page SEO strategy with competitively relevant keywords.

Digital Marketers working with an outdated or bad SEO strategy often see:

  • Declining keyword ranking and traffic
  • Poor keyword strategy
  • On-page errors

Our Advice

Critical Insight

Most marketers fail in their SEO efforts because they focus on creating content for computers, not people.

Impact and Result

Using the SoftwareReviews methodology, digital marketers are able to break up their SEO project and data into bite-sized, actionable steps that focus on long-term improvement. Our methodology includes:

  • Competitive keyword research and identification of opportunities
  • On-page keyword strategy

Create an Effective SEO Keyword Strategy Research & Tools

1. Create an Effective SEO Keyword Strategy

Update your on-page SEO strategy with competitively relevant keywords.


Create an Effective SEO Keyword Strategy
Update your on-page SEO strategy with competitively relevant keywords.

Analyst Perspective

Most marketers fail in their SEO efforts because they focus on creating content for computers, not people.

Leading search engine optimization methods focus on creating and posting relevant keyword-rich content, not just increasing page rank. Content and keywords should move a buyer along their journey, close a sale, and develop long-term relationships. Unfortunately, many SEO specialists focus on computers, not the buyer. What's even more concerning is that up to 70% of SaaS businesses have already been impacted by outdated and inefficient SEO techniques. Poor strategies often focus on ballooning SEO metrics in the short-term instead of building the company's long-term PageRank.

Best-in-class digital marketers stop chasing the short-term highs and focus on long-term growth. This starts with developing a competitive keyword strategy and updating website content with the new keywords.

SEO is a large topic, so we have broken the strategy into small, easy-to-implement steps, taking the guesswork out of how to use the data from SEO tools and giving CMOs a solid path to increase their SEO results.

This is a picture of Terra Higginson

Terra Higginson
Marketing Research Director
SoftwareReviews

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

Digital marketers working with an outdated or bad SEO strategy often see:

  • Declining keyword ranking and traffic
  • Poor keyword strategy
  • On-page errors

Search algorithms change all the time, which means that the strategy is often sitting on the sifting sands of technology, making SEO strategies quickly outdated.

Common Obstacles

Digital marketers are responsible for developing and implementing a competitive SEO strategy but increasingly encounter the following obstacles:

  • SEO practitioners that focus on gaming the system
  • Ever-changing SEO technology
  • Lack of understanding of the best SEO techniques
  • SEO techniques focus on the needs of computers, not people
  • Lack of continued investment

SoftwareReviews' Approach

Using the SoftwareReviews methodology, digital marketers are able to break up their SEO project and data into bite-sized, actionable steps that focus on long-term improvement. Our methodology includes:

  • Competitive keyword research and identification of opportunities
  • On-page keyword strategy

Our methodology will take a focused step-by-step strategy in a series of phases that will increase PageRank and competitive positioning.

SoftwareReviews' SEO Methodology

In this blueprint, we will cover:

Good SEO vs. Poor SEO Techniques

The difference between good and bad SEO techniques.

Common Good
SEO Techniques

Common Poor
SEO Techniques

  • Writing content for people, not machines.
  • Using SEO tools to regularly adjust and update SEO content, keywords, and backlinks.
  • Pillar and content cluster strategy in addition to a basic on- and off-page strategy.
  • Keyword stuffing and content duplication.
  • A strategy that focuses on computers first and people second.
  • Low-quality or purchased backlinks.

Companies With Great SEO…

Keyword Strategy

  • Have identified a keyword strategy that carves out targets within the white space available between themselves and the competition.

Error-Free Site

  • Have error-free sites without duplicate content. Their URLs and redirects are all updated. Their site is responsive, and every page loads in under two seconds.

Pillar & Content Clusters

  • Employ a pillar and content cluster strategy to help move the buyer through their journey.

Authentic Off-Page Strategy

  • Build an authentic backlink strategy that incorporates the right information on the right sites to move the buyer through their journey.

SEO Terms Defined

A glossary to define common Phase 1 SEO terms.

Search Volume: this measures the number of times a keyword is searched for in a certain time period. Target keywords with a volume of between 100-100,000. A search volume greater than 100,000 will be increasingly difficult to rank (A Beginner's Guide to Keyword Search Volume, 2022, Semrush).

Keyword Difficulty: the metric that quantifies how difficult it will be to rank for a certain keyword. The keyword difficulty percentage includes the number of competitors attempting to rank for the same keyword, the quality of their content, the search intent, backlinks, and domain authority (Keyword Difficulty: What Is It and Why Is It Important? 2022, Semrush).

Intent: this metric focuses on the intent of the user's search. All search intent is categorized into Informational, Commercial, Navigational, and Transactional (What Is Search Intent? A Complete Guide, 2022, Semrush).

On-page SEO: refers to the practice of search engine optimizing elements of your site such as title tags, internal links, HTML code, URL optimization, on-page content, images, and user experience.

Off-page SEO: refers to the practice of optimizing brand awareness (What Is Off-Page SEO? A Comprehensive Guide, 2022, Semrush).

H1: HTML code that tells a search engine the title of the page (neilpatel.com).

SEO Tool: A subscription-based all-in-one search engine optimization MarTech tool.

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful… We believe Search should deliver the most relevant and reliable information available.
– An excerpt from Google's mission statement

Your Challenge

Google makes over 4.5k algorithm changes per year1, directly impacting digital marketing search engine optimization efforts.

Digital marketers with SEO problems will often see the following issues:

  • Keyword ranking – A decline in keyword ranking is alarming and results in decreased PageRank.
  • Bounce rate – Attracting the wrong audience to your site will increase the bounce rate because the H1 doesn't resonate with your audience.
  • Outdated keywords – Many companies are operating on a poor keyword strategy, or even worse, no keyword strategy. In addition, many marketers haven't updated their strategy to include pillar and cluster content.
  • Errors – Neglected sites often have a large number of errors.
  • Bad backlinks – Neglected sites often have a large number of toxic backlinks.

The best place to hide a dead body is on page two of the search results.
– Huffington Post

Common Obstacles

Digital marketers are responsible for developing and executing a competitive SEO strategy but increasingly encounter the following obstacles:

  • Inefficient and ineffective SEO practitioners.
  • Changing SEO technology and search engine algorithms.
  • Lack of understanding of the best-in-class SEO techniques.
  • Lack of a sustainable plan to manage the strategy and invest in SEO.

SEO is a helpful activity when it's applied to people-first content. However, content created primarily for search engine traffic is strongly correlated with content that searchers find unsatisfying.
– Google Search Central Blog

Benefits of Proper SEO

A good SEO keyword strategy will create long-term, sustainable SEO growth:

  • Write content for people, not algorithms – Good SEO prioritizes the needs of humans over the needs of computers, being ever thoughtful of the meaning of content and keywords.
  • Content that aligns with intent – Content and keyword intent will align with the buyer journey to help move prospects through the funnel.
  • Competitive keyword strategy – Find keyword whitespace for your brand. Keywords will be selected to optimize your ranking among competition with reasonable and sustainable targets.
  • Actionable and impactful fixes – By following the SoftwareReviews phases of SEO, you will be able to take a very large task and divide it into conquerable actions. Small improvements everyday lead to very large improvements over time.

Digital Marketing SEO Stats

61%
61% of marketers believe that SEO is the key to online success.
Source: Safari Digital

437%
Updating an existing title tag with an SEO optimised one can increase page clicks by more than 437%.
Source: Safari Digital

Good SEO Aligns With Search Intent

What type of content is the user searching for? Align your keyword to the logical search objective.

Informational

This term categorizes search intent for when a user wants to inform or educate themselves on a specific topic.

Commercial

This term categorizes search intent for when a user wants to do research before making a purchase.

Transactional

This term categorizes search intent for when a user wants to purchase something.

Navigational

This term categorizes search intent for when a user wants to find a specific page.

SoftwareReviews' Methodology to Create an Effective SEO Strategy

1. Competitive Analysis & Keyword Discovery 2. On-Page Keyword Optimization
Phase Steps
  1. Make a list of keywords in your current SEO strategy – including search volume, keyword difficulty percentage, intent.
  2. Research the keywords of top competitors.
  3. Make a list of target keywords you would like to own – including the search volume, keyword difficulty percentage, and intent. Make sure that these keywords align with your buyer persona.
  1. List product and service pages, along with the URL and current ranking(s) for the keyword(s) for that URL.
  2. Create a new individual page strategy for each URL. Record the current keyword, rank, title tag, H1 tag, and meta description. Then, with keyword optimization in mind, develop the new title tag, new H1 tag, and new meta description. Build the target keywords into the pages and tags.
  3. Record the current ranking for the pages' keywords then reassess after three to six months.
Phase Outcomes
  • Understanding of competitive landscape for SEO
  • A list of target new keywords
  • Keyword optimized product and service pages

Guided Implementation

What does a typical GI on this topic look like?

Phase 1 Phase 2

Call #1: Identify your current SEO keyword strategy.

Call #2: Discuss how to start a competitive keyword analysis.

Call #4: Discuss how to build the list of target keywords.

Call #6: Discuss keyword optimization of the product & services pages.

Call #8: (optional)

Schedule a call to update every three to six months.

Call #3: Discuss the results of the competitive keyword analysis.

Call #5: Discuss which pages to update with new target keywords.

Call #7: Review final page content and tags.

Call #9: Schedule a call for SEO Phase 2: On-Page Technical Refinement.

A Guided Implementation (GI) is a series of calls with an Info-Tech analyst to help implement our best practices in your organization.

A typical GI is between 8 to 12 calls over the course of 1 to 2 months.

SoftwareReviews offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

Included Within an Advisory Membership Optional Add-Ons
DIY Toolkit Guided Implementation Workshop Consulting
"Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful." "Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track." "We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place." "Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project."

Insight Summary

People-First Content

Best-in-class SEO practitioners focus on people-first content, not computer-first content. Search engine algorithms continue to focus on how to rank better content first, and a strategy that moves your buyers through the funnel in a logical and cohesive way will beat any SEO trick over the long-run.

Find Whitespace

A good SEO strategy uses competitive research to carve out white space and give them a competitive edge in an increasingly difficult ranking algorithm. An understanding of the ideal client profile and the needs of their buyer persona(s) sit as a pre-step to any good SEO strategy.

Optimize On-Page Keywords

By optimizing the on-page strategy with competitively relevant keywords that target your ideal client profile, marketers are able to take an easy first step at improving the SEO content strategy.

Understand the Strategy

If you don't understand the strategy of your SEO practitioner, you are in trouble. Marketers need to work hand in hand with their SEO specialists to quickly uncover gaps, create a strategy that aligns with the buyer persona(s), and execute the changes.

Quality Trumps Quantity

The quality of the prospect that your SEO efforts bring to your site is more important than the number of people brought to your site.

Stop Here and Ask Yourself:

  • Do I have an updated (completed within the last two years) buyer persona and journey?
  • Do I know who the ICP (ideal client profile) is for my product or company?

If not, stop here, and we can help you define your buyer persona and journey, as well as your ideal client profile before moving forward with SEO Phase 1.

The Steps to SEO Phase 1

The Keyword Strategy

  1. Current Keywords
    • Identify the keywords your SEO strategy is currently targeting.
  2. Competitive Analysis
    • Research the keywords of competitor(s). Identify keyword whitespace.
  3. New Target Keywords
    • Identify and rank keywords that will result in more quality leads and less competition.
  4. Product & Service Pages
    • Identify your current product and service pages. These pages represent the easiest content to update on your site.
  5. Individual Page Update
    • Develop an SEO strategy for each of your product and service pages, include primary target keyword, H1, and title tags, as well as keyword-rich description.

Resources Needed for Search Engine Optimization

Consider the working skills required for search engine optimization.

Required Skills/Knowledge

  • SEO
  • Web development
  • Competitive analysis
  • Content creation
  • Understanding of buyer persona and journey
  • Digital marketing

Suggested Titles

  • SEO Analyst
  • Competitive Intelligence Analyst
  • Content Marketing Manager
  • Website Developer
  • Digital Marketing Manager

Digital Marketing Software

  • CMS that allows you to easily access and update your content

SEO Software

  • SEO tool

Step 1: Current Keywords

Use this sheet to record your current keyword research.

Use your SEO tool to research keywords and find the following:
Use a quality tool like SEMRush to obtain SEO data.

  1. Keyword difficulty
  2. Search volume
  3. Search intent

This is a screenshot of the SEO tool SEMRush, which can be used to identify current keywords.

Step 2: Competitive Analysis

Use this sheet to guide the research on your competitors' keywords.

Use your SEO tool to find the following:

  1. Top organic keywords
  2. Ranking of keywords
  3. Domain authority and trust
  4. Position changes

This is a screenshot of the SEO tool SEMRush, which can be used to perform an competitive analysis

Step 3: New Target Keywords

Use this sheet to record target keywords that have a good volume but are less competitive. The new target keywords should align with your buyer persona and their journey.

Use your SEO tool to research keywords and find the following:
Use a quality tool like SEMRush to obtain SEO data.

  1. Keyword difficulty
  2. Search volume
  3. Search intent

This is a screenshot of the SEO tool SEMRush, which can be used to identify new target keywords.

Step 4: Product & Service Pages

Duplicate this page so that you have a separate page for each URL from Step 4

Use this sheet to identify your current product and service pages.

Use your SEO tool to find the following:

  1. Current rank
  2. Current keywords

This is a screenshot of the SEO tool SEMRush, showing where you can display product and service pages.

Step 5: Individual Page Strategy

Develop a keyword strategy for each of your product and service pages. Use a fresh page for each URL.

Date last optimized:
mm/dd/yyyy

This is a screenshot of the SEO tool SEMRush, with an example of how you can use an individual page strategy to develop a keyword strategy.

Bibliography

Council, Y. "Council Post: The Rundown On Black Hat SEO Techniques And Why You Should Avoid Them." Forbes, 2022. Accessed September 2022.

"Our approach – How Google Search works." Google Search. Accessed September 2022.

"The Best Place to Hide a Dead Body is Page Two of Google." HuffPost, 2022. Accessed September 2022.

Patel, Neil. "How to Create the Perfect H1 Tag for SEO." neilpatel.com. Accessed September 2022.

Schwartz, B. "Google algorithm updates 2021 in review: Core updates, product reviews, page experience and beyond." Search Engine Land, 2022. Accessed September 2022.

Schwartz, B. "Google algorithm updates 2021 in review: Core updates, product reviews, page experience and beyond." Search Engine Land, 2022. Accessed September 2022.

Safari Digital. 61 SEO Statistics for 2022 That Matter for Your Business. Safari Digital, 2022. Accessed September 2022.

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Author

Terra Higginson

Contributors

  • Julie Geller, Marketing Research Director
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