The Secrets to Keywords - Creating Search Engine Friendly Content

 To continue with the secrets to keywords series, I want to highlight the importance of research.

Keyword research tells you what people are looking for on-line and therefore it is one of the best ways to find ideas for content on your website.

However, many people only use keyword research to polish content after it has been created. This process is at best time-consuming and at worst creates roadblocks to getting your content out where people can find it. It is far more sensible and productive to do your keyword research before you start any writing. Why? Because then you'll:

• know that people are genuinely interested in what you're writing about

• be able to structure your article using keywords throughout

• find that the structure makes writing easier, and that the resulting copy is easier to read

• create search engine friendly copy easily in record time - and that will save money on later optimization.

Here's an exercise to stimulate a useful content brainstorming session.

1. Preparation. Pick a number of important market sectors for your business and draw up a list of at least 50 keywords for each. Check the popularity of each keyword and rank them in descending order.

2. Get your team together for the brainstorm (if you work on your own, ask some of your current customers or friends familiar with your business to help). Tell the team that their task is to build lists of important issues in each of your market segments.

• What are customers looking for?

• What problems do they encounter?

• What benefits do your products bring?

• What is making news in the sector?

• What new trends are emerging?

• What will the future be like?

And so on.

Generate lists for each of your target segments, then rank them in whatever terms you like. That might be on their importance, on the level of difficulty in addressing them, or matching your company abilities or priorities.

3. This is where the fun can really start. Get your team to consider first the list of keywords, then the list of issues for each sector, and then match them to create an idea for an article, a report or any other type of content. For example, a bank might pick 'business credit card' as an important keyword, and they might realize that many small businesses are drowning in a sea of paperwork - an important issue in their marketplace. They could then write content around the fact that their business credit card statements give small businesses an easy way to track all their expenses.

So matching the keyword and the important issue gives them an article idea, 'Business credit card eases small business paperwork'. This by definition is both search engine friendly and focused on an important issue.

Using keyword research in this way will give you many content pieces to publish on your website - you'll never be short of an idea again.