Archive for May 23rd, 2011


Keyword Awareness: An SEO Lifestyle Choice

Keyword Awareness has been our hobby-horse for over 10 years now. Pretty much any conversation we have on the topic of SEO will contain that magic phrase at least once, and possibly more than twice. Why?

Because keyword awareness is the key to long-term search engine success, that’s why.

A lot of search marketeers approach keywording in a mechanical, goal-oriented, habitualized pattern:

  1. Take content written by marketing department
  2. Select 3 or 4 phrases that seem to reflect the main theme
  3. Plug them into Google AdWords Keyword Tool
  4. Pull out the 5 variations with the most potential traffic
  5. Jam them into the original content’s title tag, <h1> tag, and 3 times into the text, once with bold tags around it.

Which is fine, and usually works pretty well when combined with a link strategy. But it’s really not the right way.

Thinking of keywords as little magic incantations that you sprinkle across the surface of content will cause you trouble. One, your content will read like it’s been edited by monkey (and nobody wants that). Two, it’s a total waste of time and resources to write something once, then go back and try to fit square keywords into round content holes.

When you could work with keywords and content in more natural, synergistic way. You could simply be aware of the damn things from the beginning.

  • When a website is first planned, whoever writes the functional specifications should have at least one keyword (preferably with a high-traffic potential) in mind. What is this business really about? Is it about the share price and how it relates to the CEO’s bonus? Or is it about custom cowboy boots? That will be your business’s primary keyword.
  • When the business is named—and the domain name is purchased—the person responsible should have that keyword firmly in mind.
  • Before MarCom begins writing the first paragraph of promotional material, whether it be business plan, investment prospectus, or staffing ads on Craigslist, the should run that primary keyword through the AdWords Keyword Tool, and pull from that a list of all the keyword phrases that actually fit the business model and mission. Then they should sort that list by the phrases’ potential traffic. Then they should tape a that list to the side of their monitors, and refer to it every now and then as they write. All the while, they must remember: they are not writing about the keywords, they are simply being aware of them.
  • When the web development team starts building a website architecture—the list.
  • When the web design team gets the site diagram and starts to work—the list.
  • When the site is all laid out and the content creation begins—yeah, you got it. THE FREAKIN’ LIST.
  • And link development, and future content development, and PR, and advertising, and HR, and Annual Corporate Reports, and marketing plans, and product launches, and on an on ad infinitum.

If everybody on the team is fully keyword aware, every step of the way, you will never need to hire me. Because a business based on keywords from the start will rule.