2024 SEO Insights: Crafting the Perfect Keyword Strategy
Marketing & Advertising

2024 SEO Insights: Crafting the Perfect Keyword Strategy

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When it comes to websites, success must be measured by the number of visits and conversions you receive on a month-to-month basis. To consistently increase this number, you can’t just rely on advertising to drive new visitors. You need organic traffic filled with people who are actively interested in what you have to offer. SEO and keyword strategy are key components of this.

In this practical guide, we explain how to create the perfect keyword strategy for your business. 

What Is a Good Keyword Strategy?

The term keyword strategy refers to a plan that specifies the different search queries for which your website should rank. It outlines the different actions you will take to achieve this, and prioritizes keywords based on competition and relevance.

Please note that it’s imperative that you conduct keyword research before you begin designing your keyword strategy. This means using specific tools to understand how difficult it is to rank for different search queries based on how much traffic they get, and how brands and websites use them in their content strategies.

Keyword search and strategy have been around for a while. But with the fast pace of technology, the field has evolved and it’s your job to keep up and use it to your advantage. 

Here’s a quick recap of 3 key trends that will influence keyword strategies in 2024:

  1. Harnessing the power of AI without overusing it. Content creators can greatly benefit from artificial intelligence to quickly create content for their sites. But they should be careful and not lose sight of the bigger picture. Your content should always revolve around your customers’ needs and be filled with creativity and insight. And you don’t want to have a site filled with the same content everyone else has.
  2. Differentiate yourself with first-hand experience. Use every piece of content as an opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition by sharing what you know and have experienced. Add data points, opinions, thoughts, and your personal touch. This will help your readers feel connected and trust your brand.
  3. Have real authors on your blog and website. This will help you stand out from sites that are based solely on AI-generated content. Plus, it helps build trust among your readers and authority on search engines.

In short, the 2024 keyword strategy trend revolves around balancing AI and providing unique and value-driven content.

When we talk about keyword strategy, it’s imperative that you have a clear understanding of three main concepts: focus keywords, long tail keywords, and short tail keywords. They will be the foundation of all your content and website optimization efforts and will play a key role in getting your brand ranked on Google and other search engines.

Focus Keywords: Foundation of Your Strategy

A focus keyword is the main word or phrase for which you want your content to rank on search engine results pages. By strategically including them in your content, you increase your chances of appearing in search results and attracting more organic traffic. 

A focus keyword is the main word or phrase for which you want your content to rank on search engine results pages.

To choose one, you’ll need to do some keyword research. Narrow your list to those that are relevant to your content, have good search volume (enough people searching for them) and low competition (not too many other sites targeting the same term). 

This usually means a phrase of 3 to 7 words that people with a clear idea of what they are looking for use on Google. 

Long Tail Keywords vs Short Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords are two types of search queries used in SEO that need to be included in your next keyword strategy. Understanding the differences between them is critical to developing an effective SEO strategy.

Long tail keywords are less popular search terms that consist of 3 or more words. It’s usually easier to rank for them because not many brands use them in their content. But to achieve your marketing goals, you need to rank for many long-tail keywords. While these types of queries will drive less traffic to your site, those visitors will have a higher chance of converting. 

Long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords are two types of search queries used in SEO that need to be included in your next keyword strategy.

Short-tail keywords cover a broad topic and usually consist of 1 or 2 generic words. The fact that they get more traffic doesn’t necessarily mean it’s qualified traffic for your business. It’s usually harder to rank for these types of queries because there are more businesses and content creators using them in their strategies.

We highly recommend that you work with a balance between these two types of keywords. There are certain places on your site where you need to optimize around a short tail term because it attracts more visitors and presents them with information around a specific topic. But there are other situations, such as blog posts or ads, where it’s better to work around a longer keyword because it brings in more targeted traffic with a higher chance of conversion.

To find the right balance between search and competition, always try to work with keywords that have

  • At least 100 searches per month.
  • Keyword difficulty less than 70

How To Search for Keywords? Keyword Research Tools for 2024

An important step in your SEO success is keyword search. To do this, you need to rely on tools (free or paid) that help you understand search volume, relevance, and competition for each search query. This information will help you decide which words to rank for and how to prioritize them.

At Sortlist, we’ve tested several keyword research tools, so here’s a quick summary of those we think will help you find and analyze keywords in an easy and insightful way.

Free Keyword Research Tools

  1. Google Keyword Planner: helps you find keywords for your Google Ad campaigns and discover new relevant keywords related to your business or brand. It shows you the estimated search volume data and the average cost of targeting each keyword.
  2. Google Search Console: While not originally designed for keyword research purposes, it has a number of features that can help you understand which keywords are driving more traffic to your site and use this information to plan your next content pieces and optimization efforts.
  3. Google Trends: Its data comes from a representative sample of actual Google search data and allows you to see search trends filtered by time, location, search type, and category (business, entertainment, health, science and technology, sports, top stories, and more). 

Paid Keyword Research Tools

As for paid tools, we suggest you take a look at Ahrefs, KWFinder, Keywords Everywhere, and SpyFu.

Keyword Research Tools for 2024

But before you choose one, please consider the following:

  • Budget: Look at the monthly cost and see if it’s within your budget.
  • Keyword database size: How big and updated is the keyword database for this tool.
  • Keyword difficulty: See if the tool provides metrics on this particular parameter.
  • Keyword suggestion and variation: This is a must-have feature, it’s designed to generate keyword suggestions based on your input, topics and competitors.
  • Tracking and analysis: Make sure the tool you choose provides real-time analytics.
  • Integrations: It’s imperative that your keyword research tool integrates and runs smoothly.
  • Easy-to-use software and dashboard: Finally, you want your team to quickly learn how to use the system and not waste time trying to understand the different features. Look for an option with excellent user reviews.

How to Create a Keyword Strategy

Let’s take a look at the different steps you need to take to create a keyword strategy that will help you get the most out of your SEO efforts and achieve your marketing goals (increase conversions, improve ROAS, increase revenue).

Define the Goal of your Keyword SEO Strategy

The first step, as with any marketing effort, is to determine what your goals are. What you want to achieve with this strategy. Make sure it’s aligned with your overall business strategy.

For example, if your goal is to increase conversions on your website, then your strategy should revolve around using transactional keywords. On the other hand, if your goal is to have your site rank among the first results in the SERPs, then your strategy must revolve around using low-competition or long-tail keywords.

Whatever you decide as your goal will be crucial to successfully completing the next steps.

Review and Analyze Current Keyword Rankings

Next, you’ll want to have a complete picture of where you stand in terms of keyword rankings and performance. To do this, we highly recommend that you use Google Search Console. This free tool will give you a complete panorama of your blog in terms of SEO. 

  1. Go to Google Search Content.
  2. Sign in to your account or create one if you don’t have one.
  3. Go to Performance and click New.
  4. Add the URL of the blog you want to analyze.
  5. Scroll down and look for queries.
  6. There you will find insights on the keywords in your content that are getting more impressions and clicks.
Review and Analyze Current Keyword Rankings

Understanding which keywords are bringing more people to your site and getting them to engage with your content is key to planning your next content pieces and optimization efforts.

To gather even more data, you should go to your Google Analytics account and:

  1. Click on Behavior.
  2. Select Site Content and All Pages.
  3. Pay close attention to the Pageviews and Bounce Rate columns. 

The content that performs best has a high number of pageviews and a low bounce rate. The content that has a high number of pageviews and a high bounce rate is the content you should prioritize for optimization. People are landing on this page but quickly leaving.

Review your Competitors’ Rankings

At the same time, it’s important to understand what your competitors are doing in terms of keywords and SEO. This will help you identify new content and optimization opportunities, replicate best practices, and achieve your ultimate goals.

You want to learn what keywords they are ranking for, if they are using long-tail keywords, their content formats, and any additional insights that will help you build your strategy.

Source: Semrush

Try using SEMrush’s Keyword Gap tool, it’s specifically designed to compare organic and paid keywords. 

  1. Go to the tool, enter your domain and up to four competitors.
  2. Select Organic Keywords.
  3. Click Compare.
  4. The Weak tab shows the keywords you rank lower than your competitors.
  5. The Missing tab gives you a list of keywords that your competitors are using and you aren’t.

Identify Keyword Opportunities and Grow your List

Competitive keyword analysis gives you a starting point for expanding your list of keywords. But there are other ways to look for new ideas.

Identify Keyword Opportunities and Grow your List
Source: Neil Patel

We have found Ubersuggest to be a great tool for this task. This tool gives you a list of keyword suggestions that include search volume, competition, and even seasonal trends. The list is generated from data about what’s working for your competitors and what people are searching for on Google.

Create Keyword Clusters

Use Google Keyword Planner to expand a list of keywords with related terms that people use to find relevant information on the web. Plus, it opens the doors to new, targeted, value-driven content.

To do this, simply

  1. Go to your Google Ads account.
  2. Go to Planning and click on Keyword Planner.
  3. Select the Discover New Keywords options.
  4. Enter a short list of 4 or 6 keywords related to your products or business. Don’t be too specific or too broad.
  5. Add your website URL and click Get Results.

The tool will automatically give you a list of ideas, including average monthly searches, competition, and more. You can also refine your list by excluding certain terms or expand it by adding new ones. 

To create the topic cluster, simply select those that have the same search intent and that you can use in the same blog post to increase your ranking and visibility.

Target SERP Features

A good keyword strategy must target both organic results in Google as well as SERP features. These are unique results on Google’s search results pages that are designed to provide relevant and useful information and enhance the user experience.

Target SERP Features

The most common are rich snippets, related questions, local packs, reviews and images. And it’s your job to optimize your content to rank and appear there. 

How do you do it? Simply pay attention to which keywords are being used in your current content. You can use tools like Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool. It has a special column that shows how that keyword is used in the SERP features.

Consider Search Intent

Keyword search intent is an important factor in determining what queries you use and when you use them. It refers to the goal a user has when performing a Google search. 

As a website owner or content creator, you need to master the art of search intent. On the contrary, if your content does not answer the questions and concerns of your visitors, it will never rank in the SERPs. 

There are 4 main types of search intent: 

  1. Informational: Users are looking for general information. For example, they would use a search query like “How to do SEO”.
  2. Navigational: Searchers are looking to get to a specific website or blog. Their searches are very specific: “Amazon login”.
  3. Commercial: Users are considering buying a product or service and are looking for more information. They would type something like “best lenovo laptop for college students.
  4. Transactional: Searchers are ready to make a purchase or complete an action. They would search for something like “best sushi restaurants near me.

There are keyword research tools that include information about the user’s search intent for each query. This makes it much easier for you to understand how to include that term in your website content. If the service you subscribe to does not include it, then you should manually check the top results in the SERPs for that query.

Plan and Prioritize Content

At this point, you should have a clear understanding of which keywords to use on your website. Now it’s time to write down how you’re going to use them. 

Plan and Prioritize Content

We highly recommend that you work with a content calendar where you state

  • The keyword you will use.
  • Keyword volume and keyword difficulty.
  • The title of your content piece.
  • Type of content: blog post, ebook, case study, video, etc.
  • Status: To create, to optimize, published.
  • The author.
  • Publication date.
  • Length.
  • Internal link. 

Don’t forget to add to this document those pieces of content that already exist but need to be optimized.

Optimize your Website and Landing Pages

Your keyword strategy needs to go beyond just publishing blog posts, it needs to include updating and optimizing the various pages and landing pages that make up your website. Ultimately, it is the overall site experience that determines whether or not your content ranks highly in search engine results pages.

Take a look at your keyword research and search intent, and start optimizing your entire site based on your findings. Prioritize the pages that get the most traffic and have the highest bounce rate. 

Monitor and Track the Performance of your Keyword Strategy

Finally, you need to make sure that your team is constantly tracking their work and monitoring the results. This is the only way you will know if your keyword research and optimization strategy are actually working or if you need to make some changes.

There are many different ways to track and analyze a keyword strategy, but these KPIs give you a good starting point.

Conversions

You can set this up in Google Analytics. Go to Admin, click Events, and select the events you want to track on your site.

Monitor and Track the Performance of your Keyword Strategy
Source: Google

Cost per Acquisition

Measures the cost of acquiring a new conversion. You can calculate it using this formula: Total cost of your SEO efforts (content creation, SEO tools, etc.) / Conversions = CPA.

Measures the cost of acquiring a new conversion.

ROI

Helps you understand how much money you are making from your investment. To calculate it, you need to: subtract the initial cost of your investment from the total revenue you generated. Then divide that by the initial cost of the investment.

Organic Visibility

How visible your brand is in organic search results; the more visible, the higher the potential to reach your buyer personas. You can measure this KPI using the Impressions module in Google Search Console.

How visible your brand is in organic search results; the more visible, the higher the potential to reach your buyer personas.
Source: Ethan Lazuk

Organic Sessions

Refers to the number of organic visitors you receive. You can track this through the Performance report in Google Search Console.

Branded vs. Non-Branded Traffic

You’ll want to monitor how much traffic is coming from branded keywords and how much is not. The more you get from non-branded searches, the better the results of your SEO efforts. You can get this data from Google Analytics.

Keyword Rankings

One of the most important metrics because it allows you to see which keywords are driving traffic to your website. Most SEO software comes with these analytics included.

Backlinks

Refers to the links on other websites that refer traffic to your website. Be sure to check how many backlinks you are getting and how many domains are linking to yours. Tools like Ahrefs and Moz have great features for this.

Refers to the links on other websites that refer traffic to your website.
Source: Ahrefs

Organic Click-Through Rate

Percentage of people who click to your site after seeing your listing in Google’s SERPs. Google Search Console is the perfect place to get this data, you can find it under the performance report.

User Engagement

Data such as bounce rate, average time spent, session duration, pages per session allow you to understand how users spend their time while visiting your site. 

Conclusion

All of us who spend time, money and resources on a website expect to see results. To achieve this, we rely on more than just good design and user experience. We put all of our efforts into creating and optimizing content to meet the needs and expectations of our users. 

Keyword strategy is a big part of this process. It lays the foundation for what words we need to use to increase the chances of getting our content in front of the right people. 

While the process is filled with different steps (keyword research, utilizing SERP features, planning and creating content, optimizing pages and landing pages, etc.) you will start to see an increase in organic traffic, session length, engagement and of course revenue.

If you need help with this, don’t hesitate to contact one of our SEO partner agencies. Their teams are professionals with vast experience and are ready to help you succeed.

Key Takeaways: 2024 SEO Insights on Crafting the Perfect Keyword Strategy

  1. SEO and Keyword Strategy Importance:
    • Organic traffic is essential for attracting genuinely interested visitors.
    • A well-planned keyword strategy specifies actions to rank for search queries based on competition and relevance.
  2. 2024 Keyword Strategy Trends:
    • Balance AI Usage: Use AI for content creation while ensuring content is customer-focused and original.
    • Differentiate with Personal Experience: Share unique insights and experiences to build trust.
    • Leverage Real Authors: Use real authors to enhance credibility and SEO rankings.
  3. Keyword Types:
    • Focus Keywords: Main phrases for ranking; should be relevant with good search volume and low competition.
    • Long Tail Keywords: Specific, multi-word phrases that drive targeted traffic; easier to rank for.
    • Short Tail Keywords: Broad, generic terms; harder to rank for and may attract less qualified traffic.
  4. Keyword Research Tools:
    • Free: Google Keyword Planner, Google Search Console, Google Trends.
    • Paid: Ahrefs, KWFinder, Keywords Everywhere, SpyFu.
  5. Creating a Keyword Strategy:
    • Define Goals: Align your strategy with business objectives like increasing conversions.
    • Analyze Current Rankings: Use tools like Google Search Console.
    • Review Competitors: Use tools like SEMrush to understand competitors’ keywords.
    • Identify Opportunities: Use tools like Ubersuggest to expand your keyword list.
    • Create Keyword Clusters: Group related keywords for targeted content.
    • Target SERP Features: Optimize for rich snippets, related questions, and other features.
    • Consider Search Intent: Match keywords to user intent (informational, navigational, commercial, transactional).
  6. Content Planning and Optimization:
    • Plan and prioritize keywords using a content calendar.
    • Optimize existing pages and landing pages based on research.
  7. Monitoring and Tracking Performance:
    • Track KPIs such as conversions, CPA, ROI, organic visibility, sessions, keyword rankings, backlinks, and user engagement.
    • Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
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