Keyword Planning is one of those terms that you hear thrown about by Digital Marketers. What is it though and why is it so important to digital marketing? We’re glad you asked and hope to give you a little bit more understanding about what it is.
Let’s address the first part of the phrase. A keyword in it’s most basic form is the subject that a webpage is about. So, you could say that the keyword for this page is ‘keyword planning’. If I was talking about mugs then the keyword for the page could be ‘mugs’. Think of the keyword as an entry into an index page in a book. When people search we are trying to match the keywords on our page to their search.
The helpful lot over at Wikipedia define Keyword Planning as ‘A practice used to find and research actual search terms people enter into the search engines when conducting a search.’
That is a pretty basic explanation of what it is. But there’s so much more to it than that. Looking just to historic trends is no good, we don’t want to just find out what people are searching for. Planning allows us to anticipate the search terms that people will use when we are building our website. When new trends in search come in (such as the growing trend of voice activated searches) we must ensure we keep our pages up to date and able to still meet the demands of those searching.
Keyword Planning can be as formal or informal as you like. It could take the form of a prepared document, or it could be planned entirely in your head. At 156Digital we always like to work on a spreadsheet so we can go back and review our planning when needed. It also ensures that there is no overlap of where keywords might be assigned to multiple pages. This can cause problems in that your pages effectively start to compete against each other in the
Let’s take a look at an example to see how we might go about working out a Keyword Plan. In our example Billy has just opened his business Mugs4U.xyz and has asked us to develop a keyword plan for his new website. This is the original plan that Billy came up with.
Billy has quite a small website, but offers a range of mugs on his website. Each of these ranges are organised by page. Billy has used Keyword Planner to inform his search and give actual numbers. We can see the average number of monthly searches that take place for each keyword. Of note is that some of the search terms have quite low numbers of searches a month. We can also see that Christmas Mugs is a very popular search term around Christmas, so we perhaps shouldn’t be too concerned when it’s not getting much traffic in May. This trend has been clearly identified in the notes.
Billy is unhappy with the amount of traffic generated by the website though and would like us to develop his site to generate more traffic. Our updated keyword plan (which then goes on to inform site architecture) is shown below:
As you can see from the highlighted cells we have suggested a number of changes to the keywords the pages serve. The homepage would now target the search term ‘coffee mugs’ which gets far more searches per month than ‘buy mugs online.’ The second alteration that we recommended was to slightly broaden the search term for blue cups and merge the two pages together. There is a danger sometimes of creating pages that are too specific due to the expert knowledge we ourselves may have. The ideal practice is to think like a consumer and what they are likely to search for. The estimated scope for traffic improvement is massive by carrying out this simple research.
So, what are the drawbacks of Keyword Planning? Just because you adapt your page to meet a new keyword doesn’t mean that you are automatically going to draw more traffic. Clearly, more companies will be targeting the keywords that work best, so you may be facing a drop in the Google rankings. Also, just because we want a page to rank for one keyword doesn’t mean it will. Search Engines can be odd things at times and will rank your page for a totally irrelevant term while ignoring the phrase you want!
156Digital can offer Keyword Research Services as part of their SEO Services package. If you’d like to get your site in a more organised fashion, increasing the traffic that comes to your website, or just getting higher in the Google Rankings then we can help you. Just get in touch using our contact form.