5 Steps To Create An Effective Keyword Strategy (It’s More Than Keyword Research)

You’re looking for the best keyword strategy to write your content. 

Maybe you’ve even Googled: How to create a keyword marketing strategy.

You’re not alone. 

Many business owners are searching for ways to capture the attention of Google. They know and understand that keyword strategy is important now more than ever to rank higher in search engines. 

Did you know that most people are doing it wrong?

This guide will walk you through the best way to create a keyword strategy and will also help you learn how to better understand what your audience needs and wants.

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Why Many Companies Do Keyword Strategy WRONG

Chances are, you already know which keywords you want to use for your content. However, it’s not quite that simple.

Many businesses are doing it all wrong. 


They think that it’s all about keyword search. 

It’s not

They are missing having a strategy– a strategy that will take them from start to finish. A strategy that will help them get recognition from Google to rank higher while also meeting the needs of their audience. 

You don’t want to make the mistake that many businesses make.

You should be asking, “How can I use a keyword method strategy to get the best results?

The Difference Between Keyword Research And Strategy

Many people use the terms “keyword research” and “keyword strategy” interchangeably. 

Their “strategy” is to write content that is filled with as many keywords as they can from the keywords that generate when they research which ones have a high search volume.

Focusing on only the generated list of keywords is all wrong. 

Understanding the difference between the two and how to use them together will take your content from good–to better–to best.

Here at Portland SEO Growth (PSG), we do understand the difference. Our mission is to help you (no matter where you are in the U.S.) grow your digital presence and get results. 

Instead of spending frustrating hours, days, or even weeks doing keyword research and getting nowhere, we can help. Click to learn more.

What Is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is considered a core SEO task. It identifies popular keywords that people are entering into a search engine (like Google). These keywords can be a word, a phrase, or a question. 

Researching keywords will help you determine primary keywords as well as secondary keywords that you can use throughout your content.

Are you wondering how to do keyword research?

There are many sites and tools that can help you generate this list. 

Just remember…

They are not all created equal. You’ll need to determine which one might work best for your keyword research. There are many, many more than what we’ve listed below.

Some popular keyword search tools are:

Knowing what to do with these keywords is what will make a difference in how Google ranks your content

That’s where having a strategy comes in.

What Is Keyword Strategy?

We’ve established that simply searching and having a generated list of keywords isn’t enough. Gone are the days when you could write content filled with the keyword used as many times as you could. 

Even adding in the top-searched secondary keywords isn’t enough

You need to know how to use them. 

A strong keyword strategy will walk you through the creation of your content from start to finish.

Why is SEO Keyword Strategy Critical To Your Content Creation?

Having the right keyword strategy is key for your SEO content. 

The ultimate goal is to drive the right traffic to your site and get them to take action–whatever action you want them to take.

This can only happen if people searching can find your content.

That’s up to Google, but you can make Google listen.

Google uses algorithms, such as PageRank, to determine where you get to live on the ranking totem pole. 

It’s up to you to figure out what they’re looking for. BUT, there are tools and other resources that can help you along the way. 

Let’s check out some ways to ensure that Google can hear you loud and clear.

5 Steps To Create An Effective Keyword Strategy

Ready to learn how to build a keyword strategy for your business? 

Wanting to know how to create a keyword strategy for SEO, specifically? 

Writing content that Google likes while keeping the readers happy can be a juggling act. If your keyword strategy is solid, you’ll be able to keep all the balls in your hands.

Let’s begin with 5 basic steps:

  1. Know your audience 
  2. Keyword research
  3. Size up the competition
  4. Check yourself (before you wreck yourself)
  5. Content calendar

Step 1: Know Your Target Audience

Yes, you want to drive traffic. Yes, you want to rank high.

But to do that, your content has to focus on THEM– the searcher, the reader, and if you play your cards right, the action taker. 

You need to spend time getting to know the target audience. 

Who are you creating content for? 


What do they want from the content? 

These are important questions to ask when you’re creating your keyword strategy. This is probably the most important step, even before you begin searching for keywords.

How They Search And How They Think

You can’t, or at least you shouldn’t begin searching for keywords and planning your content until you’ve gotten to know your audience better. 

What exactly are they searching for, and how are they searching for it?

What is going through their minds as they’re searching:

  • Ways to save energy
  • Local coffee
  • Botox dangerous
  • Teach daughter to drive
  • Know if it’s virus or disease
  • Help me poop

Knowing how your target audience uses search engines, particularly Google, gives you an advantage over your competition and helps you to better prioritize your keyword strategy. 

There are tools that can come in handy to help you get to know your audience better. 

A few are:

How They Are Talking About Their Problems

What’s the buzz?

People talk. People talk about their problems and needs online, freely, and with strangers. 

How can that help you? 

You can listen in on their conversations. Not in a stalker, creeper way, of course. 

To get to know your target audience better, you need to be in the know too. This is important for your keyword strategy. 

Sites such as these can assist you:

These sites can help you see how people are talking about a topic. You can then add this information to your keyword strategy to create content that they want to read.

What Questions They Have

Along with their online gossip, arguing, advising, sharing…you get it.

They have questions. They are wanting answers. 

While you are nosing your way into the hot gossip on Reddit, Quora, and YouTube, you can also pay attention to see what kinds of questions they are asking. 

What are they wanting to know about? What are they wanting to learn how to do?

What Language They Are Using

You know what the word on the cyber street is. You know the questions being asked. 

But it’s also important to speak their ever-evolving language. 

No, we don’t mean the language of love…or Polish…or Vietnamese.

The verbiage. The vernacular. The slang. 

How they are talking about the product or issue.

You should be paying attention to the words and wording that your target audience is using so that you can use this in your research and content creation. This is a big part of your keyword strategy.

Step 2: Do Keyword Research

You’ve got your audience figured out. The most important step is complete. 

Now it’s time to begin searching for the keywords you’ll use in your content. 

You’ll want to use a keyword research tool. We named a few, but you’ll need to choose the right one for your content needs. 

The right tool will help you figure out the primary and secondary keywords for the topic you’re writing about.

You’ll also use the keyword tool to:

  • See the volume and traffic for the keyword
    • Volume per month
  • Determine the potential ROI for the keyword
    • Return on investment (it’s potential)

Step 3: Check Out What The Competition Is Doing

You know who you want to target. You know the keywords that you want to use. 

Next, you want to see who is ranking in the spots where you want to rank

If you’re using a keyword tool, such as SEMrush, a list of top competitors will generate for you. You can also simply type the keyword into Google and check out the top 3-4 organic results. 

Things to consider from these sites:

  • Type of site
    • Authoritative, optimized for SEO, informative
  • Word count
  • Number of backlinks
    • More backlinks = more traffic
  • Their call to action 
    • What they want their readers to do (sign up, click a button, etc.)

Your goal is to create superior content compared to your competition. 

Step 4: Determine If You’re Ranking For The Keyword Already

Now you know who you’re targeting, what keywords to use, and how you need to beat the competition. 

Another thing to consider is whether or not you’re already ranking for the keyword. It’s possible, especially if you tend to write on the same or similar topics. 

If you target a keyword that you already rank for, you’re competing against yourself for rankings. 

You can use some of the same tools to help determine this. 

If you’re using SEMrush, you can simply put the URL of your content into the search, and you’ll be able to see your “top organic keywords.” It’ll share exactly where you’re ranking for that keyword.

Step 5: Create A Content Calendar

You’ve done the work. You’re ready to write. 

Wait, there’s more…

There’s one more step that’s important when creating a proven keyword strategy. 

If you’re ready to get strategic…

You should create a content calendar (or schedule) for creating and publishing the content. 

Your content calendar will serve as your marketing roadmap plan that tells you when specific pieces of content should be created and published. 

If you’re beginning to think that this all sounds like advanced keyword research strategies, well, you’re right. And it’s only the beginning steps.

That Is Just the Beginning...

Your targeted keyword strategy needs to be in place before you even begin the first piece of content. 

This process can be overwhelming for many, but without it – creating content to just fill a website would be a waste of your time.

If you’d like some help with your content calendar, or with any of the steps we’ve outlined, we’re here for you. It’s what we live for. We breathe in keywords, and we breathe out results-driven content. We even offer you a FREE SEO audit.

Client Case Study (Chiavaye): How Portland SEO Growth Created A Keyword Strategy For Major Traffic Boost

One of our many successful clients is a company called Chiavaye

Chiavaye went from averaging 20 organic visitors per month to having 4,250 organic visitors per month (as of April 2020). 

Projected organic visitors per month by the end of 2020 will be 10,000+ per month. 

All founded on the proper keyword strategy.