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Building A Keyword List for use In SEO Research

When you're planning your SEO strategy it's important to understand what words provide you the most financial value, and focus on those keywords first before thinking about content marketing terms.

It's common to see a Request for Proposal (RFQ) for SEO consulting that mostly includes keywords with the words coming out of your marketing plan and strategy.  Keywords like the market segment you're targeting, and industry terms used in your advertising. What I find normally missing are the most obvious phrases, the words customers use to describe your company does, and how you help people.

Before writing your SEO RFQ take an hour and think thru all the words customers use to buy what you are selling, think about how they describe what you deliver, your services, what the benefit is in using your product or service. It may seem obvious, but this is exactly how people are going to raise their hands in search engines to find what your products and services. 

Write down at least two phrases for each of these questions.  These phrases are your main keywords, and you should try to rank highly for each of them.  If you are struggling with coming up with 2 words, ask your receptionist, service desk, or in-house salesperson what are the most common questions they get when a new customer calls.

Then take another hour and expand on those 2 keywords by rewriting the phrases as many different ways as possible, using all their synonyms and abbreviations. 

Let me use the example of a bottled water delivery company that is looking to sell more bottled water by capturing more web visitors from search engine optimization using keywords for their products and services.

First Question: What are your products ( What do you sell?)?

  • 5 Gallon Water Bottles
  • Replacement Water Cooler Bottles

Expanding on this provides:

  • Water cooler bottles
  • 5 gallon cooler bottles
  • Replacement water cooler bottles
  • Water dispenser bottles
  • Refill water cooler bottles
  • Water cooler dispenser bottles

Second Question: What are your main services?

  • Home delivery of bottled water

Expanding on keyword this provides:

  • Home bottled water delivery
  • Water cooler bottle service
  • Office Water Cooler Service
  • Bottled water delivery
  • Home water bottle delivery
  • Water delivery service

Third Question: What are the benefits?

  • Save drinking water
  • Good tasting water
  • Maintain water cooler

Because this is a region service it would be good to provide keywords that describe where you deliver so include city names.

Bonus: When we join the keyword phrases and the locations we get a list like the one below:

  • Water bottle delivery in CT
  • CT water delivery
  • Hartford water bottle company
  • East Hartford water delivery
  • Connecticut water bottle delivery service
  • W. Hartford bottle water delivery
  • Etc.

A list like this provided as part of the request for proposal for an SEO contract provides us with a great starting point to understand what you do, research how people search for your products and services and get a sense of the competition.  A keyword expert would take this list and apply intent terms, example shop, buy, order, compare, etc.  

To wrap up - SEO is a marathon, it might take 4-6 months before you start to see results, so focus on the money terms first.  We as SEO companies and consultants want to develop long-term value for our clients, and so increasing your sales first helps fund addition SEO work, builds support for content gaps, and then you can develop customer journey maps as a way to research additional keywords and phrases that your customers use throughout their buying cycle.

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