I had the privilege of speaking at Inbound Marketing Day in Milwaukee, Wis. last week. The inaugural event was hosted by Savvy Panda — an inbound marketing, SEO and web design agency — and BMA Milwaukee.
I got the nod shortly before the event date and began diving into a presentation on keyword research and conversion marketing. No other presenters were slotted to address SEO, so I began dedicating slide after slide to it. Then Panda 4.0 rolled out. Shakes fist at Google.
While I was forced to rework my presentation, I had the opportunity to discuss the recent algorithm update. Below, you'll find that and nine other highlights from my presentation.
1. Keyword Research
I recited this quote from Rand Fishkin before diving into keyword research. Why is this process crucial for marketing? Because keyword research is foundational!
You can find the keywords bringing traffic to your site and that of your competitors. Diving a little deeper, you could stumble upon seasonal keywords or a trend that works well for your competitor that could also work for you. If a competitor is ranking and paying for a keyword over and over again, it’s not coincidence — that keyword converts.
2. Keywords Are Not Dead
I included a slide from my colleague David Black's webinar earlier in the year. SEO and keywords are not dead, but the game is certainly changing.
In this particular webcast, David talks about focusing on an "entire concept" and "thematic keyword groups" instead of a singular keyword. You can view "Don't Believe the Hype: Keywords Are Not Dead" on the SEMrush Webinars page on our website.
3. Keywords: Targeting the Right Ones
Beth Morgan of Marketing Nerdistry wrote a great piece for KISSmetrics titled, "How to do Keyword Research the Smart Way: Targeting Interest and Intent." In my presentation, I included Beth's infographic and her six categories in "keyword brainstorming":
- Brand terms - Customers looking for these terms know your brand and are relatively easy to convert
- Product terms - Customers are educating themselves on what they want to buy, and might find your product
- Competitor terms - Customers who know the market, but might be convinced to check out your brand
- Substitute product terms - Customers who want something similar to what you sell, but might consider your brand
- Complementary product terms - Customers looking for something that goes along with your brand
- Audience terms - Words customers might not be searching to find your product, but are associated with the audience you're targeting
Jumping off the previous slide, keywords aren't dead; search is just evolving.
4. Phrase Match Report
On this slide, I demonstrated SEMrush's Phrase Match Report. I began with "sandals" and searched through to "cheap birkenstock sandals for women."
Keywords can tell you a lot about the intent of a searcher. Take “sandals” versus “cheap Birkenstock sandals for women” – one suggests browsing, while the other suggests intent to buy.
5. Beware of Obstacles to Findability
Long or difficult-to-spell name? Ambiguous product or brand name? Using an acronym? All of these things can hinder users' abilities to find you on the web.
Companies like Banana Republic bid on misspelled versions of their brand name to accommodate bad spellers and sloppy types. (Side note: I'm not the only one who remembers/still loves Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl," right?)
6. Keywords that Suggest Intent to Buy
Searchers who query "coupon" and other "buy now" keywords are looking to make a purchase ASAP.
7. Panda 4.0
I couldn't ignore the big 'ol Panda in the room. Matt Cutts' announcement was exactly two weeks old on the day of the event.
I went over industry round-ups on what was going on with Panda 4.0, including our own by Michael Stricker on the SEMrush blog. One of the biggest takeaways?
Moving on from keyword research, I delved into the marketing aspect of the presentation. I included some reminders for successful checkout pages. Customers — and Google — are increasingly looking for secure checkout and legitimate-looking webpages.
9. Call to Action
My presentation wound down with a two-part post we featured on calls-to-action. Alicia Lawrence of Webpage FX wrote "How to Persuade Customers to Follow the Call to Action (Part 1)" and "How to Persuade Customers to Follow the Call to Action (Part 2)," which I featured in my slides. One way to increase a purchase? Make the choice easy and safe.
10. KISS (or, Keep it Simple, Stupid!)
Burrowing from one of Alicia's 10 CTA points, I threw out a reminder to keep the whole process streamlined. One tweeter in particular appreciated that tidbit:
Did I miss anything important concerning keywords and inbound marketing? Let me know in the comments!
For more information on Inbound Marketing Day or to check out other speakers on the main roster — Dan Zarrella from Hubspot, Oli Gardner from Unbounce, Luke Summerfield from Savvy Panda, Ezra Fishman from Wistia, and Andrea Tarrell and Chad Tisonik of HNi Risk — here is an event recap.