How to Pick Keywords That Actually Matter

You already know the basics, but what really matters when it comes to keyword research? Find out how to pick the RIGHT ones.

Ok, so this isn’t going to be a typical post about keyword research that you’ve seen a thousand times.

If you are reading this, you have almost definitely seen every video from Ahrefs and Neil Patel that, legitimately to a certain degree, do a good job of covering keyword research basics.

So you know about things like:

  • Finding terms with good volume and low difficulty.
  • Targeting long-tail vs. short-tail keywords when you are just getting started
  • Understanding how to build secondary terms 
  • Even forecasting the value of each term based on the CPC value vs. traffic potential

You probably already know even more advanced things like:

  • How to evaluate a SERP to make sure the intent of the searcher and the purpose of the page align
  • Looking at whether or not the term is trending up or down over time to project volume in the future

You may already be such a keyword master that you can build an awesome algorithm (like my friend Skyler Reeves) that can analyze, prioritize, and create an awesome content strategy in minutes that will drive some serious revenue for your business or clients.

But none of that matters in the end if you don’t put in the work BEFORE the keyword process even begins.

And what I mean by that is you absolutely must get alignment with the key stakeholders about what truly matters to their business, both from a revenue perspective and a subjective prioritization perspective.

The only way to do this is to dive deep into the business strategy and metrics to find out where they want the focus of their audience to land.

The first step to do this is to find out how they make their money now. Break out each and every revenue stream, product by product, service by service, and most of the time, you find that it’s clear that just a few of their offerings are driving a large portion of the revenue. 

So that term that’s ranking number 18  that has 10,000 monthly searches may not look so appealing when they tell you that the product is a loser - and they plan to discontinue it next year.

The second step is to find out what they WANT to be driving the most revenue in the future. 

Maybe a retail company’s new Hoodie line isn’t generating any revenue now, but they could have big plans for it next year - and be willing to invest in a long-term strategy to get the collection off the ground organically.

Now, there are exceptions. Maybe the product is a loser because they can’t get enough eyes on it. 

This is the beauty of looking below the surface of the business. 

Imagine if you could optimize a single page and shift the strategic direction of a business… that is good SEO right there. 

But maybe the product just isn’t good enough, or it has low margins, or they just don’t like it! These are the things you need to find out before you come running telling them to focus their efforts on a page they don’t care about.

Once you are crystal clear about the strategic direction your client wants to go, it will radically shift the way you look at their keyword strategy. Sometimes the best keywords are not the “best” keywords from an outsider’s perspective. 

If you focus on transforming the client’s vision for growing their business into a reality, you will create a long-term relationship that will benefit everyone. And isn’t that the whole idea of business?

Richard Garvey

Seeing how even massive brands get content wrong, I saw an opportunity to make an impact. I am obsessed with creating the best content possible, and take on every client's business like it was my own.