Skip to main content

How To Create a Keyword Strategy For Your Content Calendar

Good content ages like a fine wine.

So – you’ve created the content that will engage your audience. You’ve shared it on your social media and tagged any relevant companies. And after two days… it fell off the face of the world. How do you keep that piece of content alive for longer than a few hours on social media? 

Through stimulating organic engagement. This organic visibility (in many cases) ages like a fine wine. Good pieces of content can have a featured snippet or position 1 ranking for years, while other forms of promotion lasts only minutes. You first and foremost build organic visibility by creating high-quality content that is relevant to your audience. But even great content can be easily overlooked – that’s where a targeted keyword strategy comes in to play.

Without a solid keyword strategy, spending hours on content can feel a bit directionless. If you understand the optimal strategy for each piece of content, you can create a trackable process and set specific goals for each content effort you spend time on. This effort isn’t just about finding where you want to rank, it’s about improving your overall content. Creating a thoughtful keyword strategy helps you understand where you sit against your competitors for specific topics, and how you can set yourself apart with your content style and quality.

How To Create a Keyword Strategy For Your Content Calendar:

  1. Conduct customer research to establish topics for keyword strategy
  2. Decide on the goals for each piece of content
  3. Plan out an architecture or topic clusters
  4. Use your architecture and topic clusters to prioritize your keywords
  5. Optimize your blogs with the keyword strategy in mind

Conduct customer research establish topics for keyword strategy 

Spending time on a keyword strategy isn’t worth it if you aren’t planning on creating content your audience wants to see. So, understanding your audience and their needs should be at the forefront of every marketing effort you take on.

This practice makes sure you always prioritize the human value of a blog over the SEO value of a blog. Having a blog that prioritizes humans over robots is one of the most important tasks you can accomplish to maximize a blog’s rank-ability. Talk about some gorgeous multi-tasking!

In short, to understand your most productive keyword strategy means understanding who you’re writing or creating for. Leverage topics they find interesting or helpful or provide solutions for specific audience pain points.

For example: Say you have a company in the activities and tourism industry. Your audience would be people planning birthdays, HR reps planning company team-building experiences, young women planning bachelorette parties… the list goes on. The main pain point of these audience segments is the need for a fun activity in a specific area. Your content should touch on how your activity is the perfect choice for each of those situations.

Decide on your content conversion goals 

Choosing specific goals for your content strategy can affect the specific focus keywords you choose to prioritize. Are you trying to increase contact form conversions? Send individuals to specific product pages? Boost local awareness of your company? There are tons of useful goals that complement content strategy. It may be easy to say your goal is to rank above a competitor on a specific query, but that thought process can pigeonhole your strategy and tempt you to focus on goals that aren’t necessarily connected to the improvement of your brand. it can be more helpful and actionable to focus on the ‘why.’ Why do you want to rank for this topic or key phrase? There should be a better reason than just pride.

For Example: Let’s go back to your awesome company in the tourism and activity industry. If the goal of one post is to boost local awareness for your activity, you would prioritize key phrases that include locational terms like “Best Activity in San Diego”. If you are trying to establish industry knowledge and expertise, you could focus on “How to” and “5 ways to” key phrases.  

Plan out an architecture of topic clusters 

Now that you understand the content topics and the goals surrounding each topic, it’s time to connect some dots. Each post you write should be supporting or supported by other pieces of content. This structural strategy is called a topic cluster. 

Topic clusters are made of one pillar blog, and multiple cluster blogs related to the main pillar blog. There is always a dance between step 3 and step 4: the two complement each other, the more you fuse the two steps, the better optimized and targeted your content will be.  

Cool Tip: When I start planning out my topic clusters, I draw out a web graph of all the potential blog categories and corresponding topics. This helps me visualize the strategy I want to create before I make a keyword strategy excel sheet. I like to establish my pillar blogs based on my overall content goals. Then once I have my pillar blogs, I start creating the smaller, more niche blogs to support and link to my pillar blogs. There you have it – that is a topic cluster!

Use your architecture and topic clusters to prioritize your keywords 

Now that you have the goal-oriented content that will engage your audience, it’s time to start thinking about a specific keyword strategy for each post. You can use third party keyword platforms to help plan out, organize, and track your keyword strategy. Think about choosing between ‘boat rides in San Diego’, ‘San Diego boat rides’, and ‘boat rides SD’. They all sound natural, but keyword research platforms can help identify which version is searched the most, and therefore, the keyword you want to focus on.

Paid subscriptions, like Moz, are great for taking a deep dive into keyword strategy. If you just want to understand the surface-level search volume for certain keywords, Google tools like Search Console, Trends, and Google Ads can give you that info.

First, decide on the main focus keyword for your pillar blogs. The keyword strategy for your pillar blogs will come into play for the entire topic cluster.  Refer back to your content strategy goals, customer personas, and keyword research platforms to establish the best possible focus keywords for each pillar article. Once you have a focus keyword, establish related keyphrases that support the focus keyword.

Then, find an intersection between holistically related topics and long-tail keywords for the supporting topic cluster blogs. This means using both your common sense and customer knowledge to decide on niche topics while using your keyword research platforms to find queries and questions you haven’t considered yet. 

Optimize your blogs with the keyword strategy in mind 

Ok – we now have our quality, goal-oriented content strategy and the keywords we want to leverage. Now, it’s time to implement. Here are a few tips on how to implement keyword strategy without going overboard:

  • Don’t keyword-stuff. There is no need to overuse your keyword strategy in your posts. If your keyword is truly connected to your blog topic, chances are the natural amount of keyword drops is the right amount of keyword drops!
  • Use a hyperlink strategy. With your cluster blogs, include the focus keyword once, and hyperlink it to the pillar blog. This further sets the pillar blog up for moving up in the rankings!
  • Include your focus keyword in the meta tag. This is one of the best ways to optimize a keyword because it is the first thing Google bots read when crawling content.

Ready to handle the monster that is a keyword strategy? Reach out to our team to optimize your content!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *