The B2B SaaS Marketing Blog

    Whitepaper Wednesdays Week 3: The Marketer’s Guide to SEO

    Last updated: February 26th, 2014

    I remember when I first started learning about SEO. I started with some beginner guides, implemented some of their basic techniques and called it a day. The thing was, when I found out how much more there is to SEO, I got overwhelmed. The Marketer’s Guide to SEO hadn’t been written yet, which is too bad for me because it would have clearly laid out the next steps I should have followed.

    Fortunately for you though, if you know the basics of SEO and want to learn about any or all of the following without getting overwhelmed, The Marketer’s Guide to SEO is for you:

    • practical tips you can implement immediately to increase your traffic;
    • what you can do to improve your SEO strategy in the long run;
    • SEO trends a marketer couldn’t do without knowing;

    I’ll be covering chapter 1 of the guide here for you, which is on a topic of high interest for marketers: keywords.

    Guide to SEO - keyword research

    Source: Dave Pattern

    Understanding Keywords

    You know by now that keywords are the search terms people input in search engines to find answers to their questions or content they need. Keywords are hands down one of the most important aspects of SEO. So, let’s get right into it!

    General vs. Specific Keywords

    When you’re selecting keywords to target, you can either opt for general ones or specific ones. General keywords are phrases like “dog food” or “t-shirts.” General keyword phrases are often highly competitive (and therefore hard to rank for) and might attract the wrong kind of traffic for your business. For example, if you’re trying to bring in customers with the keyword “dog food” but you only sell organic dog food, you’ll bring in visitors who don’t care about feeding their dog organic good and aren’t interested in buying it from you. A general keyword like “dog food” would be more useful if you sold all kinds of dog food and wanted to make sure you brought everyone to your door.

    Specific keyword phrases are often called “long-tail keywords,” meaning they are in the long tail of the graph for search frequency. In other words, they generally contain three or more keywords, are therefore more specific and therefore get searched less often. How is that good, you say? Because people searching for specific keywords also have a higher conversion frequency rate. That’s how it’s good for you. Plus, if you’re running PPC campaigns, long-tail keywords usually cost less per click because there’s less competition.

    long-tail keywords

    Know vs. Do Searches

    It’s important to distinguish between know searches and do searches.

    Know searches are the ones we perform when we’re only seeking information.

    know searches

    Do searches are the transactional queries we make when we’re trying to carry out a specific action, like buying something or booking a flight.

    do searches

    For the most part, you’ll want to focus on “do search” keywords. That’s how you’ll target people who actually want to buy something.

    Types of Search

    Your keyword could be included in one of three types of searches: broad, phrase and exact.

    Broad: When the user merely types in words without putting quotation marks or brackets around any of the words, the search engine will return results that include all the words searched. The words can appear in any order and can be spread throughout the content.

    broad searches

    Phrase: If the user places quotation marks around the search terms, the results will contain all the words in the exact order specified and may include other words before or after the specified phrase.

    phrase searches

    Exact: If the user puts square brackets around the search terms, the results will contain only the searched words, in the specified order.

    exact searches

    Related: What to Expect from a B2B SaaS Content Promotion Program

    So which is most useful for you to target? Focus your efforts on phrase and exact searches, which are more specific and therefore more likely to attract the customers who know exactly what they’re looking for and are ready to convert.

    Tools for Keyword Research

    The first go-to tool for keyword research is the Keyword Planner in Google AdWords, which can be found under “Tools and Analysis.”

    use google adwords keyword planner for keyword research

    Next, click on “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas” to open a box where you will be able to get keyword ideas based on:

    • Your product or service: if you sell more than one type of product, you can enter each product type on a separate line to generate ideas based on each. These product types will be used as starting keywords;
    • Your landing page;
    • Your product category.

    So if you type in:

    search for new keyword and ad group ideas

    And then click on the “Keyword ideas” tab, you might get:

    keyword ideas in google keyword planner

     (click on the picture to make it bigger)

    In the top section, you’ll see the search terms (the product types) that you entered. In the right columns, Google will give you some data on the search terms, and below your original search terms you’ll see the suggested keywords along with some data on each, including how often they are searched per month and how competitive the terms are in pay per click advertising (which is  a good clue for organic search as well).

    On the left side of the screen, you’ll find the “Customise your search” section, where you will be able to further refine your keyword research. Under “Keyword filters,” you’ll be able to tell Google to only show keywords that get searched X number of times per month, while “Keyword options” will allow you to hide keywords you’ve previously found and added to your account.

    Other Keyword Research Tools

    Other great tools to use include:

    • Google Trends: tracks the popularity of keywords over time;
    • Ubersuggest: helps you find popular, related keyword variants by fetching the Google autofill results around the keyword phrase you enter;
    • Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool: estimates how difficult it will be to rank for a specified keyword by looking at what currently ranks, and provides other useful data as well.


    Now you know how to perform keyword research. Ready to tackle on the rest? Then check out The Marketer’s Guide to SEO for information on the following:

    • Chapter 1:  Understanding Keywords
    • Chapter 2: Mastering On-Page SEO
    • Chapter 3: Executing Off-Page SEO
    • Chapter 4: Link Building: The Right Way and Internal Link Building.

    What you should do now

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