Get Off the Dreaded SEO Plateau: Keywords to Pursue When You Think You’re Tapped Out

What do you do when your SEO has plateaud? When you think you’ve done everything you’re supposed to be doing, but your results have stagnated. You’ve targeted all of the keywords you can think of so far and you’re about to tap out.

But wait, there’s more.

If you’re already at the point of your SEO marketing sophistication spectrum where your keywords are informing your editorial calendar, then kudos to you. I’m guessing then you put your keyword calendar together based on one, or a combination of the following activities:

  • asking your prospects and customers what they would search on to find you (great idea)
  • guessing at what words you think your target market is using (not bad for newbies)
  • turning to trusty Google’s auto-complete and “searched related to” for quick and dirty keyword research (trusty Google)
  • using the same words your competitors keep using and blogging around (there’s nothing wrong with a little competitive spying and not reinventing the wheel, but this is not recommended as your sole strategy; and if this is your sole strategy we need to talk)

But finally, there comes a day when you have to do keyword research. Real keyword research with a real keyword research tool. So that you’re basing your SEO efforts on real live data, that will then inform your other marketing channels and content strategy.

To get your keyword juices flowing, here are 6 types of keyword families you should be addressing in your SEO plan and certainly your keyword-driven editorial calendar:

1) Brand Keywords:

When some think of SEO, some think of making sure their brand is more discoverable online. That’s half correct. Why it’s incorrect is because to me, that sentence implies you’re doing SEO based on people who are already googling the name of your company or brand (which, BTW, is not organic SEO, that’s brand reputation.)

Examples: The Munn Group, The Munn Group SEO reviews

2) No-Brainer Keywords:

When others think about SEO, it means to them going after the keywords that perfectly describe what their business does (those keywords that reflect when someone knows what they’re looking for and they’re trying to simply shortlist companies that offer what you do)

Examples: SEO Consultant, SEO specialist Atlanta

3) Educational/Research Keywords:

Then, there are keywords you want to pursue that indicate your target market is doing their due diligence and research around the services/products/solutions you offer that you absolutely want to pursue with blog posts and other top of the funnel educational content.

Examples: how to choose an SEO consultant; or, how much do SEO agencies charge

4) Imperfectly Perfect Keywords: (aka “What They Want to Call You” or “I don’t care what you call me as long as you call me” Keywords)

Here we have keywords that indicate your target market doesn’t know what to call you. These are terms they would use, but you would never use yourself and you may even recoil in horror when you hear them. But keep in mind: prospects are coming from their awareness and education level, their perspectives of your industry, and what they call you, not what you call yourself. However, once you get them to your site, you can then educate and convert them.

Examples: cheap SEO agency, how do I learn SEO, affordable marketing channels

5) Parallel searches

Then, there are searches that don’t include your perfect keyword, but that your topic matter addresses in parallel. These are topics that, while not exactly perfectly descriptive of what you do, are so parallel in nature to your business that you can write content and explain how your topic intersects with the parallel topic. You should make sure to optimize for their keyword, as well as meet the intent of the search, while also introducing and touching on your topic.

Examples: content discovery activities, how to get leads from social media, tactics to get more top of the funnel leads, google analytics for digital marketers

6) Competitive/alternative searches

The thing is, if your perfect target market isn’t searching for you directly, or if you are in a progressive market, you need to pay heed to this. If they’re not currently buying from you, then who are they buying from? Or, what is the alternative they’re currently using/doing to address their needs, challenges, and issues that your product or service solves? Maybe the other solution is inferior; maybe it’s higher priced; maybe yours is more technologically advanced…at this point it doesn’t matter. Identify what those “competitive” solutions are and create content around those other solutions vs yours. And here’s the other critically important factor: if your target market is not actively turning online to Google around their pain points and what’s keeping them up at night; or why beating their heads against their cubicle wall in frustration and then turning to Google for questions and help, then SEO may not be the right channel. And that’s ok. Organic SEO success requires active search by your market.

Examples: how to reduce PPC spend, benefits of PPC, how to get more results from marketing automation

Now: are your juices flowing? Happy keyword researching and content creating!

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Jenny Munn

Jenny is an independent Digital Marketer and SEO Consultant with more than 10 years of experience helping companies and content creators generate brand awareness, traffic, and conversions with SEO. She is a frequent speaker and is on the faculty for the AMA (American Marketing Association) and has taught SEO to thousands of marketers over the past 10 years.
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