FAQ Friday: Choosing the Right Keywords for Effective Keyword Planning


Your keyword strategy is one of the most important tasks for your business, because it helps generate awareness to your brand all through the power of SEO. Learn how to create and choose the right keywords from your audience and how to transform it into an effective keyword list in today’s FAQ Friday.


SEO is a marketing function for sure, but it needs to be baked into a product, not slapped on like icing after the cake is baked.—Duane Forrester

How do I create and segment keywords based on my audience?

Start by developing your buyer personas. Research your existing customer base to identify the most common pain points of your audience. You may have several different types of buyers with different types of pain points. Group those pain points and then create living profiles. Your profiles should consist of one a detailed description, including a name, job title, industry or company info, and demographic info. Be as thorough and accurate as you possibly can. Because the more defined your buyer personas are, the more targeted your keywords will be.

How do I identify my audience’s needs while representing those needs in my keywords?

In order to identify and break down specifically your audience’s needs, you have to ask the right questions. Start with these questions in order to help you get started:

  • What are the biggest problems they are trying to solve?
  • What do they need most?
  • What information are they typically searching for?
  • What trends are influencing their business or personal success?
  • How can I develop behavior based profiles and choose keywords that reflect and speak to those behaviors?
  • What do they do online?
  • Are they active on Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks?
  • What kind of search terms do they use?
  • What kind of information do they tend to consume online?
  • Which of your products do they spend the most time researching? How do they use those products?


We want to know what consumers are looking for, what their values are, and how can we meet their needs. It’s not just about Big Data; it’s about translating that into the truth.—Gayle Fuguitt

How do I create an effective keyword list?

Once you have established your buyer personas by thoroughly understanding what their needs are and how they can from your products or services, it is time to define your value proposition, and you can do that with the following questions:

  • What products or services make your business the most money?
  • How does your sales cycle work?
  • Who will be consuming this content?
  • How can you maximize your offerings to best suit your prospects or customers needs?

After you answer those questions, gather a list of search queries a website visitor might use to search for your products or services. Enter those keywords into the keyword tool of your choice, and review the report based on your chosen keywords.

Be sure your list is well balanced with short, medium and long tail marketing keywords. It is much easier to begin ranking with long tail keywords than it is to jump out of the gate on a short tail keyword. Taking on the ranking challenge for a short tail keyword may prove time-consuming, difficult, and depending on the competition, nearly impossible. It is best to stick with keywords that are more brand-specific and audience-targeted.

What does a keyword list review look like?

Once you have developed a preliminary list of keywords, you must review each of them. You can do this by creating a list of objectives for each keyword. Explore these questions that you may ask yourself during this process:

  • Does this keyword fit within the themes of my website?
  • What content should this keyword assist in producing?
  • How will I use this keyword within my content strategy?
  • From my buyer persona(s), how will this keyword satisfy them the most?

Essentially you want to complete a thorough plan of how each keyword will fit into your inbound marketing campaign strategy. You should determine what business goals it will most likely assist in achieving as well as how and when you will utilize each keyword within each stage of the buyer's journey.

By this time you should have removed keywords that are not a good fit, and hopefully thought of a few more that will work well with your planning.


Take a risk and keep testing, because what works today won’t work tomorrow, but what worked yesterday may work again.—Amrita Sahasrabudhe

Why should I compare my keywords to my competitor?

Competitive analysis is not a task that should become obsessive. It’s a process that should be completed any time your keyword strategy is adjusted. In fact, you can use a keyword planning tool in order to get insight into your competitors’ keywords.

For example, let’s jump into the HubSpot Keyword Planning Tool, and choose “Get Suggestions”.


hubspot keyword suggestions

Enter your competitor’s URL and click the "Get suggestions" button.

A screen will appear like the one below providing some of the top-ranked keywords on your competitor’s web page as well as monthly search volumes.


hubspot keyowrd settings and suggestions

This information can be used for many benchmarks, but today, we want to focus on your audience-targeted keyword strategy.

Ask some of these questions as you compare your competitors’ rankings to your own.

  • Are there any duplicates?
  • If so, does this really influence my business? Does this keyword pertain directly to their product or service and target market?
  • Are they truly the subject matter expert for that particular keyword?
  • Is the keyword more aligned with their value proposition or mine?
  • How much content do I have planned for this particular keyword in comparison to how much they have currently created and are ranked for?

You can find the answers to these questions based on the amount of web content your particular competitor has in comparison to the amount of content you have published, or are planning to publish for each keyword.

Another point to take note of is the frequency with which the competitor is producing content, and the quality standards they uphold. Are they using white glove SEO tactics? Do they understand what ranking is?

Keyword strategy, much like other tactics used in content marketing, strives for customer satisfaction. Keep customers happy by providing the exact search phrases to meet their information needs immediately. If you follow these steps and get to know your customers, your website, and your competitors, you will have developed a productive keyword strategy.

If you have questions you would like to see featured in our weekly FAQ Friday, please submit them in the comments below or mention us @DirectImages on Twitter.

Until next FAQ Friday, keep your communication lines open. Don’t know the answer—just ASK.

Subscribe to our BLOG

Stay in touch & learn how to attract customers, become a thought leader, create effective marketing campaigns, & more.


Buyer Personas For Business


You might also be interested in:

Deploy a Winning Keyword Strategy to Please Website Visitors & Boost SEO

FAQ Friday: Search Engine Optimization - The Art of Mastering SEO

Thought Hive: Mastering Your On Page SEO with Content Optimization

How a Business Blog Can Boost a Startup’s SEO Performance


Topics: Marketing, SEO, Hubspot Tips, Inbound Marketing

Direct Images Interactive is an inbound marketing agency specializing in high-impact video production and online graphic design. We are centrally located between Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose. Come see us at The Gate in San Leandro, a thriving tech-hub of innovators. What can we do for you?

Learn more   How do you launch & measure a remarkable inbound marketing campaign? Get the tools you need.  Download tool kit.
Contact us  Share your challenges with us! We'll help you achieve your goals and ease your pain.  How can we help you?
Call us  Want quick answers to your problems?  What’s better than picking up  the phone and calling us?  510-613-8299 <>
The Power of Choice VOD

Recent Blog Posts

In-Sites LIVE! Video