Since “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Likewise, your SEO strategy can easily stay in the clouds without formulating a proper SEO Marketing plan. Through the following detailed process I will be walking you through advanced planning developments by breaking down some important steps when looking to dominate search engine optimization within your industry niche.
I’m about to let my inner geek show a bit, but that’s okay! As long as my being a geek helps you improve your websites search result rankings, it will be totally worth it! The E-book “SEO: The Free Beginners Guide” by MOZ goes into much greater detail of the “why” behind what I will be addressing. I’ve decided to focus on the” how” since that’s more practical when it comes to putting your SEO plan into place immediately.
The following SEO keyword determination tips can be replicated on multiple business models to reach the desired conclusion. But for the sake of an example I chose to use Starbucks. If I currently can’t be drinking coffee I would at least like to think about the deliciousness of a pumpkin spice latte. But, feel free to improvise with a brand of your own as you begin your SEO Marketing Research planning process.
1. Start by choosing a multinational company.
2. Before making any discoveries (or using Google’s Keyword Tool) I chose 10 keywords that I “think” Starbucks should possibly be ranking high for in an organic Google search.
The words I picked were: Coffee, Frappuccino, Best Frappuccino, Pumpkin Spice latte, Coffee Shop, Barista, Grande, Coffee Queen, WiFi, Coffee mugs
3. I then conducted my own organic search to see if, or in what order, Starbucks ranked for the previous keywords.
This is what I found:
Coffee -Page 1, 5th spot, below sponsored ads. However the first mention of Starbucks did not link to their site, rather it showed me on the map where the closest Starbucks was located.
Frappuccino -Page 1, 2nd spot. Landing page was the Starbucks menu and the remaining results on page 1 were recipes on how to replicate a Frappuccino from home.
Best Frappuccino- Page 1, 1st spot. Followed by the 10 most Popular Starbucks Secret Menu Frappuccinos
Pumpkin spice latte- Page 1, 2nd spot. Notably, Starbucks pumpkin spice latte dominated the photos feed under this search result.
Coffee shop – Page 3, 10th spot. The link landing page brought visitors to Starbucks’s homepage.
Barista – Not found. But there was a search related suggestion with a link to Starbucks barista on the bottom of every page.
Grande – Not found. But there was a search related suggestion with a link to Starbucks barista on the bottom of every page.
Coffee queen- No references, links or recommendations related to Starbucks. Sad because their logo looks like a queen and could potentially be considered the “coffee queen.”
Wifi – No links, references or recommendations. When I refined the search to Free Wifi spots in Derby, KS Starbucks wasn’t even listed as a local location option.
Coffee mugs- No links, references or recommendations. Not even under the shopping or images tab.
This is notably a good time to point out how even big businesses tend to miss words that potential clientele are using. That’s why the use of the Google’s Keyword Planner is so important. It’s also not a bad idea to creatively use social media to collect keywords that customers are currently using to find you in an organic search.
But if you go the social route, don’t forget to make it a fun acquisition of information!
4. The last step is to review the code of the company’s website you are researching. This begins your Qualitative Research process allowing you to make sense of how the complex situation search results presents itself.
This video is a visual tutorial on how to find the code and keywords you are researching within an existing site.
Were you able to point out any of they high ranking keywords that were allowing Starbucks to show up on page 1? If you had quick eyes, you also probably noticed their were not keywords present in the code for the words they did not rank for.
5. Make sure the keywords you are looking to rank for are found both in your meta data and alt tags.
Although I was able to clearly see that Starbucks higher ranking keywords were found in their code, some of the words I originally chose were not present. This discovery reveals the direct impact keyword placement in website code have on how intentional keywords rank on an organic Google search.
Where Starbucks keywords were rich in Niche specific jargon they are lacking in more broad keywords that could potential help win over un-converted prospects.
By ranking very low on words like Barista, Grande, Coffee Queen, WiFi and Coffee mugs it seems Starbucks is a bit out of touch with what ordinary people are actually typing into the search bar when probing the internet for their coffee related whims. It really is a quick fix for such a major oversight.
Furthermore, After a quick review of Starbucks’s Facebook Page I found only about 1 in 7 posts highlighted their fan-base. As a big brand I would rank them a 5 out of 10 for their over self promotion and lack of listening or showcasing their amazing fans.
Yes, even big brands can miss step the basic objective of Social Media Marketing.
This is a lesson to business’ everywhere. When used properly, analyzing Social Media tools can essentially level the online marketing playing field; when customers are understood as the multifaceted social beings they are. As a business owner, don’t be afraid to use that uniqueness to create a strong bond with your fans.
This is the magic sauce when it comes to giving your competition a run for their money. What are your ingredients?