Lee Odden

Effective Use of Keywords in Content Marketing

Keywords Content Marketing

Wordle Cloud Using the Text of This Article

I recently had an interesting discussion with Ron Jones who is writing a book specifically on using keywords for online marketing called “Keyword Intelligence“. He was researching for the content marketing portion of the book and we talked about where keywords fit. These kinds of discussions are great for blog posts so here are a few ideas for you on keywords, SEO, Social Media and content.

Content marketing is customer centric and therefore often focused not only on creating information to educate prospects and customers about product/service features and benefits, but also about topics of interest relevant to the situations that cause people to need or want those products and services.

Effective content marketing informs prospective buyers of what they need to know in order to help them arrive at a logical conclusion to buy and recommend. Relevant and engaging content facilitates that outcome.

“Great content isn’t great until it’s discovered and shared.”

Understanding the information needs of the customers you’re trying to reach is the first step in creating a great editorial plan. The role of keywords in a content marketing program come into play as a manifestation of knowing what customers are interested in and what their pain points are. What are they searching for? What are they talking about on the social web?

Great content is best optimized, so to speak, for the intended reader first and foremost. At the same time, that content is thoughtful about keywords that can attract new readers through search and social recommendations. Great content is amazing. Great content that is findable and shareable is even better.

Here’s an Example Scenario:  Company 1 2 3 wants to focus on “Round Widgets”

  • Target Customers Care About Round Widgets That Cost Less and are Environmentally Safe
  • Target Customers Search for “round widgets”, “low cost widgets”, “green widgets”, “environmentally safe widgets”
  • Target Customers Socially Discuss “save money on widgets”, “widget impact on the environment”
  • The Content Plan Outlines An Array of Content Objects Supporting Search Keywords & Social Topics
  • Content Plan Tactical Execution: Blog Hub, Video Tips, Shared Customer Widget Photos, Facebook Page for Widget Environmental Tips, Email Tips & Issues Newsletter, Widget Deals Twitter Account, Guest Blog Posts Using Target Keywords on Widget Blogs, Contributed Articles to Consumer & Environmental Publications on Widget Cost Saving Tips and Being “Green”

By coordinating customer needs with content creation, optimization and social publishing, there’s a much greater and more relevant reach for the investment.

Keywords guide content optimization for findability through search engines as well as a focus on topics that customers care about and are discussing on the social web. Keywords are also useful guides for the blogger and publication outreach.

Keywords drive the “optimize and socialize” efforts of content marketers to share, promote and increase the reach of information that is relevant for customers who may buy or refer brand products and services.

The mistake online marketers often make is to solely lead with keywords (vs. customer needs) thinking that optimizing for the most popular phrases are all that is needed to maximize customer reach. High ranking content that doesn’t resonate with readers to share or with customers to buy and refer isn’t an effective approach. Also, customer information needs will vary according to where they are in the research and buying process.

Keywords and topics change over time so even after a customer is acquired, it’s important to monitor, measure and refine as needed.

My question for you: Are your content marketing and optimization efforts focused solely on high popularity count keywords? Are you digging into both search keywords and social topics as you formulate your content marketing strategy?

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Insightful post.
    I’m not a marketer, but I am looking at search engine optimisation and have begun looking at key word content. Like the approach of doing your research first. sounds simple, but often a forgotten message.
    Thanks Lee for the reminder….

  2. Avatar Lionel Bachmann says

    It’s easy to get caught up in keyword research and do SEO for highly sought after keywords, and completely forget about your customers. Traffic is only half the equation, conversion is the other half. There’s no point in ranking #1 if no one is buying. This is a good reminder for the reason you put content on your site, it’s not just for the search engines, but for those the search engines bring.

  3. Avatar Anonymous says

     Optimizing keywords are the best thing to do to get good traffic and make our presence felt in the web.

  4. Content makes connections I couldn’t agree more.

    A good example of this with company names / domain names.

    I have seen some interesting posts recently about Google downplaying the relevance of keyword rich domain names.  And while I agree that these domaions are less nessasary now in terms of achieveing a ranking they still help to create a profound connection with the prospect. 

  5. Search engines believes that Content is king but adding Keywords based on visitors searching on the web is best SEO Technique and drives the good traffic

  6. Avatar kishore tyagi says

     Wow! So wonderful, I like it, thanks for sharing this with us. Congratulations! You have the wonderful writing & presenting skills. I am hoping in future same work from you.
    Thanks once again.

  7. Lee, great post! I really liked the phrase “Great content isn’t great until it’s discovered and shared.”It’s so true! I believe content is king, as many SEO experts, but you’re right even the best content is useless if it can’t be shared or discovered. A good lesson to learn.

  8. Lee, way to turn a conversation into an excellent post! Thanks for the mention and the wisdom. I think the biggest takeaway is to find the balance between content that engages, SEO and social sharing for findability. Targeted keywords can be used for on both sides to increase relevance. Develop a strategy that addresses each of these factors equally.

  9. Customers are almost always looking for the call to action that really grabs their interest and that is connected with a specific solution to a problem they have. I believe that by catering to the target customers is a great way to attract existing customers, and to bring new customers to you. Great post!

  10. Yes I know what you are saying, Content is King, (like in your Wordle cloud) only if it is shared. What a great little “tool” this is! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Great, informative post, and I love that quote too.

    What tools are the best for finding out what “Customers socially discuss”?

    • Social monitoring tools. Start with socialmention.com trackur.com and move up to techirgy SM2, ScoutLabs, Vocus (client), Radian6

  12. Most of the design with do for our client is based on long term and less popular keywords, once we build that in the serps then we add more of the high popluar keywords.  We dont like to trick search engines with keywords, we give search engine websites with relevant and uncontrolled keywords and that spectrum works best for being in the top 10 for our clients keywords.

  13. I like to congratulate you for doing a nice job Lee.

  14. Thanks for such an interesting post. So are you saying that the high popularity count keywords
    aren’t always your best keywords? 

    • Thanks. Most marketers have finite resources and to prioritize what efforts will bring results within a reasonable timeframe, high popularity / high competitive count keywords may need to be subordinated to relevant keywords with lower competitive counts.

      Example: A client wanted to rank first page on Google for the highly popular keyword “brain” after seeing another of our clients there for the word “fabric”. It took years to get that one word position and the “brain” client was starting with a fairly new website. It was better to optimize and market towards keywords that were highly relevant and more indicative of interest to purchase than a broad, high popularity phrase that is more associated with research than action.

  15. Very useful this post. I think that both search keywords and social topics are very useful for building a sucessful content based SEO campain, the next stage of a SEO campain will be the conversions but that is a part of building the site and gain the trust of your future possible clients.

  16. Having good keywords is fine but it all has to make sense from the off set. As mentioned, this is exactly what makes way for developing a high quality seo campaign.

    Seperate to this though, the link building and accessibility cannot be ignored as part of the whole strategy.

  17. “Great content isn’t great until it’s discovered and shared.”

    I’m going to start working with this as my goal. Thank for the post.

  18. Thank for sharing, this great post. I am totally impressed especially with the tip that says
    ” What is the use of writing great contens, if no one will find it and benefit from?”
    This is the No 1 killer of why majority on wannabe marketers don`t succeed when trying to learn how to make money online.

  19. Thanks for sharing such beautiful blog post. The power of commenting and blogging provide a landscape for views and points

  20. Hey guys, if your looking for some popular tweets in a certain subject then have a look at this: 


    It will give you a lot of data and stats about tweet trends based on a word or phrase.