Keyword Checklist: Best Keywords Every Company Should Target
Content Writer at Letterdrop
Focus on bottom-of-funnel, low-competition, and long-tail keywords in your keyword strategy
To find the best keywords, talk to your customers and use keyword research tools for sanity checks
Align your keywords with search intent and the correct stage in the buyer journey
High-intent types of keywords to target are: competitor keywords, category keywords, integration keywords, "how to" keywords, and playbooks
Vanity metrics are one thing, tangible business value another. And sadly, keywords — while a staple of your SEO strategy — are used wrong by 80% of companies out there.
They target keywords that bring in unqualified traffic — people who will never buy their product
The keywords they choose don't match the right buyer stage. For example, they have a qualified prospect who is still in the unaware phase but have targeted a solution-aware keyword — that prospect isn't ready to buy
The keywords you target need to be capable of qualifying a prospective buyer or moving a deal forward, or else you're wasting your time.
The sooner your content can drive conversions for you, the better — and it all starts with a keyword.
What Keywords are Best for SEO? 1. Competitor Keywords
Competitor keywords, or those that include your competitors' names or offerings, are for in-market buyers who are shopping between you and your competitors.
Cover all variations of:
Competitor A vs Competitor B — here you can intercept prospects and include yourself in the conversation as a third alternative
Competitor vs You
Alternatives to You
Alternatives to Competitor X
Common FAQs or errors for competitors that you do better. For example: "Gong doesn't install on Google Meet"
2. Category Keywords
You can intercept prospects that are actively searching for tools in your particular category using keywords like:
1. Best [your category] software or tools. For example, "Best SEO Tools"
2. Best [your category] software or tools in [latest year]
3. [Your category] tool for [vertical]. For example, "X best CRM Software for Agencies"
3. Integration Keywords
Prospects always need to integrate the tools in their tech stack. If you offer useful integrations for common tools, target keywords like:
[Your category] [app] integration. For example, "CRM software Calendly integration"
4. The "How to" Keywords
The "how to" appendix makes up 37% of all searches on Google.
You want to make sure you target "How to" keywords where you do something better than the norm — "how to do X" when you automate X.
For example, for a tool like tl;dv, an ideal target keyword would be "How to share snippets from Zoom calls."
Playbooks are strategic guides to accomplishing something that your software enables and excellent for intercepting searchers.
For example: "ABM playbook for 2024."
How Do I Find the Best Keywords to Use?
1. Talk to Your Customers
Everything starts with your ICP. Talking to prospects and customers gives you access to keywords that:
Customers are actually searching for and can therefore drive business
Interview at least 10-20 of your ideal customers. If you're not quite there yet, do some cold outbound.
Record these interviews so that you can re-watch them later using software like Gong, Fathom, or Fireflies. You can also pull these keywords and marketing insights directly from Gong calls using Letterdrop to cut down on time.
2. Use A Keyword Research Tool
Do sanity checks on new keywords and the keywords you have thus far using tools like Semrush or Ahrefs.
These tools are also great for doing competitor research, so you can see what your competitors are targeting (and whether there's an opportunity for you to go after them if they're low enough competition.)
A quick caveat though — don't put too much stock into results from these tools, as the data you get on factors like search volume are only estimates.
3. Focus on Long-Tail Keywords with Lower Competition
Given that they're relevant to your offerings, you should target long-tail keywords with low competition.
You won't rank for competitive keywords unless you're a big site with high domain and topical authority. Your keyword research tools will give you a keyword difficulty estimate out of 100. Target keywords in the 0-40 range
Longer and more nuanced keywords are an easier and more unique way to target short and competitive head terms. It's also a way to target your niche
As a basic example, instead of targeting a highly competitive keyword, "PPC campaign" (where you're competing with giants like Semrush and Yoast), you could target "PPC campaign for startups" instead.
4. Identify the Search Intent Behind Your Keywords
Knowing the search intent behind your keywords is critical in delivering content that is capable of pushing a prospect along in the sales cycle.
Targeting keywords with commercial and transactional intent is the way to go (keeping in mind that landing pages are the best choice for transactional intent).
You can figure out search intent manually by:
Putting your keyword into Google
Analyzing top pages on the SERP and understanding:
how they answered the question
which format they used
which angle they used
This is a lot of manual work — alternatively, you can use Letterdrop's search intent feature, which gives you all of this information upfront.
5. Align Your Keywords to the Buyer Journey
You don't want to have a prospect bounce because you targeted them with a keyword that doesn't match where they are in the buyer journey.
The four phases of the buyer journey are:
Unaware - the prospect is educating themselves on the space
Problem-Aware - the prospect is aware of an issue
Solution-Aware - the prospect is aware of solutions and is weighing their options
Product-Aware - the prospect chooses a solution and becomes a customer
The Letterdrop search intent feature also shows you the buyer stage behind your keyword.
Here are examples of keywords at each stage:
Unaware: "what is demand gen"
Problem-Aware: "how to turn LinkedIn into an acquisition channel"
Solution-Aware: "demand generation tools"
Product-Aware: "Metadata.io alternatives"
Initially Avoid Top of Funnel Keywords
Avoiding top-of-funnel keywords in the nascent phases of your content strategy? Sounds counterintuitive, I know.
But while these top-of-funnel keywords may generate traffic for you, it's highly likely that most of these visitors are unqualified.
And even if they are qualified, they're very far from buying. That's not what you want.
Best Practices to Follow for Your Keyword Strategy
Here are some ways you can maximize the efficiency and converting power of your keywords:
Conduct a content audit or content refresh to find opportunities where you can improve keyword targeting. A very basic example: if you have an article called "best CRM for 2023", change it to "best CRM for 2024."
Focus seasonal keywords on paid campaigns rather than on content pages. Keywords based on trends are ephemeral, while content keywords should be fairly evergreen. This can increase the shelf-life or relevance of your content
Avoid keyword cannibalizing on your site. Each page on your site should target one focus keyword, or you risk your own pages competing with one another for traffic. You can also use content pillar pages and connect them with internal links to avoid this
Focus on Bottom-of-Funnel Keywords You Stand a Chance of Ranking For
Don't waste time and resources chasing keywords that you don't actually stand a chance of ranking for or that will simply churn prospects.
The formula for keywords that convert is rather simple: bottom-of-funnel intent + low-competition keywords + relevance to real customers.
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