When he initially started working with this account back in 2005, “Direct TV deals” was the important keyword. It had the highest relevant search volume. It was the primary way customers searched for the company’s most important product, and the organization actively poured its resources into creating content and pages around that term. It was a no-brainer.
Like everything else does in digital marketing, things changed for my friend’s client—and fast.
If you look at the Google Trends snapshot below, you’ll see the fairly steady keyword search volume of “Direct TV deals,” the term he was optimizing for. Then, out of nowhere, you can see the sudden rise of a second phrase: “Direct TV packages.” Back in 2005, it had no search volume at all.
If you follow the trend lines, you can see the new term gain a little traction between 2006 and 2008. But in 2009, there’s a seismic shift in search volume: “Direct TV packages” dramatically spikes and overtakes “Direct TV deals.”
What just happened? Why did it happen? Maybe there was a change in the product. Maybe there was a major advertising campaign. For whatever reason, the way people searched for this product shifted significantly.
We create content for the Internet, right? That wily Internet that constantly changes? It only makes sense that your content should adapt to those changes, too.
We should pay attention to keywords and search volume not just at the beginning of content creation, but throughout its life cycle. It’s often just a small fix that can keep your content relevant for searchers—my aforementioned friend was able to simply adapt old pages to meet the rising demand for the new term. Traffic poured in, and his client was ecstatic.
As you probably know, organizations don’t always do a great job of keeping content marketers in the loop when markets change—that is, if they even know themselves! It’s on us to monitor our customers’ content needs. Search volume is one of the simplest and most reliable ways to stay attuned.
Keeping track of keywords’ search volumes gives you the chance to capture surges in traffic and demand. (And even if you don’t have one massive shift in search volume like my friend did here, smaller ones add up over time.)
Of course, you should keep using other audience gauges (social listening, for example) alongside keyword monitoring, but make sure keyword tracking is part of your tool set. Search volume gives you a great indication of scale and helps you figure out where you should spend your time to get the most content ROI.
So be heroes, content marketers! Don’t just leave your SEO technology and tactics to the SEO team. It’s to your benefit to be involved, too. Set up alerts, check in regularly, and put in place an action plan for responding to these big content opportunities.
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