A Beginner’s Guide to SEO

By MVP Marketing + Design | January 23, 2019

A Beginner’s Guide to SEO Keyword Research

If you’re a business owner, manager or marketer struggling to increase your website’s keyword rankings: take heart. You’ll be relieved to know that among the dizzying array of tools and techniques to elevate website rankings, there is one tried and true method that you can pursue independently with minimal cost. No it’s not Pay-Per-Click advertising, but keyword research.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the process of identifying and selecting the terms and phrases that search engines would be most likely to use to identify content relevant to your organization, product or service.

Don’t Skip Keyword Research!

It’s imperative that you identify and implement the right keyword search terms and phrases before your web page, product listing or thought leadership piece is published. Your keyword research should inform your content and we’re going to share some of our own best practices to help you get the hang of it.


  1. Compiling Targeted Keywords
    Begin by making a list of the most important and relevant features, benefits and advantages that make your company’s products or services unique. We call these “targeted (or highly targeted) keywords.” When making your list, try to imagine the terms a customer would search for. For example, you may describe your product as a “low energy high capacity washer,” but a customer might look for “best washers for large families.”
  1. Find Related Search Terms in Google Search Results
    While you are compiling your list, try typing your keyword phrases into Google. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and check out “Related searches for… (high capacity washers).” This example returns “largest top load washer available” and seven others you may not have thought of. Googling keyword phrases will also give you a better idea of what content your competitors create.
  1. Generate Long Tail Keywords to Attract More Valuable Traffic
    It’s not just about getting a lot of traffic to your site, it’s about getting the right visitors. Ranking high for “washers” is going to get more visits, but you need to draw in the few looking for what you sell, a “low energy high capacity washer.” Long tail keywords are three or more words each and will draw fewer visitors, but more focused traffic that can see that your product or service is exactly what they’re looking for.
  1. Organize Your List by Topic Buckets
    Take your list and think of some general themes that could include a number of your keywords. These topics are called “head terms.” For example, the head term “washer efficiency” could include “washing machine water consumption” and “washing machine low water usage.” Put all of your search terms into buckets. You should have five to ten keywords for each topic bucket. Incorporating a mix of head terms (1-3 words) and long tail keywords (3 words or more) in your content is a good strategy for short term and long term traffic wins.
  1. Learn Which Keywords to Target
    Ideally, you should target phrases that have many searches and low competition from other sites. Ultimately, a digital agency will have the tools needed to tell you which keywords to focus on. Following steps 1-4 will give you a list that you can share with your agency to get a head start on the process. In our experience, most businesses find that their resources are better served elsewhere and they decide to let us take care of completing the research and generating content.
  1. Choosing the Right Digital Agency
    Set up a meeting and ask open-ended questions about the agency’s SEO strategies and find out how transparent they are. A good digital agency will be able to explain their process for keyword research and show examples of successful campaigns. They should also be able to write content for your website that has the optimal number and mix of keywords on each page. Look at some of their clients’ pages and evaluate their ability to adapt writing styles and write engaging content. Know that you can be involved in the writing process too. A supportive firm can provide assistance.

Keyword Optimization: The First Step in the MVP SearchMateSM Process

MVP Marketing + Design provides keyword research and optimization services as part of our SearchMate℠ Process. From requesting a crawl of a page to forecasting trending keywords, we have an experienced SEO Team and Copywriters on staff to make a big impact on your web presence, including social media and inbound marketing.

As a Minneapolis Digital Agency and Website Design firm, MVP has served B2B and B2C Midwest regional, national, and international clients for over 32 years.

We hope this article was helpful, and we would welcome the opportunity to talk with you about ways to improve your SEO strategy and even guide you through the process of optimizing content yourself, if you prefer.

To get started, please contact us at or call us at 612-332-8939.

About MVP Marketing + Design, Inc.

Our smart, eye-catching work pushes marketing, design, and technology to the limits to propel the brands and stories of our most valued partners. We are passionate about creating brand equity for clients in Professional Services, including private equity, mezzanine debt, M&A, venture capital, healthcare, law and consulting; Software, including EdTech, CAM, and factory automation; Manufacturing and Logistics, including medical device, foodservice, precision parts and transportation; and Consumer Products, including food, housewares and office products.

Through our combination of integrated digital and traditional marketing services, we service and have worked for such Fortune 500’s as 3M, Medtronic, and Ecolab as well as many Middle Market firms including Lifetime Brands (Pfaltzgraff, Mikasa, BUILT and Fred & Friends brands), NAMSA, Achieve3000, DP Technology, JobBOSS, CRF USA, The Erwin Hymer Group (Roadtrek), TSI, Messerli Kramer and Caliper, respectively.

Our private equity work includes branding, website and SEO projects for such clients as Argentum, Svoboda Capital, Merit Capital, Mason Wells, Cortec Group, Shoreview Industries, River Associates, Penfund, Watermill Group, Keystone Capital, Dominus Capital, and Harbour Group with related M&A projects for such clients as Prestwick, JZ Partners, Chartwell, CoveView and more.

Award-winning design, innovative functionality, and a “what’s next” mindset have propelled MVP and our clients as we build their brands, promote their products and services, and deliver business growth. We’re pleased to have been recognized for our solution-oriented work by the Communicator Awards, Davey Awards, Hermes Awards, MARCOM Awards and others. MVP is a HubSpot inbound marketing agency and automation partner.

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