However, it can still be difficult to figure out how to build your campaign. The first step of the process requires that you put in a lot of time into keyword research. The challenge with this is making sure that you’re targeting the right keywords.

The last thing you want to do is spend months building a campaign for a keyword only for it to not convert into leads or sales.

Here are some solid tips on figuring out what keywords to use for your SEO campaign.

Tip #1: Test keywords with a small PPC campaign

While starting with a small PPC campaign will eat into your budget, it is still the best way to determine whether or not the keywords you’re targeting will provide a positive ROI for your business.

You can set up small campaigns in either Google Adwords or Bing and see if the search has strong buyer intent. In just a few days, you’ll know which keywords to target and avoid spending months on the wrong keyword.

You have to remember that when you’re running these campaigns, the goal is to see if they generate quality leads or sales. You shouldn’t aim to see a positive ROI from your campaign.

If it happens, then you can run ads for profitable keywords as you build your SEO campaign for them. In some cases, having a PPC ad and a search engine listing at the same time can really work in your favor as you’ll generate more clicks.

Tip #2: Start with a good mix of main and long-tail keywords

Some professional SEOs only recommend that you focus on long-tail keywords until you have a good number of them ranking. However, it’s a better idea to use a mix of your most important keywords and long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords are keywords that are made of three or more words and have less competition than two to three-word keywords that have high search volume and tons of competition.

Because relevant high search volume keywords can take many months to rank, you don’t want to wait until later if the goal is to ultimately rank for them. At the same time, you don’t want to wait too long without getting traffic, leads, and sales. Long-tail keywords can take a couple of weeks or a few short months to rank, so having a good balance of them in your campaign is ideal.

Tip #3: Target keywords based on the buying stage of the consumer

Consumers are always at different stages of the buying cycle. You have to think about what stage of the buying cycle is best suited for your campaign. For example, some searches like “basic WebDev Guide” will be made by consumers looking for general information. Others like “web development firm comparisons” are made to research a specific or type of product for comparison.

The best and most competitive keywords are usually keywords where there’s a high buying intent (indicated by keywords modifiers like “for sale”, “buy”, “discount”).

Think about what makes the most sense to your business goals and think about your marketing strategy. Do you have an approach to take consumers looking for general information and turn them into paying customers? Are you looking to appear as the best choice in front of consumers who are comparing various products?

These are all questions you should be thinking about as you conduct keyword research and start to categorize the different buyer cycle keywords you come across.

These three tips should give you a good idea of how to choose the right keywords for your SEO campaign. Which keywords you target can determine the success or failure of your campaign, so make sure you invest the time and money necessary to gain certainty in your choices.