When putting together a keyword strategy, content marketers must evaluate terms with high search volumes and phrases consistent with their brands' voice and tone.

Content marketing can be a game of inches in which slight strategic adjustments can yield great rewards for businesses. Subtle changes in images, colors and word choice are the types of minor differences that subconsciously entice visitors to interact with on company’s site instead of a competitor’s. These hairline adjustments make it more important than ever for today’s content marketers to be diligent in their research when establishing content marketing guidelines.

One client I work with is a staffing solutions firm with holdings across many industries. This client’s main objective for 2013 is to make greater strides in the technical hiring sector and, as its content marketing consultant, Brafton put together a plan to craft content targeting prospective recruits.

Specificity doesn’t always add SEO value

The important distinction the client wanted to make was that it did not want to solely target information technology (IT) professionals, but engineering, automotive, and communications specialists as well. While conducting keyword research for terms related to these industries, I quickly discovered that most of the phrases included some form of the term “tech.” With the broad application of tech-based language (technical, technology, high-tech, etc), it was important to choose the proper term that would yield the best search results.

This client makes great efforts to ensure that its brand image is held in high regard and wants all of its web content to meet its guidelines for professionalism and premium services. When I sent the initial list of recommended keywords to the client, the marketing team disagreed with the idea of using the abbreviated “tech” term in written content for the website. The client felt it was too informal and did not match the tone of voice it had already established online.

Phrases using the abbreviation “tech” generate a much higher volume of monthly searches, so it would be in my client’s best interest to adapt to what its customers search for online.

The problem: phrases using the abbreviation “tech” generate a much higher volume of monthly searches, so it would be in my client’s best interest to adapt to what its customers search for online. This may be a discussion from a branding perspective, but from an SEO standpoint it only makes sense to incorporate “tech” into written content.

Simple Google research showed that the term “technical” netted a healthy 7.48 million local searches per month. The term “tech” garnered a much more robust 20.4 million local searches per month. Not only was the number of searches tripled, but the organic competition levels were nearly identical. The idea of leaving close to 13 million monthly searches on the table in the name of branding just doesn’t make business sense when your goal is to increase visibility within a given vertical.

Sometimes broad is better for the bottom line

This makes no mention of the benefit of “tech” having such broad applications in content. Tech can be used to abbreviate a number of relative terms (technical, technology, etc.) which, in combination with longtail keyword insertions, can increase search visibility. By using this versatile term, my client’s content will now appeal to and reach a much wider mass of people.

Before making hard-line decisions about any aspect of your content strategy, it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. While it may seem professional to use “technical” as opposed to “tech” in online content, you want to optimize your marketing materials to resonate with the tone of voice and language used by your active online audience.

The world of content marketing is more competitive than ever before. Content strategies are becoming complex with many moving pieces, and it is imperative to have all of these assets working in the right direction. Minor changes in word choice may seem insignificant on their own, but in aggregate can generate conversions and keep potential clients off of your competitions’ websites.

Luke currently lives in Boston, MA and is a 2006 graduate from Bridgewater State University and earned his MBA from Babson in 2009. He is a content marketing strategist at Brafton where he manages social media, graphic, and written content strategies for clients. When he is not working he enjoys watching Boston professional sports teams, running, listening to music, and traveling.