What is Keyword Research?
Keyword Research is a method of researching search terms that people use to find information on search engines. Before we dive into the complex, and often misunderstood world of keyword research and its importance for SEO, let’s first take a moment to understand what is SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results.
So where does it all start?
It all starts with you, the user, typing words you want to search about in a search box.
The search engine then analyzes the user query, applies certain modifications and fetches the result that it thinks are the most relevant to the query. An important fact to keep in mind while designing your keyword research strategy and overall SEO is not about what you think is the right term; it is about what your potential customers are searching in that moment, location & context.
Again, what is keyword research and why is it important for SEO?
Keyword research is one of the most significant, important, and valuable activities you can do to improve your online presence. Having the right keywords (think phrases or topic) that reflect your webpage content accurately can place your website on the top spot on a search result. A direct benefit of performing proper, focused research of your market’s keyword demand is the invaluable learning of rights terms and phrases to target with SEO and also learn more about your customers as a whole.
Remember to put effort on quality over quantity of traffic. In most cases, focusing on getting the right kind of visitors trumps the need to just getting visitors to your site. A good, persistent and focused keyword research plan helps you predict shifts in demand and react in a timely manner to generate and create the products, services, and content that web searchers are actively seeking.
Hmm, how do I know if I have found a good keyword?
As a reader, you are probably wondering at this stage about what makes a good keyword? When do you stop researching? How do you define the worth of a keyword for your website?
These are all good questions. There is no magic bullet or formula to determine of worthiness of a keyword. If you have implemented proper tracking (for example, using google analytics), you can find out what were the keywords visitors type into search engines and which page they landed on. Finding out how valuable those keywords were in terms of receiving traffic from those searches is not something that is easy to derive out of these tools. To understand the value of a keyword, you first need to have a clear understanding of your website, products and services. Then, nothing beats the good old way to try, test and repeat. ANALYSIS of traffic and sale patterns after applying SEO and keyword research strategies is AS IMPORTANT as the defining the keywords for a page.
Ok, is there a process I can follow for accessing a keywords value?
Absolutely, there is a process you can follow for accessing the worthiness of a keyword. A simple flow that starts with a wide swath of possible keywords which filters out as you evaluate the keywords through each stage.
Step 1: Evaluate the keyword for relevancy
The most important question you can ask yourself when looking at keyword: Is this keyword relevant to your website’s content? Another way to think about relevancy of a keyword is to think how will this keyword help searchers find what they are looking for on your site? And, more importantly, will they be happy with what they find? If the keyword passes these questions, you are good to move to the next step.
Step 2: Search for that keyword on search engines
Take the keyword you selected above and search on major search engines yourself to pay close attention to the results that show up. Understanding what websites already show up for that keyword gives you insights on what websites show up, why they show up and ideas on what the users are liking and frankly, how hard it might be for you to get your ranking for that keyword.
Another factor to observe are the ads that search engines might show up for that keyword. Do you see search advertisements on top and right of the results? Generally, more ads mean a high yield keyword and top ads usually indicate a high conversion keyword.
Step 3: Buy Search Advertising yourself if needed
Do deep dive on certain keywords by buying those keywords you have shortlisted on Google Adwords or Bing AdCenter. You can ignore this step if you are ranked near the top. But, most likely, buying those keywords will give you valuable insights on how the keyword is behaving for your page content. Tracking impressions and conversions rates for specific keywords and pages will help you understand traffic patterns and the updates you might need to perform to bring your content up to the mark.
Step 4: Analyze advertising results and pick your winning horse (so to speak)
Now that you short-listed your keywords, searched them on Google, Bing and Yahoo, ran search advertising campaigns and collected the results, it is time to analyze those results and determine the best keywords for your website and business. As an example of keyword that we ran through this process at OmSpark, “digital marketing partner redmond” generated over 3000 impressions, almost 400 page views (of more than a few seconds) and resulted in 5 queries for business proposals and 2 final conversions. Assume that these 2 clients generated a profit of $2000. That means that keyword was approximately $5 for the business.
This should give you a good idea of the importance of proper keyword research and planning for better SEO and higher conversion. In the next post, we will discuss the different keyword research tools that you can use. We will also discuss the concept of long tail of keyword demand and how big brands monopolize high ranking keywords making it difficult for new businesses to establish their foothold.