The Importance Of Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the most crucial aspects of a successful search engine optimization and marketing campaign. Many people look at keyword research as just being another step–albeit an important step–in the marketing process. But it’s more than just another “activity” to be performed before implementing SEO. In fact, it’s an ongoing process.

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Keyword research is goes way beyond firing up a few tools that help you uncover the “right” keywords for your target audience. It’s more than selecting keywords that help you improve your ROI. It’s also about finding, analyzing, prioritizing and organizing your keywords together in a way so they can be implemented into your site to create the most effective marketing campaigns possible.

When done properly, keyword research helps you establish an effective foundation for just about all of your online marketing efforts. The keywords you choose will power your search engine optimization, sponsored ad campaigns, link building campaigns, press releases and more. Before you begin any of these marketing efforts, you must have researched and selected the core terms your site will be built upon, learned which search phrases will fuel your online marketing efforts most effectively, and determined how those keywords should be organized and optimized into the site in order to give you the strongest advantage.

After Google released their Hummingbird algorithm in 2013, many declared keyword research dead because Google cared more about topics than keywords. Even though the processes provided here were developed at least five years before Hummingbird, this document outlines a post-Hummingbird keyword research strategy.

TWO BENEFITS OF KEYWORD RESEARCH

1. Know where your audience is
Many make assumptions as to which keywords they think people are using to find their products or services. They tend to see things through their own tinted sunglasses, never realizing that not all people think the same way. Just to use a quick example, the auto-industry sells “pre-owned cars,” while the consumer searches for “used cars.” If you want to target your audience effectively, you need to understand the difference between industry jargon and average-joe-searcher jargon. As you dig down into your keyword research, you’ll discover three important insights:

  1. What words visitors use to describe your products or services.
  2. Specific things they search for related to your products or services.
  3. The intent behind the search—what kind of information they want to find.

Some people search using complete sentences, some use basic words, and some search using differing word order, qualifiers or different words all together. This information can help you develop the content and direction of your site. It allows you to speak your customers’ language rather than forcing them to listen to your industry jargon.

You can also learn to understand the intent of certain queries. Sometimes the same words used in a search can be rearranged giving the search an entirely different meaning. For example, a searcher looking for KFC’s “original recipe chicken” has a different intent that if they were looking for “original chicken recipe.”

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2. Know who your audience is
Sometimes knowing who your audience is is just as important as knowing what keywords they use. You may find that different keywords speak to different segments of society. An easy example of this is how language changes in different parts of the country and the world. When looking for a refreshing soft drink, some may ask for a “soda,” another will ask for a “pop,” still another will request a “fizz,” and yet another will just refer it as a “coke.” It’s the same language, but different words are used to mean the same thing.

You may have the right keyword to describe what you do or sell, but that particular keyword may be targeting the wrong audience, or at least not speak the audiences’ native slang. If you focus on only certain words, you’re very likely missing out on a significant portion of your target audience.

Proper keyword research ensures that you not only know all potential variations of your important keyword phrases, but that you are able to implement them in a way that speaks directly to each segment of your target audience. A MAC machine and an ATM might be the same thing, and your customers might even know that, but using the right language in the right way for the right audience helps close the “out of touch” gap that might otherwise be perceived.

Ken. R

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