What is Keyword Research?

A common question from SEO beginners is – What is keyword research?

Keyword research is simply the steps where you research a list of words or phrases that you would like to rank high for on the search engines like Google.

It’s actually the most important step in SEO. If you pick the wrong keywords, all of your other efforts go to waste.

You must choose words that people actually use on the search engines.  The right keywords will make sure you target your specific audience and customers.


Site Content Must Reflect Keywords

Make sure that your keywords complement your existing website.

Don’t attempt to rank high for terms that aren’t on your website.  This will lead to a high bounce rate (rate at which people leave your site without clicking anything else).

The QUALITY of the content must also be synergistic with the keywords you choose.  Nobody likes going to a site that they THINK will provide them a quality answer or product, but it turns out to be disappointing.


Use the Same Lingo as Your Target Audience


When doing keyword research, think about it from the perspective of your customers/audience.  What words or phrases would they use to find your content?

Once you get a core group of keywords, create additional options based on minor changes to the wording, order, or synonyms.  It only takes about 10 core keywords to get 100 total keywords based on small nuance changes.


Keyword Research Tools

It’s virtually impossible to do proper keyword research without using technology to help you out.  The amount of data that needs to be processed is enormous and only a few tools are up to the challenge.

  1. Google Keyword Planner – While the volume per keyword is not reliable, the tool helps you decide which keyword is most important to users in your target audience.  Best of all the tool is free and there are plenty of “how-to” videos on YouTube that will help you become an expert in no time.
  2. Market Samurai – At The Optimacy Group, we leverage the power of a third party tool called Market Samurai.  It’s not super polished or user friendly, so beginners might not like it.  However, it has the ability to give you the same data as Google’s Keyword Planner with many other filters and functions.
  3. WordPress Plugins – There are various WordPress plugins for your website that will help you with your keyword research.  The best part about these tools is that they often analyze the data on your webpage to give you a ‘score’ for the keyword you choose.
  4. Google Trends – This tool compares keyword traffic and even included geographic filters.  Trend data allows you to determine if certain keywords are seasonal or not.  For example, ranking for “Halloween Costumes” will only be profitable at certain points of the year.
  5. Google Analytics – Analyze the data for your website and determine what keywords are being used to find your site.  Google Analytics provides tons of useful information about your website visitors that should be considered in any keyword research strategy.


Keyword Research Summary


Never overlook the importance of proper keyword research.  It’s the cornerstone of any SEO strategy and requires extensive effort and attention.

Make sure the keywords you choose are RELEVANT to your target market, and your content needs to provide VALUE to visitors.

With the RIGHT keywords and SEO strategy, you will not only improve your chances for success online…you will save money too!