SEO Best Practice: Keyword Research
One of the first steps in Search Engine Optimization is to know what you are optimizing for. The power of keyword research lies in better understanding your target market and how they are searching for your content, services, or products. Identifying these words will inform you of what to rank your website for in search engines like Google and Bing.
Before SEO keyword research, ask questions:
Before you can grow your business through search engine optimization, you first have to understand who your customers are, and their goals.
This is where corners are often cut. Too many marketers and business owners bypass this crucial planning step because keyword research takes time, and why spend the time when they “know” what they should rank for? Often times how business owners see their business and how customers view them are completely different. What you want to rank for and what your audience actually wants are often two very different things. Focusing on your audience and then using keyword data will make for a much more successful SEO campaign.
Key factors in keywords selection:
There are three primary factors in honing in on the keywords you should use for your website.
Search Volume – You need to consider is how many people are actually searching for a given keyword or phrase. The more people there are searching for a keyword or phrase, the larger your potential reach. The opposite would be true of a keyword with little to no search. Your potential audience would then be much smaller, which is not necessarily a bad thing depending on the competition of that keyword which we will address shortly.
Relevance – If a term is frequently searched for that’s awesome news, but you need to make sure it’s relevant to what you are selling. If you are selling art paintbrushes and beginner painting kits, you probably don’t want to show up for industrial painting supplies as people looking to buy industrial items in bulk will likely not covet what you are offering.
Competition – As with any business opportunity, in SEO you want to consider the potential costs and likelihood of success. For SEO, this means understanding the relative competition. As eluded to previously, sometimes its much better to be a big fish in a small pond, or in this case, at times it’s a better SEO investment to win less competitive keywords with lower search volumes than spending significant resources on attempting to rank for a higher searched more competitive keyword.
Keyword Research Tools
Here are a few different tools (most of them paid) that offer keyword insights.
- Google Search Console
- Google Keyword Planner
- SEMrush Keyword Overview
- Moz keyword research tool
- Jaaxy keyword research
- Ahrefs keyword planner
Just remember that the end goal with any search engine optimization efforts is to get more exposure and traffic for your business. Don’t cut corners if you want the highest possible ROI, but especially don’t cut corners when it comes to keyword planning. You can end up doing more harm than good to your website if you are not careful with what you optimize for.