When it comes to building out the actual content on your business’ website, there is nothing more important than keyword research. Keyword research is a practice search engine optimization (SEO) professionals use to find and research actual search terms that people enter into search engines. It should drive every decision regarding the types of content you create and how you shape your site.
When looking at keyword research, we consider many aspects of the keyword phrases—the main components are Monthly Search Volume (MSV), competitiveness of the keyword or keyword phrase, and the intent behind the phrases.
Monthly Search Volume
You know your industry very well, but what you don’t know is that people may be searching for you by a different term or phrase—or there may be other phrases that are almost just as popular that you never thought of to optimize your site for. This is where keyword research comes into play.
When looking at Monthly Search Volume, this is literally the number of times that users enter a phrase into search engines. Depending on what country your business is in, it may be different, but for most of the world, the gold standard is Google.
Those of us in the industry with the tools and training can access what people are searching for and frame the language on your site so that you will be found more easily for those high-volume search terms—ranking high for these are key to a successful search engine optimization campaign.
Using industry tools, insight, and experience, we can determine the level of difficulty it would be to perform well for a particular keyword or phrase. This is based on many factors, not limited to: the metrics of your current competitors, the average click-thru-rate for those particular terms to ads, and the overall potential based on volume and intent.
A keyword or phrase with only 100 monthly searches is going to be significantly easier to rank for than a term with 100,000 monthly searches. Sometimes it is better to focus on 5-10 of these smaller long-tail keyword phrases than terms that are almost impossible to rank for.
Intent Behind the Phrase
You can’t always aim for phrases that have high volume and low competition. Sometimes, phrases the guarantee conversions are more valuable and worth the time and effort. You may have a phrase with significantly less traffic, but if it has a modifier like “reviews” or “buy” in the keyword phrase, it means that the searcher is already primed in buying mode and you are more likely to make a sale than off of a generic keyword phrase.
When you look at a search phrase, there is so much more behind it than you and I see. Search engines see more than we ever could. When looking at phrases, search engine not only rank for text, they may place higher rank on news or images. Additionally, they may deem the phrase that impacts you the most as one that appears in the Local 3-Pack or in a Quick Answer box. These are things you can’t always predict, but a good search engine optimizer will see them coming and prevent problems in advance.
Keyword Research for the Win
Whether you are developing a new site or building a new content strategy for your 2017 marketing campaigns, you need to put keyword research first and foremost. There is nothing more overlooked in SEO than this. If you want to compete on the next level, then keyword research is a guaranteed game-changer.