The Importance of Keyword Research

In all digital marketing strategies, the first step should be keyword research. Whether you're creating a blog post or designing a PPC campaign, it's essential to ensure that the terms used in searches are relevant to your business and can attract potential customers. 

Getting this step right is crucial, as it determines the success of your content. Search queries reflect intent and can be a strong indicator of buyer readiness. Therefore, it's important to focus on the right keywords to reach your target audience.

A Guide on How to Perform Keyword Research Effectively

Keyword research is the process of finding the search terms that people type into search engines, and it’s the cornerstone of any successful SEO strategy. The goal is to find keywords that align with user intent, have a reasonable amount of search volume, and fit your business.

This can be done manually or with various tools that help make the process faster. Regardless of how you approach it, keyword research should be an ongoing process that’s constantly being refined and updated.

Often, the result of a keyword research session is that you realize a search term has too low of a search volume to be worth your while. If this happens, carefully consider if pursuing it is truly worthwhile and what adjustments you might need to make. Other times, you may discover that the term has too many competitors and would be extremely difficult to rank for. If that’s the case, move on to another keyword.

Why It’s Crucial for SEO

The main reason that keyword research is critical to SEO is that it allows you to uncover the specific terms that your audience is searching for online. This enables you to create content that aligns with their search intent, which can ultimately drive traffic and conversions to your site.

Performing keyword research can also help you find “good” keywords that have high search volume and are relatively easy to rank for, which can then form the basis of your SEO strategy. You can use many different keyword research tools, including Google Keyword Planner (GKP), Ahrefs Site Explorer, and more.

In addition to looking at traffic potential, ranking difficulty, and search intent, you should also consider the business value that could come from ranking for a given keyword. This is especially true if the keyword indicates that your audience is closer to the bottom of the funnel, and are actively searching for a solution to their problem.

Tools That Can Help

There are a lot of tools that can help with keyword research. Some of them are free, while others have limited functionality or come with a subscription. The best choice depends on your budget and your overall SEO strategy.

For example, if you’re running a sportswear ecommerce business and want to boost your blog content around healthy living, you could target keywords like “low-impact workouts.” You can use a tool to see how many people search for these terms each month and how competitive they are. This helps you create content that’s relevant to consumer intent, which can lead to better SERP rankings and more clicks.

For a comprehensive set of tools, you can try Moz’s Keyword Explorer. Its robust database goes back 16 years, and you can compare your results to those of your competitors. Moz also has a comprehensive rank tracking tool and other features that make it worth the price of the subscription.

Key Takeaways

Whether you’re doing paid search or organic SEO, keywords are essential. The right keyword research can help your brand rank higher in search results and bring in more qualified traffic. However, it’s important to remember that popularity is not the only factor when selecting keywords. Consider the buyer intent of each search query when deciding which keywords to target. Searchers looking for general information will not convert to sales as easily as those who are ready to buy.

In Good to Great, Collins and his team used the flywheel analogy to describe how successful companies can transform from good to great. A strong, effective keyword research strategy can help your business achieve this transformation by driving organic search traffic that is representative of your ideal customer. Ultimately, it’s all about finding the most valuable keywords to your organization. This guide lays out a process to identify these keywords based on traffic potential, difficulty, and search intent.