Good keyword research will identify the words, phrases and terms people are entering into search engines when they are looking for something that your business can provide.

Before investing any significant amount of time into individual search engine optimisation (SEO) tasks, you need to ensure that your keyword research methods are detailed and comprehensive enough to:

  • understand the needs of searchers
  • illustrate the current search results relevant to your business
  • effectively inform your SEO strategy
  • highlight the competition you need to out-perform

Conducting effective keyword research is essential to every successful business because poor research methods can lead to:

  • inaccurate targeting
  • attempting to rank for ultra-competitive terms that won’t deliver the best return on investment (ROI)
  • optimising for words and phrases that no one is searching for.

The primary objectives of keyword research

Employing effective keyword research methods will enhance the discoverability of your business and provide you with a better understanding of the current search demand landscape. This will help you to develop fully optimised SEO strategies with the power to deliver significant results in both the short and the long term.

The keyword research process of a business selling football kits might, for example, illustrate that generic search terms such as “football tops” have far higher search volumes than terms incorporating specific brand names. Optimising for this broader search landscape will require a strategy that is more focused towards serving existing demand than aiming to optimise for hyper-specific search terms. However, SEO is all about delivering value and generic, hyper-competitive terms rarely meet this requirement.

Target achievable terms and phrases that align with your marketing objectives

There is no point identifying keywords if it will be impossible for your business to rank well for them in SERPs. Nor will they necessarily convert into sales even if you manage to rank for them. This doesn’t mean that you can’t aim high, it just means focusing appropriately to secure the best ROI for your investment.

You will also find it beneficial to prioritise the work that will drive the most significant results. Just imagine how frustrating it will feel to invest months into targeting one set of keywords only to realise that you could have secured better results in a shorter amount of time simply by targeting a different set of keywords.

The advantages of long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are generally search phrases of four words or more and they are where the action is at for most smaller businesses. Taking the above example, “West Bromwich football tops for sale” is going to be far easier to rank for and will deliver more targeted traffic with a buying intention versus “football tops”.

You may attract lower volumes of traffic with long-tail keywords, however, the traffic you do secure will be far more focused and interested in what you have to offer.

Ultimately, you need to place yourself in the minds of searchers to effectively empathise with their wants and needs. Shaping a list of keywords that will deliver value for your business will help you to create pages and content that your ideal audience will find valuable and easy to access. It will, therefore, drive the rest of your natural and paid search strategy.

Success starts with the right keywords!