Keyword research, when requested by a client, tends to be requested for the entire site.
Now, I’m talking, specifically, about research on an existing site. A site that is already live and has been live for a while, not a forthcoming website, which is yet to launch.
A very common request by a client for their existing website, is that keyword research is carried out for it, with the expectation that the keyword research is carried out for the entire website.
This is a mistake. A common mistake.
When carrying out keyword research, there is a certain level of understanding one has to have.
An understanding of the business.
An understanding of the website.
An understanding of the audience the business wants to attract.
When you commission a keyword research project, you’ve got to ensure the SEO is aware of these three things – at least.
This set of information can drastically change the terms that are researched.
For example, if you have a website that’s about finance and you commission a keyword research project on finance, you have to be mindful that this is a very broad area.
If your site is about Investing as well as Savings, although more specific than finance overall, these are still very broad areas to cover in a keyword research project.
An SEO could take the direction of researching informational-based keywords around these two areas, which would not be appropriate if these two areas are product offerings on your site
Making it known that these are product offerings on your site is STILL too broad.
If the audience you’re aiming to target, for example, are businesses, this information will drastically change the keyword research than if you were servicing these two products to consumers.
Commissioning keyword research for you entire site, when you have many areas to cover is not an ideal approach to use.
The broader your website is, the more you’ll want to avoid this habit of asking for keyword research to be carried out covering your entire site.
You’ll be far better off requesting keyword research to be carried out for specific areas, or products, at a time.
Here’s something you’ll want to bear in mind –
With this type of keyword research, you’re aiming to carry out the research so you can identify the keywords to target that will generate growth – organic growth.
At the end of the research piece, you’ll want to have a list of keywords that are mapped to pages, which you’ll want to either optimise or create – in cases where new pages are recommended.
The reality is that this type of keyword research – that which has the purpose to optimise pages – is different from having keyword research carried out where the landscape of your industry is explored.
Carrying out keyword research, to explore the landscape, has more of a longer term, planning agenda to it.
This is the type of keyword research you would want to request when you’re in the early stages of creating a new website.
The outcome of this type of research is that you’ll have a better understanding of the industry you’re in (as it pertains to search).
This insight can then be used to inform the creation of your website.
However, the vast majority of the time, when keyword research is requested, there is more of an immediate timeline, which requires optimisation of existing and/or new pages as a follow-up to the keyword research.
I’m proposing to you that the request for this type of keyword research should focus on targeting specific areas of your site at a time, as opposed to covering your entire website in one shot.
Covering your entire website will result in a broad coverage of it, which is less likely to lead to you having a list of targeted keywords, which you can pass along to your content team to implement onto pages upon receiving the research delivery.
What is more likely to happen is you’ll be stuck with a research project, that may have actions to it, but may not be the right actions for your business.
How many times have you received a keyword research document and not actually implemented the recommendations?
More than once, I’m guessing.
It’s worthless paying an agency to conduct keyword research for your site, with the expectation that you’ll optimise your site from the work, only to end up having a document that you’re not quite sure what to do with.
If you had hired an agency for such a project, there’s not much you can do – having received a piece of work with recommendations that are inappropriate for you to action.
You can’t really blame the agency for this because quite frankly, they’ve delivered what they set out to deliver.
Regardless of whether or not it was something you were expecting, they’ve made their delivery.
So if you’re seeking actionable recommendations from a keyword research request, which you can implement as a next step, ensure you have a scope of work that covers a specific area of your site.
The broader and more complex your website is, the more you’ll want to cover an area at a time.
This way, you’ll provide focus to the SEOs, which they can then deep dive into.
The end result to this approach is you’ll have a list of keywords you can target with optimisation and/or the creation of new pages.
You see, here’s the reality of keyword research –
Keyword research, for the purposes of optimising your site as a next step, requires iterations.
This iterations will be between the business and the SEO – whether it be an agency, consultant or an in-house person or team.
If you request an agency to carry out keyword research for you, how much iterations do you have agreed with the agency…?
You see, this is why agencies can get-away with not being accountable for delivering keyword research to you – which you expect to implement but cannot because it’s not appropriate for your business.
An iteration process has not been factored into the delivery of the work.
Only time and output has been considered.
An agency can spend all the time in the world researching keywords that are not appropriate for your business.
Having an iteration process factored in means you’re better able to manage and steer the agency into the direction that will give you the output that you seek.