Why is keyword research so important for your business?
I come across clients who are aware that they require SEOs to carry out keyword research, outsource this work, and expect this to be a milestone in their efforts to improve organic results.
However, in actuality, many businesses tend to be unsure of what to do with keyword research.
So, let me shed some light into this today because it’s an area that needs to be talked about – deeper than the typical ‘we carry out keyword research to identify targeted keywords’ rhetoric.
Keyword research is so important that when carried out correctly, it informs everything you do on your website – from the content you create, to the way you structure it, to the way you promote it.
When carried out incorrectly, could slow down the momentum of your business, and frankly, can be a waste of your budget.
Now, there are different purposes to keyword research.
You could have research carried out for the purpose of understanding a vertical, where the end goal is to learn from the findings of the keyword research.
The more popular purpose of keyword research is to have it carried out so specific terms can be selected and targeted for your business.
The former requires more of a preliminary approach to the task of keyword research.
The latter is used for optimisation of your website.
The two are very different, and will produce a different set of results.
I say this because I find that businesses tend to regard keyword research as a singular piece of work.
This singular piece of work is then later down the line used to inform the optimisation of one’s site, when really, the piece of work was preliminary, and nowhere near the point where it should be used to optimise one’s site.
If you were to hire an SEO to carry out keyword research for your site, and have a brief that simply asks for keyword research to be carried out on a given topic, the end result, the deliverable you’ll receive, would be a preliminary piece of work.
Why, you may ask?
Well, for keyword research to be carried out, one would need to know the business, the industry, what type of users the business wants to attract to their site.
Simply having a topic to research is only a starting point – more information will be required, should be required before the work begins.
Let’s use an example –
If you were in Sports Entertainment, and wanted keyword research carried out for Boxing, the research carried out would be very broad.
Now, this wouldn’t be a problem if you simply wanted to know what the online space is like for this topic.
However, if you were interested in creating a Boxing Results section on your site, you wouldn’t, you shouldn’t use that piece of work (the broad keyword research) to inform your content.
You would need a secondary piece of research carried out that zeroes in on Boxing Results as the topic.
So in summary, the first piece of research would be considered a preliminary one, with the second one being the one that’s used to inform the content on your site.
What businesses tend to do is ask for a preliminary keyword research, unknowingly, might I add, and use that as the driving piece of work for their SEO strategy.
This is a major flaw in the approach to carrying out keyword research.
And, unfortunately, this seems to be the typical ‘ways of working’ approach I see between clients and suppliers.
When you have keyword research carried out, for the purpose of optimisation, you’ll always want to err on the side of relevance.
I know it’s great having, and seeing, terms with high volumes. But when the terms are not relevant, what does it matter?
When the topics are too broad, what does it matter?
When the research ventures into areas your business is not willing to expand into, what does it matter?
Keyword research is about the users, isn’t it? It’s always about the users.
Behind the numbers are real, actual people that you want to visit your site, that you want to show you have what they’re looking for – precisely, what they’re looking for.
When keyword research is carried out, for the purpose of site optimisation, always start with the target audience in mind. You can expand and contract from there but keep your target audience in the centre.
With this, you’ll always have your target audience in mind, and will be less likely to shift too far away from them.
Also bear this in mind, assuming you have the right keywords selected for your site, it will take a long time to rank highly for the majority of the head-term ones.
I’m not talking weeks or months, I’m talking years. The more competitive your industry, the longer it will take – at least to get in the top 3 for your head-terms.
This is to say the selection of your targeted keywords is a long term investment.
Ensuring you have the right targeted keywords allows you to operate with a clear vision.
A vision that’ll have you arrive at the realisation that targeted keywords, although an important set of assets, are only part of a more important set of assets – the asset of pages.
As important as keywords are, something even more important than them are pages.
Having keyword research carried out correctly means you’ll be able to select the right targeted terms.
Selecting the right targeted terms means you’ll be able to create the right pages.
And if you have pages structured correctly, you would have built the right foundations, which will remain stable for a very long time as you continually promote your website.
This all begins with carrying out keyword research, correctly.
Correctly, when it comes to optimisation, is ensuring you have your target audience in mind.
It’s ensuring your SEO supplier understands who your target audience is, before they begin the keyword research.