Keyword research is quite possibly one of the most important, valuable and rewarding activities that can be done in search marketing. By discovering your market’s keyword demand, you can figure out which keywords to target with SEO.
This is all about learning what your customer wants and placing yourself in their shoes. Once you find out what words they are using to find your products and services, you are able to build effective campaigns and ads around them – specifically to target those users.
Always remember: It’s not only about attracting visitors to your site, its about attracting the RIGHT visitors.
Judging the value of a keyword.
You may be wondering how much a keyword is worth to your website? If you were to own an online shoe store, do you make more sales for the search term “brown shoes” or “black boots”? To better understand the value of a keyword, we need to be able to understand our own websites, make some hypotheses, test and repeat the process – this is the classic web marketing formula.
How to assess a keyword’s value
- Ask yourself – Is the key word relevant to your site’s content? Will visitors find what they are looking for once by using these keywords? Will they be happy with what they have found? If your answers to these questions is a resounding YES! then continue…
- Search for the keywords in major engines – Understanding which websites already spike for your keywords gives you a good indication of who your competitors are and how hard it will be to rank for the given keyword. Are there any search advertisements running along the top and right hand side? This is normally a good indication of the value of the keyword.
- Buy a sample campaign for the keyword at Google Adwords – If your website doesn’t rank, you can always buy “test” traffic to see how it converts. In Google AdWords you can choose “exact match” and direct the traffic to the relevant pages on your site. This is perfect for testing impressions and conversions.
- Once all the data has been collected, decide – Here you need to decide whether or not the ROI (Return on Investment), is worth the effort.
The Long Tail of Keyword Demand – Say What?
Lets return to the online shoe store example, wouldn’t it be great to rank #1 for the keyword shoes? Maybe not…
It would be great to work with keywords which have 5000 searches a day, or even 500 a day, but in reality these “popular” search terms only make up less than 30% of the searches done on the web. The remaining 70% are what they call the “long tail” of search. The long tail has hundreds of millions of unique searches that are conducted a few times a day, but, when pulled together make up the majority of the world’s demand for information from search engines.
Something to bare in mind, is that long tail keywords oftentimes convert better, as they draw people in later in the buying/conversion cycle. Think of it this way, someone who searches the term “shoes” is most probably browsing and not yet ready to decide. However if that same person were to search the term “affordable size 6 Jimmy Choos”, they practically have their wallet out!
Understanding the search demand curve is critical to search marketing, below is an example of a keyword demand curve.
Keyword Research Resources
Listed below are a few keyword research resources which might come in handy:
- Google AdWord’s Keyword Tool – adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
- Google Insights for Search – www.google.com/insights/search
- Google Trends Keyword Demand Prediction – www.google.com/trends
- Wordtracker’s Free Basic Keyword Demand – freekeywords.wordtracker.com
Keywords are a fundamental part of search marketing, and thus the research of those keywords is even more crucial. So be sure not to rush into things and simply pick keywords at random. Sit down and put yourself in the customer shoes. Think of the terms they would use and then research them to make sure you have a strong set of keywords – as opposed to a multitude of useless ones.
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