One of the most high-return, valuable, and important activities in search marketing is keyword research. Getting high rankings for your keywords can essentially make or break your blog’s performance. Quality keyword research will help you determine which keywords your target market is using in their search queries. Determining which phrases and terms you should target during your SEO efforts will help increase your blog’s traffic. You’ll also get to know more about your target audience in general.
Keyword research does more than get more visitors to your blog. It’s essential for getting the right kind of visitors. Your research can help you predict demand shifts and respond to market condition changes. In time, you’ll learn how to use your keyword data to produce services, products and content that your target audience is currently seeking.
How to Judge Keyword Values
Do you have any idea just how much a particular keyword is worth to your blog? Let’s say that you own an online shoe store. Are more of your sales coming from visitors who are searching for “brown boots” or “blue shoes”? There are various keyword research resources to help you determine the most popular search terms. However, most of these tools don’t show, directly, just how valuable the traffic is that you’re receiving from those searches. In order to truly understand a keyword’s value, you need to have a good understanding of your own blog, make a few hypotheses, test them, and repeat the process again. Ask yourself the following three questions to help you understand how valuable a particular search term is to your own blog:
- Is the keyword or search term relevant to the content niche of your blog?
- When your visitors reach your site, will they find what they were searching for when they used the keywords?
- Will an increase in traffic result in accomplishing your goals or financial rewards?
* If you answered yes to all three of the questions above, you’re ready to proceed.
Do Your Own Searches
One way to get valuable insight into the competitors you have for a particular keyword is to understand which sites are already ranking for it. This gives you a good idea of just how hard it may be for you to rank for that same search term. Simply enter the term into various search engines and see what comes up. Are there search ads running along the right-hand sidebar or top of the page? Did your organic search brings up multiple search ads? This typically means that key phrase has really high value. Multiple search ads appearing directly above the organic search results is an indication that keyword or phrase is lucrative in terms of SEO rankings.
Keyword Research Resources
One commonly used starting point for keyword research is the Google AdWords Keyword tool. These are some of its benefits:
- Makes keyword suggestions
- Provides an estimation of search volume
- Predicts your costs for running paid campaigns for a particular term
There are many other sources available for SEO keyword research that can provide you with much more data, but many of them also cost money – the nice thing about the Google keyword tool is that it’s free. Yes, some of the data is off sometimes, but I’ve also seen every other tool out there be off, so if you are just starting out then using the Google tool is great. Remember, this tool is used to give you an estimate of potential traffic – don’t discount your ‘gut’ instincts if you find some keywords that you want to try to target just because a tool says there is not much traffic.