“In the beginning was the Word…” Well, that word typed into that search box. That is the genesis of keyword research.
Keyword research is the foundation of online search and marketing. It’s not just about getting all the keywords your potential customer would use, it’s about finding the right set of keywords that your customer would use when he is at the right frame of mind to listen to your message and find your product. It’s not about getting the most widely used keyword, it’s about finding keywords that have the right balance of being commonly used, relevant to your business, and accurately expressing what your customer is looking for.
Over the years, keyword research has evolved from getting more visitors online to getting the right kind of visitors for your page. It is important in many ways because having the right type of keyword system allows you to:
- predict shifts in demand
- respond to market conditions
- produce content and services
Keyword research is a process. You need to ask questions and perform tests to assess if the said keywords work to your advantage. If you own a boutique that sells red dresses and black lingerie, for example, which are you better known for? Do they type in “red dress” to find you or “black lingerie” to find you? What other terms do they use if they want to find you online?
Having the proper tools for your keyword research will tell you what terms your potential customers use when trying to find you. And you can use that information to lead more traffic to your site. With keyword research, you’re also assessing the value of each keyword and which would bring you better results. Like if more people know your boutique for selling the best black lingerie, it might be better to look for similar keywords along that line and invest more effort in using those keywords than using red dress. Or you could still use “red dress” but find other related keywords to help you stand out from other boutiques selling red dresses by using “cocktail red dresses” or “fun red dresses”.
Easier Said Than Done
Looking for keywords seem easy. Just think of the words that make sense and use them for your website, right?
It looks easy but the process isn’t that simple.
Finding the right keywords actually requires a lot of time and the right tools. Yes, you can look for these words in search engines but the results that these search engines will give you won’t provide you with enough data you need to determine the value of these keywords.
When searching for keywords, you need to know if:
- Enough people are using these keywords to look for your business. If only 10 people use that keyword out of the 10,000 people looking for your website each month, then that keyword isn’t worth using.
- The keyword relevant to your business. If you’re selling chocolate chip cookies, you don’t want the keywords “oatmeal cookies”.
- You can handle the competition. If you’re a small lingerie boutique, it’s going to be hard to compete with big brand like Victoria’s Secret and the keywords they dominate in like “lingerie”. But you may be able to compete in other keywords that have a smaller audience but with the same intention, to buy lingerie, like looking for keywords like “lingerie for birthday present”.
With so much at stake, you don’t want to risk using the wrong keywords as you start building a presence online. Using the wrong keywords is a waste of time, money, and can damage your business in the long run, especially if that keyword becomes associated to a lot of negative press. You can do keyword research on your own as an exercise to know what your customers are looking for. But if you’re going to shell out money to rank on search engines, it’s best leave the search for high value keywords in the hands of professionals.