Keyword Research

Good keyword research is critical to the success of any SEM campaign (both SEO and PPC), as the stakes are high in both cases. A wrong keyword targeted in PPC may lead to click wastage while a wrong keyword in an SEO campaign will result in wastage of efforts and time.

The importance of good keywords can be highlighted by the fact that correct keywords will help drive relevant visitors to your website, and this will translate to more queries/business.

Whether it is a PPC campaign or an SEO campaign, targeting appropriate keywords will determine the success of the campaign. Hence, it is mandated that adequate research be carried out before finalizing the keywords.

Let's discuss the challenges in keyword selection and the importance of selecting the right keywords. We will also discuss the steps and tools you could use to arrive at a good keyword list.

More is not always good

It is not always good to target the keywords that have the maximum searches, as it may mean more organic effort or a higher bid. The returns in each case may not be commensurate. It can be illustrated with an example.

Take the case of a website selling exclusive watches may have the following keywords to search from.

Keyword Term/Phrase Search per month (Global)
Men's watch 6,120,000
Men's wristwatch 14,800
Tag Heuer men's watch 4,50,000
Gucci men's watch 22,200
Italian men's watch 2,400

"These keywords related figure are searched with the use of tools explained later in this newsletter."
Selecting the first keyphrase may not be the best decision. Here is how:

Men's watch

The broader term 'men's watch' typically attracts the largest number of traffic to the site. Being generic in nature, the users typing in such key terms may not be directly interested in buying. Instead, they may just be information seekers. Attracting such traffic may give a skewed conversion figure.

Men's wristwatch

Though the term is generic again but has a different trend of search volumes. The reason for a low search frequency is because the term is not used by the targeted customers. The idiosyncrasies of your target audience should be considered before finalizing on the keyword list.

Tag Heuer men's watch / Gucci men's watch / Italian men's watch

Lower search volumes but higher efficiency. This is so because these specific terms can directly be related to the product being sold. They only attract interested and value customers to the site that result in a higher conversion rate.

These points were intended to provide an overview of the importance of selecting the right keywords for a successful SEO program.

Roadmap to Keyword Research

The key terms searched are as variegated as the people searching for them. As per statistics provided by Google, nearly 25% of the queries people entered into Google were new and were never seen before. This makes keyword selection even more challenging, like mapping, the new keywords for analysis and scrutiny becomes an onerous task.

The steps mentioned below are intended to assist in keyword selection. This can be done in five steps.

  • Brainstorming about what your customers/potential visitors are likely to type in search engines.
  • Surveying customers, including past as well as potential, helps to expand the researched keyword list that includes maximum possible terms and phrases used by them.
  • Using keyword research tools like Wordtracker, Overture or Web seer gives an idea about the number of times users perform specific searches using a specific keyphrase.
  • Once you have identified the keywords that are relevant, the next step is to select key phrases out of the list. This selection can be based on the perceived value of the keyword. This value can be obtained in the following ways.
  1. With general reference sources and dictionaries.
  2. By investigating the competitors’ keywords.
  3. Using social media sites to analyze which words your potential audience is using to tag your industry related content.
  4. Using Twitter keyword research tool which allows for investigation of the term’s popularity and hot trends.
  5. Using free keyword suggestion tools like SEO Book's Keyword Tool, Trellian's Keyword Discovery, Bing's Keyword Research Tool, Wordstream's Free Keyword Tool.
  • After selection of the keyphrases, you could subject them to further analysis with the help of Performance Testing and internal Analytics reports. This will help to measure web traffic and rate of conversion.

Keyword research is an important part of the overall search engine marketing process. Therefore, care should be taken to ensure that the tools being used to research for best keywords suggestion give a fairly accurate estimate of the search frequency.

Using tools for keyword research

As a part of this process, you could choose from a number of available tools to determine keyword variations and search frequency for any product or service.

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