Business owners who are investing in SEO for the first time are often obsessed with rankings for a select number of keywords. While these keywords can often be primary indicators of the success of your overall SEO efforts, you should be cautious about basing your entire digital marketing strategy on them.
So, Why is Identifying Keywords Important for Research?
When SEOs talk about keyword-targeting pages, they’re typically referring to assigning each page on your site a primary keyword that acts as a general focus of that page’s topic.
Say you run a cat grooming business and one of the products you sell happens to be cat collars. You’ll likely want to have a page on your site dedicated to that product. You write amazing content for the page and it ranks #1 when you search for “kitty collars” on Google, but it doesn’t seem to bring in the traffic you were expecting.
Part of the problem is that your primary keyword is not a highly searched phrase. As of this post, “kitty collars” averaged 880 searches a month over the last year. Even ranking #1 for that term, you’re only bringing in part of that traffic. So what’s the solution?
By digging deep into your niche, keyword research allows you to examine how potential customers are actually searching for your products or services. You might call your product “kitty collars” because the more playful style might be a better fit for your business’s personality, but potential customers aren’t searching for “kitty collars” – they’re searching for “cat collars.”
But don’t let that dissuade you! Just because one search term might have more volume, it doesn’t mean that’s all you should be targeting. The best SEO strategy is to cast a wide net by targeting all relevant keywords associated to what you’re trying to win for.
Knowing what your customers are searching for is a great start, and having a long list of keywords will help you form a great internet marketing strategy. However, you also need to know how competitive any given keyword is.
You find that the keyword “cat collars” has the highest search volume for your product, so you decide that’s what your page will focus on. That’s great, except that you haven’t scouted the competition yet. Higher volume search terms are typically accompanied by steeper competition. Make sure you check out the SERP to see what your competitors are doing before you go in blind.
Instead of focusing on high-volume, high-competition terms, newer businesses might want to consider targeting long-tail keywords – queries that are more specific or detailed. These typically have less competitive results, which gives even small businesses an opportunity to compete.
Unfortunately, long-tail keywords typically come with a trade-off of their own: they have significantly lower search volumes (in this case, we’re down to 1,000 searches a month). However, they also tend to be better at turning visitors into customers.
A solid SEO strategy will incorporate both long- and short-tail keywords. As a general rule, expect to invest more effort when you target broader keywords.
Putting It All Together
Keyword research is about finding the right balance between a number of different factors, including search volume, conversion potential, and the competitiveness of any given keyword. For someone not familiar with evaluating keywords and keyword spaces, this can be a daunting, if not nearly impossible, task. But targeting the right keywords at the right time can be the difference between a successful SEO campaign and a significant waste of time and money. If SEO is a journey to a successful online presence, keyword research is the map that tells you the best routes to get there.
You don’t have to drive alone, either! Rocket Clicks has a team of highly qualified analysts that can help you identify and target keywords that can actually drive traffic to your website. Interested? Reach out for a FREE consultation to learn more about our keyword research and content strategy services.