Before you can optimize your website, you need to know what you are optimizing for. Finding the right keywords to focus your SEO efforts on can be challenging. But fortunately there is a lot of data out there and a structured approach that can be used for keyword research.
Keywords are what searchers type into a search engine. Search engines like Google and Bing will go out and fetch the most relevant results for your search query based on everything they know based upon all the content on the Internet. But it is important to remember that search engines have a hard time understanding what a user is really after, unless it is spelled out.
This is why you have probably followed up one search with another more descriptive search more than a few times in your life. You try one keyword but it doesn’t give you what you are looking for so you get more specific or you try it another way. The bottom line is that people all over the world are typing in all kind of keywords every second of every hour of every day.
It is important for us to understand what they type in so it is possible to optimise web pages so that they appear in the search engine results for those terms. Formal keyword research is the foundational piece in SEO that will help you understand what people are typing in to search engines, how frequently they do it, how relevant those terms are to your business objectives and how competitive those terms will be to try to rank for.
Let’s take an example. Let us suppose that you sell cars. You might think that the keyword car is something that you want to rank for. But after you have done a little keyword research you will probably find that it will not make your list.
Why? Well, even though that keyword gets typed into the search engines with a very high frequency, you need to be thinking about its relevance. How many reasons could someone type the word car into a search engine? They could be looking for a toy car or a place to repair a car or rental cars or anyone of a hundred things that have nothing to do with actual buying a car. And think of all the people out there who are also trying to rank for the word car in the search engines. This is an extremely competitive term.
A phrase like ‘buy used blue 2010 Toyota Camry’ might not get typed in as much but it is extremely relevant and probably not that competitive. Keywords like this will very likely end up on your list of keywords to optimise for. Now that we understand a bit more about keywords and keyword research it’s time to talk about planning.
An effective keyword research plan involves having a sound and structured approach that will lead to the discovery of keywords that you can use in the content of your website. Ultimately a keyword research plan will give you the data you need to make decisions about which keyword will give you the best return on investment, and have the highest likelihood of being both relevant and profitable for your business.
With billions of queries searched each month it is important to understand the goals of the keyword research process. What we are looking for and how to collect and analyse that data to make decisions about our websites.
Sadhiv Mahandru has been developing websites and optimising them for over a decade. Specialising in Search Engine Optimisation Oldham and throughout the UK. You can learn more about Internet Marketing and SEO by reading my personal blog.