​Keyword Research for SEO: how to guide

Posted by Netmatters
26th June 2015

Why is keyword research important?

Keyword research for SEO is one of the most important aspects of any business campaign. You simply cannot start a campaign without knowing the keywords that you are trying to target, and it is impossible to predict the costs vs returns of your campaign if you do not first know who you are competing against.

Keyword research is a key factor for the search engine because; when it is used effectively it provides a map for the design and engineering of creating websites and content.

Keywords are usually sorted by the number of keywords in the query phrase. Usually the more words in the query the easier it is for Google to rank the search, due to with each word in a phrase eliminates more and more results and decreases the amount of relative competitors with the exact keyword target phrase.

In turn this means that if you are in quite a niche market, if you cover some longer keyword phrases then when you search these phrases then you should theoretically appear quite high on the page rankings, depending totally on the amount of competitors in the same niche as you.

The 2 main areas of thought for SEO

SEO's usually fall victim to focusing too heavily on one particular thing vs the other important points, this over optimisation, while not necessarily bad usually indicates that another area of your SEO is lacking somewhat. The two main points of keyword SEO are:

Those who focus mainly on web traffic are those who simply care about visitors to their website. This method can suit a webpage, depending on its purpose. If you are a social network or a blog for example, this may be the way forward. They typically will use more general keywords. On the far opposite if you are an internet store and you take this method then you should ask yourself the question of "do I really care more about traffic on my site, or do I care more about the actual conversion rate of traffic to sales?”

The answer in this case should almost always be the conversion rate. This approach would put more weight on using more specific keywords that directly correlate to the products or services that you offer. The general way to do this is to make sure that most of the keywords and keyword phrases that you use are specifically about a single product for your page. For example if you men’s leather shoes made by SEOSHOE's then your phrase would look more like "SEOSHOE Men’s leather slip on shoes" and have these keywords for all of your different products, vs simply having "men’s leather shoes".

the reason searches like this have a higher conversion rate is because if a user is searching for exactly the product that you sell then it is much more likely that they will find exactly what they were looking for on your site, meaning they will be more likely to purchase from your store.

Keyword demand and how to calculate it

The demand of a keyword is relative to its monthly search volume (which is also relative to competition) and there are a number of ways to get the monthly search volume of a keyword, and a relatively easy way is to simply check on google AdWords. This is a free research tool made directly by Google for businesses who want to see the efficiency of their website.

This tool drives you to focus on AdWords specific content so you need to be aware in the differences of the toggles for AdWords and keywords. A couple of hints I can give is when you enter your seed keywords, it would likely be beneficial to change the default "ad word ideas" to "keyword ideas". Also after you've built that list you should click "review estimates" and then toggle once again from AdWords to keywords before you'll see any particularly useful data. If you didn’t know this then it could be considered quite difficult, but still useful for data research.

Generally this data can be used to see which of your keywords are generating the most organic traffic and where most of your actual customers who make a transaction come from. This allows you to see which of your keywords are generating the most income for your company and how much money per click that keyword has to you, and this is very useful data.

Some other important parts in research

After doing all of your research and probably after using a multitude of different tools for your research it is vital that you analyse your work and see what’s working the best. This is a step you cannot do until you have actually started a campaign, but this is the best way to really get the best out of your campaign. It will allow you to tweak all of your work to the utmost efficiency. Look at what is working best, then try and figure out why.

Using this you can adjust all of your keywords accordingly to get better results across the entire board. It is always important to note that you should never lose sight of what you want the most; sheer magnitude of traffic or a high conversion rate from traffic to actual custom. This, after all should be the base of your entire campaign, but remember to always try and optimise for both and only focus on one slightly more than other depending on your websites purpose.

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