What the H*ck is Keyword Research in SEO For

Seriously, actually what is it for?

To index well the content of your website and find out your strategy going forward. (What is keyword research? click here and here to find out the definitions)

Pick your Keywords for Effectiveness

There are two types of keywords that you are going to think about:

  1. Branded
    Keywords that include your brand name, company name, or trademarks, etc. E.g: Mac, Apple, Microsoft, iOS, Android, etc.
  2. Non-branded
    Keywords that do not include your brand. E.g: operating systems, laptop, etc.

Tips: focus on your non-branded keywords and exclude your branded keywords to look at SEO effectiveness.

Types of keywords that might come across by length and along with it also comes specificity:

  1. Head keywords
    Head keywords are search terms that are short, popular, and straightforward, e.g: Microsoft Office. These keywords are generally competitive to rank for in search results.
  2. Mid-tail keywords
    Search terms that are specific, long phrase, that include one or more modifiers, such as “Microsoft Office Words 2013” .
  3. Long-tail keywords
    This one is more specific than the others. Long-tail keywords are keyword phrases with at least three, sometimes four or five, words in them. E.g: “Microsoft Office Words 2013 shortcut menu”.

The length of each keywords will affect the volume, cost, competition, and search frequency. The longer keywords you use will result in low search frequency, less volume, and less competition. This also means lower cost.

Search and keywords by length - Wira Asmo
Search and keywords by length

But the more specific keywords people use, the higher quality visitor they can be to your website.

For example, if you have a chocolate shop. Obviously there will be a ton of searches of “chocolate”. But, you do not actually know if those people want to purchase chocolate or just look for general information, pictures, or something else. So many possibilities exist if you use short terms, yet you will not know if they are going to be your customer or not.

Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, will give you more specific and more valuable customers. For example, people will search for “fast shipping chocolate for valentine gift for girlfriend“. This keyword is considered long but valuable and specific to what people need. Often people who use these long-tail keywords are ready to act as soon as they find what they are looking for. Therefore, using long-tail keywords, will not only get you the traffic but also bring good quality visitors.

How do we know if it is worth my investment?

SEO is a process and this is investment for your website and its future results. You will not be in the number one of Search Engine Result Page (SERP) in a day. It takes some time, especially for a new website. Generally as you are working through this, the goal is to initially break through and make your website appear on the first page, eventually to be number one result. But again, do not focus on rank, rather to creating good quality content that will make you more searchable on search engines.

Look at this graph!

Click-through rate graph by search position - source: Microsoft Bing
Click-through rate graph by search position – source: Microsoft Bing

Graph shows Click Through Rate (CTR) which directly relates to the position a website appears in a SERP. If your website is on the first page, you are the most visible. Typically a user will a little bit lazy to open more pages to find what they are looking for.

What are you going to do with Keyword Research?

Here are steps you can take to get started with keyword research:

  1. Create keyword lists that your content creator or a specialist can use in your/their content writing.
  2. Optimize your content for search engines to rank highly against a particular theme. In this case you can use your keywords over and over again in the content.
  3. Target content for promotion in social media and for “baiting links” using the most effective terms.
  4. Organize internal linking and site architecture, and choosing anchor text for internal links.

How to start Keyword Research?

Before you do everything related to the research, you need to brainstorm terms based on user intent and/or value to organizational goals, and objectives. So that you can make a seed-list. Here’s the workflow:

  1. Identify the broadest possible set of terms
  2. Determine which keywords are most popular–not just the highest volume overall but the highest volume of really relevant keyword phrases.
  3. Find some that are most realistic for you. If you are just starting off, probably the long-tail and specific ones are the best for you to start to optimize your site and really see some effects a bit faster. Do not forget about your competitor and do not overdo. If you are only a local store, try to focus only on a certain region.
  4. Mind the negative keywords. Determine which keywords you do not want to target to avoid the not-so-good quality traffic.
  5. You also need to identify the language of your customers when they are looking for what you have and searching the answer for their questions in search engine.

Why do keywords matter?

Because everything in a search engine starts with keywords. With no one starting and typing the keywords, nothing will happen.

Why are these so important? Because this is the way you are going to gain new potential customers who are not yet aware of you.

– Wira Asmo from various sources. Credit to PC and OF



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