Keyword research is an important part of any strategy to increase paid or organic search traffic. It involves using various online tools to discover what words people use while searching for particular information and in what quantities.
This background information can help inform the rest of your campaign and indeed your whole business plan by demonstrating what language is used to search for topics related to your business. Using this information, you can use the right words in your page copy and website code and get your message to the right people.
Target the largest audience
Perhaps the most important aspect of keyword research is simply seeing what terms are popular and using them in your page copy. Are you casting a large net or just focusing on one particular term? Using the keyword tools mentioned above, you can examine these numbers and discover if you’re aiming for a large audience, or if you need to re-evaluate your strategy. You may even find a group of visitors that no one else is reaching out to!
Example: Many people search using codes or abbreviations to refer to locations. For instance, most people will type in a state or province abbreviation rather than a full name, like typing ‘CT’ instead of ‘Connecticut’. By writing out the term in your copy rather than using the more commonly search abbreviation, you are limiting your possible audience.
Target the right audience
Just because you think that your targeted keywords reach out to the right audience does not mean that it is the case. There are many ambiguous terms, generic terms, abbreviations, and misspellings that could bring the wrong types of people to your website, or result in a poor click-through rate if your website does happen to show up in the search engine results in either the paid or organic sections.
This can be as simple as using negative keywords in AdWords or optimizing your website content so that qualifying terms are always included. For instance, a lawyer in Alaska named Michael Jordan should write content that focuses on his legal experience in Alaska, rather than his love of sports. Then, people looking for legal services in that state are more likely to find him.
It’s important to remember that both paid and organic search results are impacted by the content on your landing pages. In paid search, the alignment between your page and the search query effects your quality score, and as a result, can have a direct impact on your cost per click!
No attempt at SEO or paid search should begin without keyword research to frame your efforts. Then, you’ll be on the right track to draw in the largest quantity of visitors and convert then after they arrive.