What Is Keyword Research and Analysis in SEO?
Neglecting SEO is the kiss of death for your business. The lifeblood of your digital marketing endeavors relies on keyword research. Point blank period. Digital marketing encompasses anything you might use to promote your business online: social media updates, your business website, blogging for your industry, online event calendars, company-centric press releases, podcasts, guest blogs, downloadable content (think: eBooks & guides), paid advertisements– you get the idea. Keyword research is the process of discovering what your potential clients are looking for. A digital marketing strategy built around your findings will tailor your online presence to distinctly cater to your target audiences.
Without implementing an effective, entirely unique Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy for your brand, your website will lack the necessary grit to persevere through the literal millions of search engine results. There is a colossal disconnect between well-intentioned business owners and sensible SEO. The short of it is this: if you want potential customers to find you online, you’ll need to either (1) learn how to conduct effective keyword research on your own or (2) hire a company to do so on your behalf. Clients can’t purchase your services if they can’t find them. SEO is how your business is found online– keyword research is the engine of SEO.
SEO Keyword Research for Beginners
Think of keyword research as an earnest attempt to understand who your clients are, what they want, and how they’re searching to find what they want. Yes, we literally mean, what they’re typing into Google. For instance, shoppers looking for the best new budget phone may Google something like: “best budget phone 2018,” “cheap phones,” or “cheap smartphone.” In response, Google’s algorithms will cull content across the web befitting the search query. If your business sells budget phones, but your website never markets them as “budget phones” (or something similar) your potential client will never find you, simply because you failed to research how clients are looking for products.
Learning How to Research Keywords
Keyword research enables you to position yourself in front of the right people at the right time. Keyword analysis is the attempt to understand how achievable your goals are, as dictated by your keyword selections. Choosing SEO keywords to include in your website content and marketing strategy is entirely ineffective without thorough consideration of those particular keywords. Gleaning keywords through a haphazard gaze at an aggregate of industry related keys isn’t enough. You need to know what the likelihood of your brand ranking for those keywords is. Don’t tune out yet.
The metrics behind keywords are critical. Each metric defines a different aspect of how Google (and other search engines like Yahoo and Bing) interacts with a query. And yes, SEO keywords are always queries. If you don’t have research to back up what consumers are looking for, you have no means to substantiate your efforts.
If you can’t produce hard numbers to validate why you’re creating yet another website page on XYZ, we suggest you take another look at managing your resources and time. Both are imperative when opening Pandora’s SEO box. There are literally HUNDREDS of things to do. The metrics behind SEO is what makes online marketing effective. At the bare minimum, you need to understand what comprises a keyword before you can effectively capitalize on them.
Keyword Metrics: What They Are & How to Use Them
Keyword metrics are simply the measurements of how keywords perform. That is, they offer insights into how search querents (your future customers) are looking for products online. Easy enough, right? Once demystified, keyword research is completely doable. Though, there’s a bit of a catch you have to know about. Keyword metrics work in tandem. Wantonly focusing on metrics as individuals kill entire keyword research strategies. Because single-analysis of one metric isn’t a strategy. It’s a leg without the head. Successful websites are crafted with an amalgam of empirical research.
Here’s a quick-shot list of keyword metrics, what the heck they mean, and brief insights on how to leverage them.
Volume: A Measurement of Interest
Volume is the number of times a search query is posed to Google on a monthly basis. Analyzing volume illuminates how many people are searching for a specific query. So, if you sell cell phones, it would behoove you to zero in on which cell phones consumers are searching for. Creating content (website pages, blog posts, etc.) surrounding phone models no one is searching for is a waste of time and resources.
Utilizing volume as an SEO metric is powerful because it directs content creation. (And if it’s not, it should. *Hint hint.*) A simple rule is to pass on subject matters people aren’t looking for. The reasons being: (1) if no one is searching for it, it won’t be found, (2) your time is better spent focusing on creating content that will generate traffic that converts. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but you must master the rules before breaking them.
What’s an ideal search volume, then?
It depends on the type of content you’re creating. You’ll want to focus on larger search volumes– think the 1,000 range– for writing website content. But large search volumes may be a red flag the keyword you’re researching is lacking a “niche” factor. You don’t want to necessarily focus on broad terms. The heart of SEO is driving traffic that converts. You need to focus on terms aimed directly at your services.
So for selling budget cell phones, we wouldn’t attempt to capitalize on “cell phones,” but “budget cell phones,” “cheap cell phones,” “gently used phones.” Get the picture? It’s okay if you don't. This stuff can take time. So what should you do in the meantime? Call us. We’re here to help. A professional will minimize trial and error every time.
What we’re getting at here is: metrics aren’t clear-cut. There are nuances. Knowing how to interpret them is the game changer of an instrumental digital marketing strategy. Revisiting our previous comment on the 1,000 range for search volumes, you want your volume metric to be high, with at least a couple hundred queries. Focusing on smaller search queries equates to highly focused search querants. You don’t necessarily want lots of cursory traffic. You want traffic that’s ready to buy your product or service.
Keyword Difficulty (KD): A Measurement of First Page Status
Just as it sounds, the keyword difficulty metric is a measurement of how arduous it would be to organically rank for the keyword you’re researching. That is, if you create content around XYZ keyword, KD is the likelihood your content will populate on the first page of Google. Because let’s be honest, no one scrolls through the fifth page of Google. (Realistically, keyword difficulty readings reflect the first ten pages of Google.) KD is expressed as a decimal. The closer it comes to 100, the tougher it is to break through the clutter of pre-existing content.
That’s another reason why mobilizing a digital marketing strategy quickly is imperative. Time is absolutely a factor in ranking. Here’s an in-depth look at the keyword difficulty metric.
Cost Per Click (CPC): A Measurement of Paid Ad Movement
If people are paying for it, there may be some merit to said search query. But that’s not always the case. Optimal keywords aren’t always the coveted thousand-volume searches many beginners squirm to break into.
(Spoiler: they don’t make it.)
The cost per click metric outlines how much competitors are paying to place their ads in front of their target audiences. Each time a querent takes the bait and clicks on those top-of-search-engine ads (you know the ones, they usually say “ad” or “sponsored” beside their content) they pay Google their $XYZ cost per click rate.
Competition: A Measurement of Fitness
Oh Darwin, will we ever escape you? Probably not– and especially not in SEO. Competition outlines how rife the population of XYZ content is. In other words, competition measures density. How many? How much? Who else is doing that? Having a clear sense of market saturation is imperative in actualizing a potent digital marketing strategy.
Competition is expressed as a decimal. The closer the count comes to 1.0, the harder it is to cut through the clutter. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to focus on low competition keywords, especially if your website is a fledgling.
There are strategies focusing on appealing to higher competition keywords as a long-term tactic to rank for them, but that discussion is outside the scope of this blog post. (Want to read about it? Let us know in the comments!)
Why Your Business Needs SEO
Short answer: because SEO attracts clients who want to buy your stuff! Let us craft a no-nonsense digital marketing strategy for you. We’ll walk you through the entire process. You should know we’re numbers people. When you sign up with us, you’ll receive monthly digital marketing reports at your fingertips. You’ll know exactly how many new leads we’ve generated for you.
With us, there’s no guesswork.
It’s a no-brainer.
We make your website work for your business so you don’t have to. The sooner you start implementing the right digital marketing strategies, the better your website will be positioned. (And that translates directly to more sales.) SEO and digital marketing take time. Give yourself the headstart you need to manifest the results you want.