Keyword research is arguably the most important task to do for your website with regards to search engine optimization or search marketing. Why? Because you might create a great website but discover that no one finds it on the internet. The internet is like a telephone book with name and contact information. But, how do you get someone to find your name unless someone already knows it?

In an ideal world, great websites with useful, valuable information regarding the topic you search for will show up in the order of usefulness or relevance. Business owners, individuals, or organizations who build their websites will just focus on their particular topic and create content around it.

In actuality, there is a tremendous amount of websites created to spam users and are full of duplicate content people took from one website and changed a few words to “make it their own.” Often these sites are full of Google Ads or other ads. And they know how to get their website to show up before yours!

These bad sites often have to do with spammy link building, although, with search engines like Google, they may get removed or pushed to the bottom.

This is where keyword research can help. If you are selling some type of marketing services, you want to show up in the search engines when individuals search for “marketing services”. To do so, you should know the words people search so your website shows, at or close to the beginning of the search results, and not bad ones and spammer sites. But, you want to use this information in a responsible and ethical manner to make your content as available as possible to the people searching for it.

Keyword Difficulty

From a business perspective, you want your website to be found with an easy and intuitive search term. “Marketing services” does seem like an intuitive term to search for. But, surprisingly, the trend for this search term is going down. Does it mean that the business of marketing is going down? Absolutely not! People are starting to use different search terms or “lingo”.

Social media marketing, however, is on the uptrend. What else is on the uptrend? Are there other search terms people are using? How competitive are these search terms.

“Social media marketing” has 292 million results in Google Canada. Do you want to compete with all these other results? This is something you need to find out if you want visitors to find you in the search engine. This is where keyword research can help.

On the other hand, people may look for quartz and you might do some basic research and find that it’s on the uptrend. You think your “quartz counter top” business will do well because of this, but, maybe (I haven’t checked this) people are really looking for quartz watches. So, your website doesn’t end up getting the right visitors.

Getting more specific in your search terms allows you to focus in on your target audience. This requires something called long-tail keyword research. An example of this would be to optimize your site for “cornerstone red quartz countertop” instead of “quartz countertop”. Notice that the first keyword is more specific while the second is more general.

Getting specific helps you attract more targeted visitors. You may think that optimizing for the general term is good because you want more visitors, but, having the right visitors is actually better.

Keyword Value

Another aspect of keyword research is keyword value. How valuable, from a business perspective, is the keyword. For example, some terms may have few results, but, people click on the results because it’s relevant. The purchases from these clicks might be a lot even though there are few results. The value of this search term would be high because of all the purchases and possibly the scarcity of online sellers.

Other terms may generate millions of results, but, few people click on it because the results aren’t relevant. The keyword value would be low.

Keyword Research Benefits

Depending on the depth of research, keyword research can help you in the following ways:

  1. Learn which terms for your niche are popular and their trend
  2. Narrow down sub-niches related to your main search term
  3. Determine which search terms are difficult to compete with
  4. How valuable is a keyword term

Doing keyword research before building your website can help guide the overall design and strategy of your website(s). However, if you already have a website, you can modify and reorganize your site after completing some research to improve it’s user experience and results in the search engine.