Fun With Keyword Research

Developing your product, marketing it, and talking about it on social media sites are some of the exciting and fun aspects of starting your business. You’ll notice that keyword research didn’t make that list but all the efforts with the fun stuff will be wasted without it. The importance of keyword research, however mundane it may be, cannot be understated. Done correctly, it will be one of the critical building blocks of your business. Do your keyword research using shortcuts and assumptions and your internet strategy will never reach fruition.

Uncovering and selecting the optimal keywords for your website will require time and effort to determine the terms being used to search for your products and/or services. How much traffic those terms generate, and the sites that are winning those searches at present will round out the research process.  Completed research will determine which keywords your site is most relevant for and which terms are winnable, and which ones can deliver a cost effective return.

As painstaking as this research may be, defining the optimal search terms through extensive research in terms of how people outside of your company search will pay dividends for both the short and long term. Most business owners can come up with a laundry list of keywords they think are relevant to their business, the website, its products and services. The problem with taking this kind of shortcut is that the owner’s laundry list of keywords is often different than, for example, someone unfamiliar with a subject that is seeking information on it. Additionally, an insider’s keyword list could be too broad or generic to effectively incorporate into a search engine optimization strategy. An insider might also choose keywords that are too technical or specific to generate any traffic.

The best keywords that come out of research will have four common characteristics:

1) They must be closely or significantly related to the objectives of the website.

2) Content on the site supports these terms.

3) They have enough traffic to support a cost effective, successful SEO strategy.

4) Competition for the terms is low enough to support a cost effective, successful SEO strategy.

Keywords or phrases that have these characteristics will have a great chance of high rankings on the search engine results pages that will lead to visitors and conversions on your site.

Short-cutting the keyword research process leads to three kinds of results:

1) An unfocused, inconsistent, or non-existent SEO strategy

2) Generic terms that have so much competition that SEO failure is almost guaranteed unless you have a “Fortune 500” type of budget.

3) Narrow, overly specific, or “insider” terms that generate no traffic, even if they achieve a top ranking on a search engine results page. As a side note, this is also a trick used by the crummy SEO companies that are out there guaranteeing first page results. Using a long-tail with eight words in the string will get a high ranking but the only people that will ever see it will be you and SEO guy, who has probably disappeared after a couple months of cashing your checks.

Whether you do the research yourself or pay to have it done, your keyword analysis and research will prove to be the backbone of a successful search engine optimization initiative. That success will pay enough dividends to make its return on investment superior to just about anything else you do with your site. Now that’s fun.

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