Keyword Research – What is it and why it matters to your business

Market research is crucial to business success. It gives you valuable insight into what your audience wants, thinks and feels, and it also gives you the data you need to make powerful, lucrative and successful strategic decisions moving forward.

Market research isn’t limited to just the sales and advertising areas of your business. In fact, they play a vital role in your company’s web success, too.

Unfortunately, too few business owners realize this, and when it comes to developing a new website, launching a digital marketing campaign or when starting up new paid advertising campaign, the market research step is very often overlooked or not done properly.

I’ve even come across business owners who have poured thousands into new, state-of-the-art websites, all without once taking a step back to learn about their audience, research their needs and make sure they’re on the right path.

It’s a huge mistake to say the least (not to mention a waste of money!)

Fortunately, it’s never too late to get that market research in, so you can re-tool and re-strategize your efforts. In fact, there’s one simple type of research that can make all your online efforts more successful from the get-go – and it doesn’t take much work at all! It’s called “keyword research,” and I want to walk you through the ins and outs of it now.

What are Keywords?

Before we go too far into the “research” aspect, let’s get back to the basics. Exactly what are keywords? And what do they mean for your website?

To explain, head over to Google. Pretend you’re looking for a place to eat tonight. Do a quick Google search to find the perfect restaurant, and take note of the words and terminology you use in the search. Did you type “Italian restaurant in Vancouver”? Or maybe “best Italian restaurant”? Whatever you have used, that was your keyword – the term you used to bring up search results.

Keywords can be any combination of words and phrases, and they are used by the search engine to show you what it considers to be the best, most relevant webpages to match your needs.

From a business standpoint, it’s these same keywords that will connect customers to your website, to your business and to your products or services. If you want to ensure your site is found by ready, willing-to-buy customers, you need to find out what keywords they’re using and then optimize your website and other online efforts around those terms. It’s a simple, holistic approach that is guaranteed to bring success.

Finding Your Customers’ Keywords

To find out what keywords your potential customers are using when looking for your products, services and company, you need to do keyword research. The most popular tool used to do this is the Google Keyword Planner, a free, online tool that’s open to anyone with a valid Google AdWords account.

Business owners often assume they know exactly what terms and phrases their customers are using. While listing out what you “think” are good keywords may be a good place to start, it’s definitely not the best way to nail down a solid keyword strategy. With Keyword Planner, you can put these “potential” keywords in, get detailed data about search volume and competition, and even get suggested keywords based on your website, competitors and content.

You’ll also be able to discover:

  • Relevant keywords lists – You might think your locksmith clients are searching for “emergency locksmith” or maybe “Vancouver locksmith,” but there are actually dozens of other terms they may be using more often. A lot of people search for things like “locked out” or “lost my key,” and using the Keyword Planner, you can discover these alternative, often-overlooked keywords for your space. They may just be the goldmine of the website traffic you’re looking for.
  • Search volume & competition – With the Keyword Planner, you can also see important quantitative data about potential keywords, including the monthly search volume and the level of competition of each one. This gives you great insight into which keywords can bring in the most business, as well as which ones your competitors are using and which ones will be hardest to rank highly for. I know from experience that viewing search volume and competition is crucial before settling on a keyword. As an example, we recently had a Hebrew speaking mortgage broker contact us to build her website. She had it in her mind that her website would attract people who search for “Hebrew speaking mortgage broker.” With just a few minutes of keyword research, we were able to determine that no one searches for this keyword, and the entire marketing approach had to be changed to meet the reality of the web.

Like any strategic venture, good, solid research should always be the first step. In the web space, doing proper keyword research can ensure your site gets the attention, traffic and business it deserves – before you pour too much money or effort into it.

Why Do we Need Our Keywords First?

Keywords need to be an integral part of your online marketing strategy from the beginning. That means before you build your site, before you write a word of content and certainly before you launch any sort of SEO or digital marketing campaign.

By knowing what people search for up-front you are better able to:

  • Create content that meets your customers’ needs
  • Optimize your web pages so that they are found when a potential client searches the web for the services you offer (and achieve a high page ranking)
  • Create efficient and cost-effective paid search campaigns

All in all, your keywords need to play a role in your site’s URL structure, coding and styling, they should influence your page titles, menus, meta descriptions and on-page copy, and they should even be considered when choosing and uploading images.

By knowing these keywords from the very beginning, you can ensure your website is optimized from top to bottom – across every inch. This allows you to get the most from your online presence (and your SEO efforts) and helps you secure a top spot for your market’s most coveted keywords.

Need Help?

Need help choosing the best keywords for your brand? Want to learn how to put those keywords to best use? Contact Spot On Digital Marketing today. Our experts are here to help.


About the author 

Michelle Castillo

Michelle is an online marketing expert , passionate about helping business owners to benefit from today’s online technology. I provide my clients with hype-free concise advice and services about the reality of what online success requires.

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