As with most inbound marketing initiatives, trying to explain what keyword research is to non-marketers typically ellicts the usual confused look followed by a questioning glance. However, the importance of defining your audience through in-depth keyword analysis is vital to the success of any online business. In fact, conducting your business online without a thorough understanding of your keyword situation is akin to driving without a map.
Most keyword research begins with the free Google Keyword Tool, where you can input your initial keywords and Google will assist with a voluminous list of additional words that you may want to consider. What Google then provides is an estimate of the monthly search volume for each keyword along with an estimate of how much competition there is for that particular keyword.
From this simple start, the process involves expanding this list to include any and all relevant terms that apply to your mission. I prefer generating as large of a list as possible and then parsing this list based on defining factors such as search volume, competition and overall relevancy.
One of the most enjoyable parts of keyword research is finding those diamonds in the rough that provide lots of searches and low competition. This type of analysis takes time and discipline, so it’s nice to be rewarded for your efforts.
Once you have your list, preferrably downloaded to a spreadsheet so you can maniupluate the data, the next step is to prioritize your content opportunities based on the available criteria. Always keep in mind that the people searching for a particular term are looking for high quality content that resolves the issue that they’re searching for.
So if you’re considering a term based on high traffic/low competition, but you don’t have relevant content for it, you’re probably not going to be successfully. Focus on keywords that are within your realm of expertise. The better the content, the more backlinks and social citations, the more traffic you’ll generate.