Seo and keyword research
One of the foundational elements of any Search Engine Optimisation campaign is critical importance to understand a number of factors in order to lay the groundwork for success and to avoid optimising for the wrong keywords.
Keyword Phrases vs Generic Keywords
Search engine users type in keyword phrases in order to return results that will hopefully satisfy the intent of their query. It is important to differentiate between a keyword phrase and a generic keyword. Examples of generic keywords include singular words like “accountant”, “hotels” or “marketing”.
Keyword Search Volume
How often is the keyword being searched? There are various free and paid tools available for approximating keyword volume, such as Wordtracker, Wordze and the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. A further point to note is the seasonality and/or spikiness (unusual spike in volume due to the term becoming a hot topic) of a given keyword which will skew the reported number of searches.
A keyword phrase with a higher level of competition will be more difficult to rank for. How many other webpages are competing for the keyword phrase you want to optimise for?
Commercial Intent of Keywords
Consumers will use different language depending on where they are in the buying cycle. Information seekers tend to use broader terms before narrowing their search to more specific keywords as they move closer to making a purchase.
Also, two searchers with different needs may use the same keyword phrase to find what they’re after. Generally, the shorter the keyword phrase, the broader the intent and the greater the potential for ambiguity. Traffic from longer, more specific keyword phrases (commonly referred to as “long tail keywords”) tend to convert better than generic keywords because the visitor has qualified themselves.
Relevance of Keywords
Just because a keyword has a relatively high volume, low competitiveness and high commercial intent doesn’t mean it has anything to do with the goods and services you sell.
Striking a Balance
Keyword research, like many aspects of SEO, is a balancing act which requires the researcher to go beyond merely looking at the metrics. In tandem with cold hard numerical analysis, sucessful keyword selection requires an understanding of pyschology, marketing, language patterns and general knowledge in order to discover the right keywords for your business.
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