What is Keyword Research & Why Is It Important for SEO?


Simply put, keyword research is the process in which you find out the keywords or phrases that people are using to find business like yours online. It is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing as is used to optimise a website and gain higher search engine rankings.

When we consider that around 90% of people use a search engine to find what they are looking for online, its importance quickly becomes obvious. Many people do not even click beyond the first page of search engine results, so ensuring that you get your keyword research is spot on and driving relevant traffic to your website is an important consideration.

Essentially, keyword research is the building blocks of your online business and when done effectively, in the long-term it will drive high quality traffic to your help that will generate leads or conversions and return strong levels of return on investment for your business.

Basic Considerations of Keyword Research

One common mistake that many online businesses make with their keyword research is trying to rank for broad, or as I like to call them, vanity keywords. These are keywords that are strongly associated with your business that will usually have a lot of monthly search volume but high levels of competition.

Why are these a problem?

These are keywords that many business owners wish to rank strongly but simply put they are going to bring your leads and revenue. They tend to be very broad and are more often than not are used by someone who is looking for a general overview of the industry or subject and is not actually going to be looking to convert.

Examples of these types of keywords could include:

  • marketing
  • shoes
  • hotels

Sure, these types of keywords would be great to rank highly for on the first page of a search engine, but they are not refined enough to drive quality traffic to your website that is going to convert. You will also be competing with well-known brands who are going to rank for these terms due to the authority of their websites. Investing your time and resources into these keywords would lead you with not much to show for it and being out of pocket.

Instead, refining your keywords and focusing on ones that are more relevant to your audience and your offerings, and most importantly, those that have higher-conversion intent, is going to prove to be far more lucrative in terms of the traffic visiting your website.

When we look at the following keywords you can see that the user is going to have a higher conversion intent as the keyword is much more refined and focused on a particular product of service:

  • email marketing platform
  • men’s adidas trainers
  • hotels in central london

As you can see, these keywords are much more focused on a product or service and are going to have a higher conversion intent from the users, meaning that they are worth your time to focus upon them.

While it is important to be aware of the more generic keywords, these should only be monitored and should not be the target keywords of your SEO campaign. Instead you should opt

These are considered to be long-tail-keywords and are an important part of any businesses keyword research.

Why are Long-tail Keywords Important?

Google and other search engines are able to crawl and analyse results from over 1 billion websites online to return the most appropriate results to serve the user’s search query.

This means that the search engines need to be programmed to with algorithms and crawlers to understand the language and content of keywords. While these longer-tail keywords tend to have considerably less search volume, the likelihood of converting with these keywords increases much more.

If we go back to our earlier examples, you can see the difference and why they are so powerful:

  • email marketing platform with free trial
  • men’s adidas samba trainers size 10
  • hotels in central London under £150

As you can see these are keywords that are even more focused and even include a particular size or desired price. Having your website appearing for these sorts of search queries means that you are going to have the attention of people who are looking to convert in that moment.

Don’t be put off by the low search volume because these really are going to help you achieve your revenue targets. Using these in your SEO strategy is going to help you gain visibility in front of the right audience and benefit from high-quality traffic that drives conversions.

Think in Terms of Topics, Not Single Keywords

The days of ranking a particular page for a particular keyword are long gone, you need to be thinking in terms of topics or concepts for your pages and not just one or two keywords.

Google has always tried emphasising in recent years that it does not want keywords to be the main influence behind content creation for pages.

The advent of Google Rank Brain, which is a machine learning algorithm that is used to sort the search results and help Google to better understand search queries. Rank Brain goes beyond matching keywords on a webpage to the search query and transforms the search query into a concept and returns pages that match these.

Therefore, you need to be drawing upon a wide range of keywords in relation to your topic or concept and looking to incorporate them into your onsite content. Simply creating a page per keyword with the intent of ranking it is an outdated SEO strategy that is only going to provide minimal success and not serve you well in the long-term.