Is keyword research valuable?

Yes of course it is.

When starting out in seo on your own or if you employ an agency or consultant, the first thing they should do is carry out keyword research. It is one of the most important aspects of search engine marketing. Keyword research helps you to understand the market demands, the consumer trends and the content people are searching within the web.

So how do you start?
This is nothing fancy, just ask yourself what words you would type into Google to find your site. You must of course think about the keywords relevant for your site. Will people find your site which is about holidays and cheap holiday deals if the content on the site does not contain these words? Probably not. Make sure the content reflects the keywords you want to rank for.

Paid search
Look at the paid search ads, see what advertisement is appearing against the search terms you want to rank for. If there are many search ads then it might mean it is a high value keword.

Use tools
Google Keyword tool gives you an estimate on the amount of traffic for the “exact match” of your keyword. It is a useful benchmark. If you already have a paid search campaign, I would also look at the report and the impression data and click throughs.

I also look at the competitors and see what they are doing. You may be entering into a very competitive market and it may be a very difficult and uphill struggle to rank on the first page. Use the keyword density tool from seobook to help research the competitors

Don’t forget the long tail.
I wrote a post about the long tail in June this year. As I mentioned in the post, the long tail are the words that have about very few visits per month 0 – 5 queries per month. But it represents 70-75% of the volume of all searches. The queries are more focused and more specific and can lead to higher converting keywords.

So now you know the basics, lets get cracking. I often use Google keyword tool as well as Insights for Search. I really like Insights for search as it shows you the trend of a particular keyword over time. This is particularly useful if there has been a product launch or buzz about a certain term. You can see how interest has increased over time.

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