The importance of keyword research

The Last Hurdle

1st October 2018


The Last Hurdle

IN this month's column I want to highlight how important it is to conduct regular keyword researches, or at least one when your website is first built.

Earlier this month I was conducting a competitor analysis for a client, reviewing competitor websites, before assigning key terms to a new website. One well-known local site I visited had the url string /services/corporate/ any idea what they do? No! And neither will Google and the other search engines! A classic example of a lack of keyword optimisation.

A keyword or keyterm is the word, or more likely a collection of words, that some one will utilise in a search engine like Google to find your website products or services. The keyword should appear in the body, title and url of the page you are optimising (as well as a number of other places). The theory is if your keyword or term matches the phrase used by the searcher then your page or post will show in the search engine listings. In reality it is a lot more complex than that. Google and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo want to provide the best match, so there are a number of factors like how relevant the rest of the site is, proximity to the searcher and a whole host of other considerations. It all starts, however, with your keyword or term.

A keyword research is just that - you are researching what people will put into a search engine when looking for the products or services you offer. But it is so much more. When you utilise software like SEMRush or Wordtracker, you are able to see not just the term you enter but all related or similar words and phrases and how much competition there is for the keyword. That last is rather important. For example, according to our preferred research software, SEMRush, the phrase: 'social media marketing' is searched for in the UK, on average, 8,100 times per month. Great! But before you optimise a page on your website for this keyterm you should consider the competition. In this case, SEMRush states there are 1.1 billion pages (worldwide) with this phrase as the keyword. So, you are competing with 1.1 billion webpages for the 8,100 searchers. Not so good! This is where you might want to choose a more winnable key phrase. One where your chances of receiving the traffic to your site is a little greater. Consider drilling down into what you do a little further, to find a more winnable, quite often longer, key phrase. This can take quite a bit of time, but the effort will pay off.

Of course, online trends change and how we use the internet changes, what we call things also changes, therefore how we search for the product or service also changes. That's why it is so important to conduct regular keyword researches, to ensure our sites are optimised for the correct terms, in such a fast paced, transient environment, it is far too easy to be left behind.

The Last Hurdle