Keyword Research – the heart of successful SEO

We Used to Call it “Market Research”

Ok, we concede that keyword research will not replace traditional market research – yet.

However, the crossover between the disciplines is hard to ignore:

  • Market research is about determining who your ideal customer is – So is keyword research.
  • Market research is about determining how your ideal customer behaves – So is keyword research.
  • Market research is about determining how to tell your story to your ideal customer – So is keyword research.

We could go on, but you get the idea.

First of all, let’s define how not to do keyword research.

Holiday DogsMany people, and even SEO companies, think that keyword research is nothing more than logging into the Google Keyword Planner (a tool for getting volume estimates on search “queries” – i.e. keywords) or some other service and determine what search queries are the most popular.  Then optimize the website for those popular keywords.

So you might ask, “what’s wrong with that?”  Our answer would be that it’s a good start, but it doesn’t go far enough.

Let’s pretend that your business is selling Miami vacation packages.  You have a website set up for this purpose, naturally.  Let’s furthermore say that you employ an Internet Marketing consultant.  This SEO “expert” goes off to do some “keyword research.”  He or she comes back and says “the keyword ‘Miami Vacations’ is extremely popular – 5,000 people per month search on that.”

You think to yourself “gosh, I already knew that.”  But since you are polite you ask, “so what now.”  The expert now tells you, “I need to optimize several of your pages for ‘Miami vacation’.”  You agree of course, because why else did you hire the expert.

Unfortunately the expert has merely helped you to target a search term where you have to compete with thousands of other optimized sites.  And what both of you fail to realize is that there are more interesting opportunities for you to acquire an enthusiastic audience of ideal customers.

How to do Keyword Research for Web Marketing and Search Engine Optimization

Our approach is no secret.  We dig into keyword research with the goal of determining more than just which keywords that you already know that are popular.  We also want to ask “What’s important to the type of customer you are trying reach?”  

For example, our keyword research might discover that many people who want to come to Miami are more interested in the timing of their visit, so they type in questions like “What’s the best time to plan a vacation in Florida.”

Tropical beach with lifeguard house and palm trees in MiamiThis is something few may have thought of in a traditional marketing program.  It’s the type of insight that springs up when your enlightened SEO Firm slash Online Marketing Consultant  does creative research with an open mind and an interest in the behavior of your audience, not just the statistics spit out by a search engine tool.  

So perhaps your enlightened online marketing consultant suggests to create an annual weather guide to Miami showing which attractions and deals are best at which times of year.  You invite your former customers to contribute their own suggestions.  

This opens the door to tons of people doing research for this year’s vacation, and next year’s, and the years to come finding and bookmarking your page because it’s a great resource.  Some of them share your page on Facebook.  Others create links to your page on their own personal blogs.  When the time comes to actually plan and book their vacation, who do they already know about?  That’s right.  You.

In other words, keyword research is about understanding the mindset of your ideal customer and then connecting with them at an entirely different level than before.  This is a small example of keyword research at an elevated level.

Such Keyword Research is only part of our SEO packages of course, but without that crucial part there’s a good chance you’ll be wasting your time and money. 

Contact us to learn more about how keyword research can help you achieve your web marketing goals.