Keyword research is a practice which a website owner or a professional uses to find out popular words and phrases which people type in search engines around a particular topic. Keyword research is used to figure out what people are searching for around a given topic. Once keyword research is done, the website owner or the blogger figures out what type of content needs to be created to get more traffic, customers, leads or sales of products and services.

Let me illustrate this with an example.

Let us assume John owns and runs a business on shoes. He sells footwear and other items to people and also maintains a website. John observes that his website received 100 sales every month. He wants to improve the sales of items from his website.

John hires Sarah who is a search engine optimizer and tells her to increase the traffic to his website, so that he is able to make more sales.

Now it is Sarah’s responsibility to increase relevant traffic for John’s website and fulfill the requirement. Here is what she will do as part of her optimization strategy

  • She will first see what type of website John has and what is the target niche where John operates in. In this case, it is “Shoes”.
  • The “Shoes” or “Footwear” niche is too broad. She will then narrow down the niche – “Shoe stores in California” or “Trendy shoes from New York” or “Stylish shoes for College goers”. In this way, Sarah will identify different segments in the same niche which can be targeted for more sales.
  • Now that Sarah has found out the smaller niches, segments and other sub-markets, she will start performing keyword research on each niche to understand what these users actually search for.

Let’s say one of the niche is “Shoes for college festival”. Now Sarah has to figure out what keywords and phrases people type in search engines for this niche. For this purpose, Sarah has to use a Keyword research tool to find out relevant keywords, phrases and the long tail of search.

There are many free keyword research tools out there but since Sarah is a professional and wants better, concise and actionable results, she uses a premium Keyword research tool – SEM Rush

Here is her first impressions about the phrase match

The keyword research tool tells Sarah what are the phrases and sentences used by actual users in search engines. This tells Sarah what people are actually searching for and are interested in.

Sarah exports the list and sends it to her Content team. Her next step is drafting a content marketing strategy to ensure John’s website has the content which ranks for the keywords which people are searching for.

The Goals of Keyword Research

In short, keyword research has the following goals

  • Identify what words and phrases are being typed by actual users in search engines.
  • Figure out what people are looking for. What is the “actual” demand?
  • Figure out what problems people are having and how they are finding the answers to their questions.
  • Based on this data, build a content marketing plan and publish relevant content on your website.
  • Ensure that the published pages ranks for the keywords.
  • Repeat the above steps for more keywords, phrases and sentences.

The above is just a broad overview of the goals of keyword research. There can be many more goals. You can do keyword research for a whole host of things like figuring out for what keywords your competitors are ranking, what are the words for which a particular product brings a particular type of audience, which keywords brings more targeted leads to your website, which keywords converts better, why do some keywords convert better and so on and so forth.

Why is Keyword research important for your business?

Here are some of the reasons why keyword research is so important for your business.

  1. Keyword research is important because if you don’t know what your targeted users are actually searching on the internet, you cannot build solutions to cater to their need.
  2. Keyword research is important because keyword research enables you to create content on your website or blog which in turn brings more traffic to your website. With more traffic, you can sell more products, services or convert that traffic into advertising revenue.
  3. Keyword research is important because it enables you to discover different needs and wants from different corner of the market. It helps you diversify your product offering and tweak your business according to the demands of the market.
  4. Keyword research is important because it helps you discover what your competitors are doing and for what words and phrases they are getting the ranks. Based on this data, you can plan your approach on how you can change your business and what your business needs at this point in time.

In short, keyword research helps you identify new business opportunities and let’s you build content which people are desperately searching for. With the content and proper optimization, you will be able to get more traffic to your sites which in turn will convert into sales or revenue through advertising.

Keyword research is a fairly big subject and this was just an overview of what keyword research is and what are the objectives of doing keyword research. To learn more on keyword research, you will need to use keyword research tools to discover different niches and have to play around with those keywords on your website. You have to create content around those keywords and see the results, only then you will master keyword research and understand how it works.

Also, remember that it is not just keyword research that is important to grow your business. There are other related aspects which you need to take care of. Keyword research will enable you to identify more opportunities of getting targeted and relevant traffic to your sites or landing pages. What you do with the traffic and how you convert the traffic is completely up to your website’s monetization strategy.