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What is keyword research and why is it important?

By February 17, 2021No Comments

A Beginner’s Guide to Keyword Research

If you want to run in the other direction when you hear words like “SEO” and “keyword research,” you’re not alone. Marketing, SEO, and all of the tips, tricks, and strategies that come with them can feel really intimidating, especially if this isn’t your area of expertise.  In this blog, we’re going to break keyword research down for you. We’re going to talk about what keywords are, why and how you should use them, and how keyword research fits into all of that. Then, we’ll finish up by giving you some basic things to consider when starting keyword research. Let’s get started!

What are keywords?

First thing’s first, you need to understand what keywords are. Put simply, keywords are the words and/or phrases that people type into a search engine (like Google, Youtube, Bing, or Yahoo). A “keyword” refers to the word or phrase that you would type in — so, don’t be surprised when you see a phrase or a group of words called a keyword (because it is!).

In the first image, the keyword is the phrase “adidas shoes” and in the second, it is “how to use instagram.”

How do you use keywords?

As you can see, keywords are actually a pretty basic concept — they are just the words people type in a search engine! So, let’s move on to the more important stuff: how you use them and how they benefit you. Keywords are used as a tool in search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising. Let’s take a look at each of them.

  1. Keywords & SEO

Google has a methodology by which they rank websites in their search results. Their job is to rank the most relevant results for every search, so your job is to optimize your webpages, blogs, etc., to get ranked higher. That’s where keywords come in. When you use keywords properly and effectively in your URLs, titles, headers, image descriptions, and meta data, you’re improving your SEO rank, which improves your search engine rank. The higher your ranking, the more likely you are to drive traffic to your website.

Luckily, you don’t just have to guess what’ll work and leave it up to the fates. There are tons (and we mean tons!) of tools, software, and even companies who will do all of this for you. We’re going to touch a little more on how you can get started yourself later in this post, so stay tuned.

  1. Keywords & Pay-Per-Click Advertising

The second way that you can utilize keywords to drive traffic to your website is through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. You know how sometimes you perform a Google search and a few websites come up at the top with the word “Ad” before them? That’s through PPC advertising. (See the image below for an example).

The way PPC advertising works is that you pay Google to display your website when people search for certain keywords. For example, if you’re a nutrition coach in Los Angeles, you could bid on the phrase “nutrition coach in Los Angeles” and your website will appear at the top of the search results when people search that. That’s why it’s crucial to know which keywords to use…and that’s where keyword research comes in.

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is the process of creating a long list of keywords that you would like your website to rank for. To do so, you will research your target market, search engines, competition, and more. This can be done both manually and by using software/tools (Google Ads Keyword Planner, free keyword research/tracking tools), and of course, you can hire out to have someone do this task for you.

One thing we want to stress here is that keyword research isn’t a quick one-and-done task. Your list of keywords should be long, even if your business is very niche and focused. Of course, you can’t claim that every word or phrase is a valid keyword for your business (because it’s not), but you do want to identify as many keywords that will be relevant to your SEO and add value to your business.

Things to Consider When Doing Keyword Research

Two big things to consider when doing keyword research are volume and value. Are you trying to rank for keywords that are very common but not very relevant to your business? If so, you might want to choose different keywords.

Let’s go back to the nutrition coach example to see how this plays out. Say you’re a health coach who is also certified to teach yoga, so you write some blogs about yoga. “Yoga teacher” might be a very popular keyword that is somewhat relevant to what you do, but it’s not the main service you provide. So, it’s likely not in your best interest to try to rank for that phrase, because the people searching for that phrase aren’t looking to buy your services…they’re looking for a yoga teacher. See how it works?

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into keywords, SEO, and keyword research! We hope this blog served as an introduction to keywords and keyword research. Now, it’s up to you to get started on your keyword research and implement what you learn. Happy evolving!

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