In the world of digital marketing, one of the most fundamental tactics used to lay the groundwork for a successful marketing strategy is keyword research. When marketers think of “keyword research”, usually their minds think of two different marketing aspects—first SEO and second ad targeting. But keyword research can also be a key component of a company’s visibility and content strategy. Not to mention, it’s a good way to keep up to date with what your competition is doing and any changes in the market that can affect your ability to generate sales or leads for your business.

Keyword research serves three core purposes: SEO, ad targeting, and content strategy.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Utilizing these three aspects of digital marketing effectively enables you to generate more visibility online. In SEO, keyword research is the foundation for aligning your website’s content with what your potential customers are searching for. This allows you to be able to give your target audience the right information, at the right time. By identifying the correct keywords for your website using keyword research, you can improve your chances of ranking your website higher on the search engine results page, without necessarily having to spend money on search ads. Additionally, this connects your business with thousands of people who are already searching for what you have to offer. By understanding the keywords that your target audience is searching for, and then you can tailor the content on your website, to satisfy their needs, and improve the chance that those users will come back to your business in the future, and become loyal customers.

Ad Targeting

In search ads, keyword research allows you to find the best keywords for your brand, which allows you to show text-based Google search ads (or other search engine ads) relevant to the audience that is searching for the specific keywords you are targeting. This ensures that not only are you able to target the right audience, but can also ensure that you do not accidentally target the wrong audience and waste ad spend in the process. In display ads, keyword research can help you determine what web pages to show your image, text, or video ads from Google, based on whether those keywords are contained on which pages on your website. This is especially important for search ads because ad relevance is a large factor that can affect your quality score, and could have the potential to either increase or decrease your overall cost per click for your search ads in the future.

Content Strategy

Another purpose for keyword research relates to your content strategy. Keyword research allows you to understand what language your audience uses to find out more about your products through search queries. This gives you the ability to determine what your target audience is interested in and can help to improve how well your content on social media, organically and through paid advertising, resonates with them. By creating content on your social media that resonates with your audience, you can improve your follower count, improve engagement, and build an online presence in the social media sphere, which is all too important to have in today’s media-focused society. Organically speaking, by creating blog posts, service/product pages, and other content on your website, you can increase the organic ranking for certain keywords, removing the “paid” aspect of search results, and allowing for an increased chance that a new customer will find their way to your website on their own, and increase the chances of turning them into loyal customers.

Fundamentals of Keyword Research

Now that we have figured out what the purpose of our keyword research is, we must figure out what determines which are the best keywords to use as ideas for content. There are a few factors to consider when deciding on which keywords to select for your content strategy. Four common factors include the keyword relevance to your content, domain authority, the search volume of said keyword, and competitor use of the keyword. Relevance is important because it helps to inform search engines that the content located on your page, is going to fulfill the needs of the user who is searching for the keywords you want to rank for. If you have an ad for example, that is promoting specialty body wash for people with sensitive skin, you would rank lower for the keyword “body wash” than you would for the keyword “body wash for sensitive skin”. By figuring out the specific keywords that are relevant to your content, you can ensure that when people find your website or content from a search engine, you aren’t just putting a potential customer in front of a generic website with generic information that may or may not be relevant to their ACTUAL needed solution. 

Keyword search volume is another metric that is important to keep in mind, seeing that just because a keyword is perfect for your business and what you want to rank for, doesn’t mean that it will benefit you if the search volume is nonexistent. However, that doesn’t mean low search volume should immediately rule it out, because there are times when your product/service is so finely tuned to a certain demographic, that when they search for a certain keyword that may be very niche and with low search volume, they are perfectly primed to be ready to convert if they were to land on your website. In this case, low search volume is a good thing, as that means there’s no competition, and you don’t have to worry about running paid ads in order to try and rank higher for these keywords.

Keyword Research Tools

There are many tools that are available for anyone to use for free on the internet that help you to find potential keyword ideas, as well as analyze keyword data such as search volume, competitor use, keyword variations, and more. Some of the most popular tools that you can use in order to find the keywords that will drive your content strategy include:

Additionally, you can also just start with a general idea, open a new page on your favorite search engine, and start entering in things you might search for if you were a customer looking for a solution that your company can provide. Auto-complete can be a great method for finding additional keywords, in order to refine and hone in on more specific keywords that are relevant to your customer base, giving you more definitive topics to focus on generating website content for.

This is not a comprehensive list, and each individual company will require different solutions to their unique and individual needs, but in general, the purpose of utilizing these research tools are all pretty similar: find the keywords that will be the most effective for your business to use in order to rank for the most relevant searches on search engines. If you put time and effort into putting together a great keyword strategy, through keyword research, you will find it easier and easier to not only rank higher on the search results page without spending money, but you will also help your potential customer base to ensure they will find what they are looking for, at the right time, and hopefully, in a state of mind where they are primed to become loyal customers for life.