How important keyword research is for SEO
We already know that SEO (search engine optimization) aims to increase the organic traffic of a website's page. Not traffic of any kind, but traffic aligned with page’s target: a service, a product, or even a message. To do this, SEO uses keywords that are introduced in search engines such as Google by users, when searching for a specific topic. Now let’s understand how SEO deploys its strategy in choosing which words to use: the keyword research.
What are keywords?
Before getting into the keyword research, for a moment let's go into detail understanding what keywords exactly are. That said, keywords are the terms used by users to perform queries on search engines such as Google or Bing.
So, yes, there are virtually infinite keywords. Try to imagine all the words you know and all their possible combinations. Not only that: add all the languages that exist and combinations of languages. Finally: also consider the crippled versions of the words. In fact, it might seem strange, but this happens very often. For example, the keyword "cappuccino" is introduced on Google on average 1,080,000 times in 1 year, in the US alone. At the same time, the crippled "cappucino" version is used 48,800 times. Not bad in quantity, isn’t it?
In addition, slightly different keywords such as "London airport", "London airports" and "airport London", among other variations, are also different keywords. Each one has a particular research volume, quantity of clicks, and degree of difficulty different from the other. Not rarely, these similar keywords may have even a different search intent.
Understanding these nuances is absolutely essential to choose the keywords that will allow our website content to achieve its goals. Whether it is about selling a product or service or conveying a certain message, the mechanics are always the same.
Now let's see how to choose the best keywords for your content.
What is keyword research?
Now that we understand what keywords are, let's see what the keyword research is. Unfortunately, the understanding of the importance of keyword research is insufficient even in the world of SEO experts and consultants.
In short, keyword research is the activity in which the most important words are chosen to be used in the new content that we are about to create.
Where to search for keywords?
There are numerous tools that allow you to perform keywords research, some free, others require a subscription. Just to mention a few: Ubersuggest, SEMRush, Ahrefs, KWFinder, and the evergreen Moz. Google also provides some tools and features that allow you to spot more opportunities and even refine your search: Google Suggest, Google Trend, and the Google Keyword Planner, related to Google Ads.
How to search for keywords?
While carrying out the research, all necessary topics for a correct choice of keywords must be highlighted and deepened. The most important are:
- search volume: it is the number of searches of a specific keyword, normally within the period of 1 month;
- keyword difficulty: it means how difficult it is to position that specific keyword. Usually, it goes from 0 to 100, where 100 is the maximum degree;
- amount of clicks: shows how much a certain keyword is clicked. Of course, the closer to the search volume, the better;
- search intent: when typing a specific query, what is user basically looking for? Knowing the answer is essential, for instance because some keywords have an intent towards purchasing. For example, "best running shoes" brings with it an intent of those who are evaluating the purchase among the available models. Instead, "how long a running shoe lasts" has a mere informative value;
- trend over time: how the search volume of a particular keyword is behaving over time. As we know that changes are amazingly fast and therefore having the trend in mind is essential.
As previously written, keyword research is often not very well done even among SEO pros. Why that? Many times, due to pure carelessness, search is not done deep enough. Either in the choice of keywords with search intent different than required or maybe that is not directly related to the niche or even with insufficient volume to have substantial impact. Whatever the cause is, a keyword research wrongly performed can have only one result: none.
Why is keyword research so important?
Now we want to delve on the concept just developed based on the quality of keyword research. As a matter of fact, as already highlighted, the lack or even neglecting one or more elements in the keyword research will produce defective data.
Hence, these vices will inexorably be transmitted to the content we are about to create, frustrating its efforts. It is exactly where we can find the importance of keyword research, that is, being the starting point for a content that will intercept the necessary audience. Only after following all the necessary steps will the conditions for success in positioning the content to be created.
Picking keyword with an adequate search volume and level of difficulty, relevant to website’s niche and with a search intent that suites our goal, we have the first and fundamental ingredient to produce effective content.
3 frequent mistakes with keywords
Previously, we have seen the most crucial steps in performing the search for keywords. Right now, let's look at three other elements that frequently happen in SEO processes. There are three real wandering mines that hinder the success of a content. Let's see them together.
The client asks what is not useful
Unfortunately, that happens often. That’s when the client hands us a "ready" list of keywords necessary for ranking his website. Based on our experience we can say that usually, these words are an excellent starting point.
Nobody can understand a business better than those who work on it daily. If we take the example of a footwear shop, he will surely be able to name the basic products and terms for sale. This does not mean that this gets replicated in the digital world.
Indeed, from a digital point of view, things are usually different. Both our competitors will be different from those of the physical store (remaining in the same example), and the terms used by potential customers in their search will be different than the ones who actually visit the shop. Once again, the keyword research will address this situation. It becomes essential to understand which keywords will make the difference in that particular niche.
Many other times the customer asks for words that apparently can be relevant but ... have no traffic at all. In that case, all efforts for organic optimization will be nullified by the lack of research.
Provided word are not aligned with the goal
Another situation that happens very often is the one in which words indicated by the customer are not effective and often do not even reflect the search habits of potential buyers. buyer.
Let's take a hypothetical example, with some forcing to make the point: if a company wants to position its site for boat rental in Venice and insistently requires to position itself for the keyword "Harbour Venice" it will make a mistake. What appears to be a choice related to business is not. Given the existence of the famous Harbour Club disco in Venice, the predominant research intent is dedicated to the second activity, not the first.
If the research for keywords is correctly performed it will indicate other more suitable solutions such as "tourist harbour Venice".
Manipulative keyword research is also a trap to be avoided. Yes, because in 2020 there are still many SEO professionals who still believe in the formula of keyword stuffing and dangerous surroundings.
This practice consists of injecting in the text all the desired words to "maximize" the results. Therefore, during the research phase, "all" the necessary words are highlighted, even those that actually are not necessary at all. Next step, when drafting, all those keywords are used in abnormal quantities, doesn’t matter how disconnected they are from each other.
The outcome? The page is unable to position itself, the client will be unsatisfied and SEO industry will once more lose points because "it didn't work". A masterpiece of misunderstandings, which happens more often than one would believe.
“content can't be successful without proper keyword research“
Keyword research is a fundamental element of the SEO strategy
Often overlooked, keyword research is a cornerstone of any website's SEO strategy. As highlighted, only by following the necessary steps will it be possible to produce a set of keywords relevant to a new content we are about to create.
Unfortunately, keyword research does not fully ensure the success of a newly created piece. On the other hand, a content can certainly never be successful without proper keyword research.
The existing steps and nuances naturally go beyond those listed. We have only reported the most sensitive ones to reaffirm how vital it is to devote time to this step so essential to the effectiveness and success of SEO.