What is Keyword Research?

If you have a website, I’m sure you’ve come across the term “keyword” quite often. Simply put, keywords are common words used online search queries, and to get organic traffic, you want your website to have keywords that get large search volumes on a regular basis. If your site doesn’t have these important keywords on it, then search engines won’t know to recommend your site as a result, even if you offer the product or service that a person is searching for. A proper keyword strategy and research plan must be in place to have an effective SEO impact.

Why is Keyword Research Important for SEO?

Keyword research is absolutely essential for SEO because it helps your business:

1. Understand Your Audience

By understanding exactly what your customer base is searching for when looking for products/services in your industry, it becomes much easier to create content that resonates with the audience’s needs and preferences. Overall, this helps drive more traffic and sales. Look at the keyword examples below to see the power that a one-word difference can have when targeting keywords in your industry. While it’s just a change of one word, the search traffic doubles and it’s just as easy on the difficulty scale (KD%) to rank for. This is the power of keyword research. Even though “attorney” is the appropriate term, the general public searches with the word “lawyer” almost twice as often.

2. Improve Website Visibility and Ranking

 Knowledge of your industry keywords means a higher potential for ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs), which means additional organic traffic (leads and traffic that you don’t have to consistently pay out for!) Without any key word research, you’ll be blindly placing words throughout your website content, meta descriptions, title tags and other places within your site. With some competent keyword research and a good strategy in place, you can finally begin to find your place in those top 3 Google results. 

3. Stay Ahead of the Competition

Keyword ranking help businesses stay ahead of their competition by identifying new opportunities for content creation and optimization. By researching the keywords and phrases that their competitors are targeting, businesses can identify gaps in the market and create content that meets the needs of their target audience more effectively. In doing so, you can find keywords that your competitors may be missing – and target those keywords to capture the audience they are missing. 

While there’s no such thing as a free lunch, obtaining organic traffic is as close to free leads as your business will get. The digital world is crowded and complex, but it’s often the first place a potential customer is going when they need a product or service. By ensuring you’re positioning your business to obtain organic traffic at the largest scale, you can continue to generate “free” leads for a long time to come. 

Now for the Nuance – How do You Research Keywords?

We get it, even finding a place to start can be tricky. For small and medium businesses, it’s unlikely that you have the time or resources to take on this work or have it completed in-house. Fortunately for you, you don’t have to do it alone. We already have access to state of the art softwares for keyword research, and we can take this task off your plate. 
We’ve mentioned this “keyword strategy” a few times, so let’s define what we mean. When it comes to keywords for SEO, there are a few major factors at play. First and foremost, the monthly/annual search volume that a keyword gets. Now, obviously you want to target the keywords with the most search volume, right? Well, kinda. Because SEO has been around as long as the internet, there are likely already tons of companies with fortified SEO campaigns that are strongly positioned at the top of search results for these large volume words, which means they’re harder to rank for. Let’s look at a real example:

Let’s look at the law and government industry for this example. Now, personal injury and criminal defense are some of the MOST competitive fields for SEO, because the services are incredibly lucrative. Pretend you’re a law firm in Norfolk ,VA that’s just starting your SEO journey. Now, “personal injury attorney” gets a search volume of approximately 74k searches each month, which is astoundingly large. However, you can see that the KD% (the difficulty scale for ranking for this keyword) is 85/100, so it’s gonna take a big investment to be #1 here. In fact, many law firms in this field spend anywhere between $10,000-$15,000 each month on SEO alone. You’ll need quality content, hundreds of backlinks and a well-rounded and well executed strategy to have a shot at placing in the top of the SERPs for that broad keyword. If you’re looking at that kind of SEO budget in your balance sheets, then by all means, let’s target the big ones.

However, we know that not all businesses can afford that much each month on SEO alone. So, let’s look at “personal injury attorney Norfolk.” You can see that while the search volume is significantly lower, it is leaps and bounds easier to rank for, and would be a no-brainer to have that keyword within your pages. By targeting these long-tail keywords that are more specific, you can gain an edge on the competition and capture traffic that your competitors will otherwise miss. 

Let’s even take it one step further. Norfolk is right next to Virginia Beach geographically, so let’s see how many people are searching for a similar, but alternative keyword. And boom, there’s the gold pot at the end of the rainbow! “Personal injury lawyer Virginia Beach” gets almost 500 monthly searches, and is still as easy to rank for as the Norfolk version of the long tail keyword. This will be a keyword that you absolutely want to track and try to rank for, because it’s one that the competitive industry is overlooking currently. 

Let Data be Your Driving Factor

We’re living in the information age, and data is gold when you’re making business decisions. As you can see, with a little bit of time spent researching keywords, you can more confidently position your business to rank highly in search engines and generate quality leads on its own. Your SEO strategy is built entirely around keywords, they act as the foundation that will drive traffic and sales for your business, so you don’t want to shoot blindly at them. Regardless of your industry, you need a competent keyword and SEO strategy to put your business on the tracks to success. 
 In whatever capacity you need keyword research completed, Hyphae SEO Consulting is your answer. Whether you just want a list of industry keywords to work off of, or if you need help getting them onto your site and ranking, that’s what we’re here for. Go ahead, give us a call today.