Like a foundation for a building, there is one aspect of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that is more important than any other. Without this foundation, you may be wasting all your time and resources. Proper keyword research should be the basis of your optimization.
Why is Keyword Research Critical?
Keyword research determines which keywords you should be targeting with the SEO. Most people think that they know which keywords they should target. While instinct can be a great resource, but it can also be misleading and is almost always not enough.
For example, “search engine optimization” gets an estimated 4,500 searches a day while “search engine marketing” gets an estimated 1,650 searches a day. If your gut tells you to target “search engine marketing”, you may get great rankings, but it would only get you a fraction of the traffic that you could have had if you had targeted and ranked well for “search engine optimization”.
There are also keywords that you may not be able to rank well for without a lot of time and significant amount of link building regardless of how well you optimize your site. In addition, there are keywords that other people will use to search for what your site offers that you would never even think of. So, keyword research can not only let you know which keywords are more popular, the research can also provide new keywords to target.
Drawing on the analogy in our search marketing parable, optimizing your website without first doing keyword research is like trying to pick apples from a tree without first checking to see if there are any apples on it or if the apples are within your reach. You could end up putting in a lot of effort but going home with little fruit from your labor.
Photo by shersh
Next, let’s look a little further into what you need to know about keyword research.