Keyword research is exactly what it sounds like: researching keywords! It describes the process of strategically searching for and analyzing the performance of various keywords that people search for in search engines, with the intent of using those keywords for marketing efforts like ads in the future. It’s not a new thing. In fact, Google has been running its tool for over 10 years (although its functionality has stayed stable).
Keywords are usually grouped into “long-tail keywords” and “short-tail keywords” and they’re pretty much exactly what they sound like. Long-tail keywords are longer phrases that users may be searching for, like “is marketing automation worth the money?” Short-tail keywords would be something shorter, like “best marketing automation” or “ROI of marketing automation.”
1. Keyword research is important for SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of crafting your website to rank higher on search engine results pages so that you receive more traffic to your website. The goal is usually to rank on the first page so that people who are searching for specific terms are able to find your website more easily. Keyword research is a pivotal part of any great SEO strategy.
Of course, it’s difficult to rank for pages if you’re unaware of what search terms people are using in order to get to your site, but prioritizing SEO for your blog posts and web pages ensure that you’re able to rank on the pages that you want to rank for.
It can be a pretty big challenge to balance both experiences for the website visitor while also creating content to rank for keywords that matter.
2. Keyword research is great for PPC strategy
The right keywords are essential for any pay-per-click (PPC) strategy. All those long-tail and short-tail keywords that we talked about with SEO are equally, if not more, important for PPC strategy.
A key part of keyword strategy is to prioritize keywords that have a manageable level of competition for your organization and efforts. High-competition keywords will be easier for companies with larger teams and budgets to compete on while lower-competition keywords are a great organic or paid focus for teams who need to stay more focused on their PPC and content marketing efforts.
For example, Net-Results competes with huge brands every day, but we ourselves are a smaller team. Because of this, we stay super narrowed in on keywords that we know perform well for our specific business, like competition keywords and keyword groups. Choosing the right keywords for PPC strategy also means more ROI in your marketing spend (who doesn’t love that?).
3. Keyword research helps you develop great content
We’ve already touched on how keyword research helps to create great content for SEO purposes because of the frequency of those keywords. We’re a (fantastic) marketing automation software platform, so a lot of our content revolves around, you guessed it, marketing automation! But we also write content specifically for keyword groupings too.
Keyword grouping (or keyword clustering) is a list of semantically related keywords that, once compiled, are distributed throughout pages in a manner that helps to drive paid or organic traffic (Source: Keyword Grouping: how to do it right). This means that in addition to “marketing automation,” we might be trying to write content for and rank for keywords like “marketing automation platforms” or “best marketing software.”
Those keywords and their popularity are all great clues to what kind of content could be relevant to your audience and also what kind of content would be helpful for remarketing or retargeting campaigns in the future. You might find a long-tail keyword that’s more popular than you thought or a keyword cluster that you hadn’t considered before!
How to actually get started with keyword research for your marketing strategy:
One of the most straightforward tools to use for this is Google’s Keyword Planner. The tool essentially helps you find and select the right keyword terms for the Google Ads network. Other popular (paid) tools include SEMRush and SE Ranking. There are a lot of free tools out there, so don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works best for you and your SEO efforts!
If you have any questions about keyword research, SEO best practices, or marketing automation (our ultimate forte), don’t hesitate to schedule a quick, no-commitment 20-minute chat with our team.
Cheers to your keyword research efforts!
Director of Marketing @ Net-Results