One of the first things SEO professionals do when they're putting together a campaign is keyword research. This is the process of choosing and evaluating the marketability of words and phrases that consumers might use to search for a specific business — but it's not as simple as that. Search Engine Journal adds that good keyword research looks at how different demographics search across multiple devices and platforms. So, if for instance, a marketer is looking at keywords for a local plumber based in Chamblee, GA, they might research what kinds of searches different consumers in suburban Atlanta perform when they're looking for a plumber. While trying to think like your target customer is a good start (in this instance, marketers might choose keywords like "Chamblee plumber," "Chamblee clogged toilet" or even "Atlanta plumber"), there are some big reasons why you should invest the time and money in keyword research, even if you're not sure if you need to.
Getting Off on the Right Foot
Until you know what keywords are most important for your website to rank for, it is impossible to perform further optimization. You can't create content, ad copy or even calls-to-action if you don't know exactly what keywords will get your campaign the most "bang for the buck"; simply guessing could lead to an ineffective strategy. Strong, researched keyword usage is the bedrock from which a great SEO strategy is formed, which is why it is crucial to do your research first, before fleshing out the rest of your optimization strategy.
Backing Up Your "Gut Feeling" With Hard Data
Have you ever had a "gut feeling" about something that turned out to be correct? Marketers, especially those who've been in the business for quite some time, often describe a "sixth sense" when it comes to marketing and keywords. However, smart keyword research can help you back up a marketing "hunch" with facts and data, so you can move forward with your campaign with confidence. Tools like Google AdWords let you see the number of monthly searches on a given keyword in specific regions, so you can test out any keywords you come up with.
Target the Right Traffic
If a marketer optimizes their strategy for keywords that haven't been researched or vetted, they may very well get traffic to their site, but it might not result in very many leads; in fact, it may lead to a high bounce rate. For instance, using the plumbing example above, if you don't optimize using the right keywords, you might attract consumers from outside your service area, or people looking for services you don't provide.
Though keyword research might seem tedious at first, it is a vital step for marketers trying to implement an intelligent strategy that uses content with the power to convert.