Ralf Schulz
By Ralf Schulz | SEO | July 22, 2015

How to Best Perform SEO Keyword Research

Keyword planner

The whole process begins with what the user types into the search box. Keyword research is undoubtedly one of the most important activities in search marketing today. Making sure that you rank for the perfect keyword can make or break your site, so you must do a thorough job of researching your keywords. This allows you to learn more about your product, your service, and your customer base.

To boil it down to the simplest of terms, you just have to remember the old truism that quality usually beats quantity. You always need to keep this in mind when your primary goal is generating traffic. Ranking for a few beneficial keywords is much more important than ranking for many keywords that don’t provide a tangible return. Unfortunately it’s not as simple as finding one magic keyword and using it forever, you have to to understand how keywords might change over time and how search preferences change for the user. Understanding what drives your customer base can help you find out how they start to search and what gets the user to the intended conversion.

What Makes a Valuable Keyword and how do we find them?

Find new keywords

Let’s start by using the example of owning an e-commerce T-Shirt company. You can start by asking a simple question: does the company make more sales when users search “button down shirts” or “casual T-Shirts”?  By using Google Webmaster Tools search analytics tab, you can see exactly what keywords users are typing to provide clicks to a site. With the addition of using Google’s Keyword Planner Tool, this information can help you understand how to target you audience accurately. Unfortunately, these tools alone can’t determine what will make the perfect keyword for you site. The best way to do so is to determine a goal, test, and repeat.

  1. Key Questions for determining a valuable keyword

    1. Is the keyword relevant?
    2. Will the content on the page answer questions regarding the keyword?
    3. Will the end user be satisfied with the landing page provided by the keyword typed in?
    4. What is the purpose of each given keyword? Is it financially oriented or does it provide overall company value?
  2. Understanding your competition

    1. Review current search engine results for similar or exact keywords. This provides information about your competitors and helps you to understand the ranking difficulty of the keyword.
    2. Are their paid advertisements within your search terms? Generally speaking, if the keyword has many ads the competition value will be high and could also indicate a profitable return.
  3. Finally, what is each keyword worth?

Using metrics from the slingshot SEO study, we can find a dollar value based on each keyword. Using the T-Shirt company example and the keyword “button down shirts,” let’s assume that you know the keyword gets 1,000 impressions per day. Of those 1,000 impressions, 50 click-through to the site. If 2 of the 50 users converts that leaves you a total profit of $50 for the day. In this case, each visit is worth $1 (Profit/Number of Impressions). If your keyword was in the #1 ranked position of Google, we know that it has the potential click-through rate of 18-36%, which on the low end would mean that of the 1,000 impressions per day 180 users would click –through at a value of $180. This doesn’t seem like much, but ends up being on average, about $5,310 a month for a single keyword or $63,720 a year.

As usual, thanks for reading and if you have any questions on today’s topic please leave a comment below.

Thanks again and happy optimizing!

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