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Why Keyword Research Matters

January 2020

Keywords are still the foundation of search engine optimization. Quality content matters, as do site design, user-friendly interfaces, fast load times, and backlinking—but keywords remain a crucial part of putting your site on the map. Searches on Google and other search engines still rely on keywords. For this reason alone, keyword research remains an essential area of focus for every business.

Related: How to Watch out for Keyword Stuffing

Imagine trying to put together an SEO strategy without doing keyword research. You’d make a list of keywords that you think your prospective customers are searching for—and your list might be partially accurate. After all, you know your business and the services you provide. Part of picking keywords is just selecting words and phrases that pertain to your company and the clients or customers you serve. Adding location tags for the cities, towns, or neighborhoods you serve helps, too.

So, what’s the problem? Until you perform true keyword research, you have no guarantee that the keywords you are using match what real people are typing into Google. If your keywords don’t match the searches that prospective customers are using to find businesses like yours, you will lose their business to your competitors.

Keyword research helps you to unlock a higher level of potential with your content. Instead of shooting in the dark with keywords you think your customers are searching for, you can develop a list of keywords that are genuinely popular with your target market. Targeting these in-demand keywords can drive organic traffic to your website.

Keyword research will also tell you how much competition you will have in your attempt to rank for each keyword. Here’s an example. If you operate a law firm in San Francisco, then a keyword like “San Francisco lawyer” is undoubtedly one that people in your target market are using in their searches. However, it’s also a very general keyword, which means the competition to rank for it on Google will be fierce.

Using keyword research, you will be able to find slightly less competitive keywords that are still getting searched. Adding mentions of locations, services, or specialties will trim competition out of the frame without eliminating the power of the keyword. It is these keywords—less competitive but still securing a fair number of monthly searches—that you want to target.

Tools like Google Keyword Planner can help you find out very quickly whether your keywords are quality or junk. Google will tell you how many searches a keyword is getting each month. You will also see a competition rating of Low, Medium, or High for each keyword. The keywords in your sweet spot are the ones getting a significant number of searches but only rated Low or Medium for competition.

Do you need help putting together a list of targeted keywords for your business? At Inherent, we can help you develop effective keyword lists and guide you through the keyword research stage. Contact us today to learn more.