What Is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is the practice of discovering which organic search terms or phrases are (1) the most commonly used in your industry, (2) the most valuable to you from a business standpoint, and (3) low enough from a competition standpoint for ranking to be possible.
The goal of keyword research is to help you identify which topics you plan to prioritize from a content development standpoint.
The best keywords will have:
- A high business value—meaning the people searching for it are your ideal customers and signalling that they’re ready to take action (i.e. “hire personal injury lawyer”)
- A high average monthly search volume in Google
- A low amount of competition from other websites
What is a Keyword?
While the approach isn’t as straightforward as it used to be, “keywords” are used by Google and other search engines to figure out what your page is about, and ultimately determine which searches you should appear in the results for.
Specifically, there are two types of keywords:
- Head Terms: These would be considered “root” terms of a topic in most cases. Search volume is generally high, but the intent to take action is low (i.e. “movies” or “avengers” would be head terms).
- Long-Tail Terms: Typically longer search phrases that have lower monthly volumes but higher intent to take action (“ movie theatres near me playing Avengers” is long-tail)
A common misconception with head vs long-tail keywords is that it’s based on total number of words alone. This is not the case. It’s based on the topic and search volumes—it just happens to be that in most cases, head terms are one or two words, while long-tail terms are longer.
Why Perform Keyword Research?
Keyword research is incredibly valuable to perform because not everyone communicates the same way as you—your audience may use different words or phrases. Understanding what terms or phrases they’re using to find what they’re looking for can better position you to reach them.
To use our earlier example, while some members of our target audience may use “movies”, others may use “films”, and they may be looking for “nearby cinemas playing Avengers”.
Though the intent behind the search is the same, the different verbiage may present an opportunity for you to own spaces where your competitors have little or no presence.