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5 Essential Steps to Killer Keyword Research – Part 1

In this three part series, I will be taking a look at the 5 essential steps to killer keyword research. Part 1 will be looking at what keyword research actually is, why it is so important in search marketing and the evolution of the oldest search marketing practice.

What is keyword research?

So let’s take a look at exactly what keyword research and what it’s trying to achieve. One of the best explanations of keyword research in the SEO context is from Wikipedia.

“Keyword research is a practice used by search engine optimization professionals to find and research actual search terms people enter into the search engines when conducting a search. Search marketing professionals research keywords in order to achieve better rankings in their desired keywords” – Wikipedia

This description of keyword research is very self-explanatory and an accurate way of describing what search marketing professionals are trying to achieve at the end of the day.
It is all about finding the right keywords, so your website can be found by the right people.

Why is keyword research important?

Keyword research is extremely important for SEO and PPC as it forms the bedrock of any search marketing campaign. It is the basis or foundation from which all other activities are based, including; on-page optimisation, link building, content, site structure and content marketing.

Skipping over, rushing or ignoring keyword research can cause search marketing campaigns to fail.

Keyword research has always been a careful balancing act of identifying the right keywords, to improve your visibility in search engines, which will drive search traffic (both paid and organic) to your website and being found by the right people. It this continuous drive by search marketing professionals, webmasters and businesses to be found by the right people that has caused, not only the search marketing profession, but keyword research to develop and evolve.

The evolution of keyword research

In the past many search marketing professionals and webmasters would simply focus on a single keyphrase, for example “men’s trainers”, and then target a single landing page. This landing page would then be optimised for the target keyword, and links would be built into the page.

In the old days that is what would practice as searches marketing campaign but times are changing.

The old method of focusing on a single keyword for a single landing page and ignoring the rest of the website for corporate websites is fast becoming outdated and downright dangerous. The leading search giant Google is updating its algorithms to devalue websites which offer no real value to its users (Panda and Penguin) and beginning to focus more on semantic search (the Hummingbird update) – rewarding those websites who focus on making great valuable content.

In the wake of these updates and the future of search looking more and more complex, many webmasters as well as search marketing professionals are waking up to the fact they have to focus on more than one landing page, and on more than one keyword to survive online.

In part 2 I will take a look at how advances in market research has shaped search marketing professionals methodologies when it comes to keyword research and being found online through search engines.