By Nikki Buergel ~ General Manager & Head Of Paid Media

We are often asked why keyword research is the starting point for any digital strategy. Keyword research is the DNA of any digital marketing strategy. It is vital for SEO, content marketing, email marketing, and PPC (paid per click advertising). Google and all Search Engines are all about relevance. You need to appear for the terms that people are searching for.

What Are Keywords?

  • Words and terms/ phrases that people are searching for to answer their queries
  • Words and terms/ phrases that describe the topics you write about (blogs, site content, etc.)

Keywords bridge the gap between your audience and helping them find you. Once we find the keywords with volume that people enter into search engines we can use them for web creation, meta descriptions (this is the HTML description that describes the contents of your web pages, which is vital for both search engines and users), blog posts, content creation, marketing (PPC, email marketing).

Why Do Keyword Research?

Get your keywords right, then Google will understand your content, which is crucial for ranking in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and the basis for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). If you are ranking, then you will appear when people search.

Think of keywords as the answer to your customers’ needs. These keywords can be used in your content and paid marketing strategy. You need to know what your target audience is looking for… Once you know this, then you can optimse your site, content, email marketing, and ads accordingly. That way you will appear when they search and answer their needs. It also helps with competitive research and all promotional activities.

How Search Has Changed

We are often asked ‘why are we not ranking quicker?’ SEO has evolved. It is not the same formula it was in 2006 when all you had to do was stuff your content with the terms that people were looking for (known as keyword stuffing and artificially push your page(s) to the top of search results), and today Google will penalise you for this. Back then it wasn’t about quality. Now it is about the correct keyword density i.e. having the right number of keywords within your content.

To make SEO even more difficult, Google is constantly tweaking its algorithms to deliver the most relevant results for what people are searching for. Google is all about relevance and if you are relevant and pro-active, Google will reward you. SEO is an ongoing process and you cannot take your foot off the pedal!

Search is evolving rapidly! There is now:

  • Search by voice (people are using mobile devices with a digital assistant that allows them to talk into the device and asking questions, rather than typing questions with key phrases i.e. using their language).
  • Again Google is about relevance (we cannot stress this enough) so it will try and bring up the answers/ content/ ads to search terms/ queries, hence why your content needs to be well-optimised with relevant content.
  • Semantically related keywords are now also an essential part of SEO. You don’t just optimise your content for a single target phrase, but looks for other phrases that mean the same thing. When modern search engines look for webpages to rank, they don’t only look for those target phrases but try to identify the internet and deeper meaning of the query. This is another reason why content creation is vital and SEO is an ongoing process. There is no quick fix! Again, it boils down to relevance where Google is trying to understand the language used on a higher level to serve the most accurate results to queries.

Understanding Keyword Types

There is head/ short, body/ medium, and long-tail keywords

  • Head/ Short = usually 1 or 2 keywords that have high search volume (can also be highly competitive)
  • Body/ Medium = 2 or 3-word phrases with moderate search volume and competition
  • Long-tail = keywords that consist of four or more words with low search volume and generally account for the bulk of web traffic. The longer the term the greater user intent is because they know what they are looking for.

From a searcher’s point of view the more words they use, the more specific the query, the more relevant the results will be.

What Is Required To Start Keyword Research?

We require a few key terms/ phrases, known as seed keywords i.e. the building blocks of keyword research. We use Google’s Keyword Planner. We also put them into Moz to see where you rank on Google. The planner can do a max of 10 keywords at a time. Think carefully about your offering, target market, and the geo-location(s) for your target audience. 

For example “african safaris” is a seed keyword, while “kruger national park safari” is a long-tail phrase.

What Do We Look For When We Do Keyword Research?

We do the keyword research over 12 months so that we can see monthly trends. Google Keyword Planner aggregates the searches over 12 months to give you the yearly average monthly search, with the CPC (cost per click) at top of page bid (low range) and top of page bid (high range). All searches are dynamic so the CPC can vary for any given search and who is appearing for those terms. Hence the range can be vast. We look at the search volume. Google does not guarantee to appear for PPC searches for under 100 searches. Then we look at the competition score. This is the number of advertisers bidding on each keyword for the geo-location selected across Google. You can see if the Competition is low, medium, or high. This is for PPC and not SEO. Generally speaking, if the competition is high, then you may need to bid more to win top positions i.e. higher CPC. If the competition is low then you could bid lower and pay less, but it also depends on the number of searches for the keyword. If there is no competition score it may mean no advertisers are bidding on these keywords.

Now ask yourself, can you afford not to do keyword research? Contact Us for a quote!