When you are embarking on an SEO strategy for your business, it can be tempting to skip the keyword research. It’s your business, so you must know the keywords people are using to find you online, right?
The interesting part about keyword research is, we can learn a lot about the words and phrases people are actually using when they search online – and sometimes it can be quite different from our assumptions.
You may also think search engines place less emphasis on keywords than they used to, but those assumptions may also need to be challenged.
The truth is, keyword research is still important for SEO, and I would argue the most important step in the entire process.
Let’s take a look at a few reasons why it matters.
You Could Choose the Wrong Keywords
Without keyword research, you could be using the wrong keywords for your business. Research is one of the very first steps in the SEO process, so getting it wrong (or not doing it at all) sets you up for disappointment.
Some examples of poorly chosen keywords are those with:
- Low Search Volume
- High Competition
- No Relevance to the Page
- Incorrect Usage
Keywords with low search volume have little to no people searching for that keyword. Content associated with these types of keywords are unlikely to be seen, simply because no one is searching for it using those terms.
High competition keywords mean it could take your content a long time to be found online, or it may not rank at all. There are too many other pages competing for this keyword.
When you choose keywords with no relevance to your page, visitors who do click through are unlikely to stay on the page. This increases the bounce rate for your page, which negatively impacts SEO.
If you are using the chosen keywords incorrectly on your page, then your content may not even be found in organic search.
Keyword research is important for SEO because it allows you to see the volume and competition data for the keywords you think you want to use. It also supports any changes you need to make to your chosen keywords going forward.
Keywords Give Information about Your Pages
Once you have completed the keyword research phase of SEO, you will begin to assign the best keywords to each page of your website. Remember, you need to make sure the chosen keywords are relevant to the page and are used properly.
Keywords are necessary for SEO because they help communicate to search engines what your page is about. Between your on-page and off-page SEO, these keywords are incorporated in different ways to support your optimization efforts.
But you can’t tell the story of your page to search engines without the groundwork you will do with keyword research. It’s that important!
Research is the Backbone of Keyword Clustering
Keyword clustering is gaining a lot of traction in SEO because it helps you optimize a single page for many keywords and improve your ranking potential.
Before you can start clustering, however, you have to conduct keyword research. You will want to look for certain themes within your keywords to create a core topic, like this:
Research helps you to thematically group keywords into a core topic with related subtopics keywords. You can build your content around these core topics to help your pages rank better in search engines.
Keyword research is still very relevant to both your SEO process and your success with search engine rankings. Without it, you could be choosing the wrong keywords, resulting in little to no traffic to your pages. With it, you can begin to drive more visits to your website, engage more people, secure conversions and revenue, and – most importantly – continuously improve your rankings and the opportunities to reach more and better audiences.
Sheila Hart-O’Connor is a word geek who is passionate about all things digital. She specializes in advertising and marketing copy, with a lean toward SEO, social media, and blogging.