What is Keyword Research and why is it so important?

This is Wikipedia’s definition:

Keyword research is a practice search engine optimization (SEO) professionals use to find and research actual search terms that people enter into search engines. Search engine optimization professionals research keywords, which they use to achieve better rankings in search engines.

The only thing I disagree with that definition is the part about SEO professionals. Hey, I’m no SEO professional but I also do keyword research 🙂

Basically, when you are doing keyword research, you are, like our useful Wikipedia says, finding out which terms are people searching for (and since Google is the most used Search Engine, most keyword research focuses on Google).

You are usually trying to find both sides of the equation:

a) You are looking for terms that people are searching many times (so you can get a lot of traffic) and

b) You are looking for terms that have little SEO competition, so you can rank them with ease.

Of course there is more to it, since some terms are better than others. For example, if you are building an Adsense site, some keywords pay more than others, so in this particular case, it might be better to find a keyword that has 1000 searches a month but pays $1 per click, than another that gets 5000 searches a month but only pays 1 cent per click.

Then there is something called user intent (sometimes called customer intent) that you must take into account.

To understand this, look at these examples of keywords that people might enter in google:

  • Coffee machine
  • Best coffee machine under $100
  • Buy DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Coffee Machine

What can you deduce from what the user is looking for in each case?

In the first case (coffee machine), the user is in what we might call “information mode”, he just wants to know about coffee machines, maybe how they work, different types…

In the second case (best coffee machine under $100), you can deduce that the customer is in “research mode”, meaning he wants to buy a coffee machine, but he hasn’t decided which one.

In the third case (buy DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Coffee Machine), the user is in “purchase mode”. He has his credit card ready and he is just trying to find out where to buy it; maybe do a price comparison in multiple stores…

In general terms, you want to attract visitors who are in purchase mode, so you can make more money:

  • If you are a store owner, you can sell that item to them
  • If you are an affiliate (ie, Amazon affiliate), you want them to click on your link so they will purchase and you make a commission
  • If you have an Adsense site, you want them to be willing to click on ads, since they are ready to buy.

So why is keyword research not only important, but crucial for your business?

Because if you target the right keywords, you are way ahead of your competition:

If you pick the right keywords for your site, you will attract better visitors, and maximize your earnings.

If you find valuable keywords with little SEO competition, you will rank much faster

All in all, keyword research is something that you must pay close attention to, especially if you are focusing on getting SEO traffic, so I’ll be talking about how to do proper keyword research this week.


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