The Internet has drastically changed the way businesses search online. Who would have thought a single phrase could influence whether your website or products are ranked online?

I came across an article from the industry-leading SEO company, MOZ, saying “keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high-return activities in the search marketing field.” Conducting keyword research allows businesses to concentrate on leading high-value customers to a website. This information is invaluable, because knowing how a target market is searching online will prove vital in shaping future content initiatives. Trust me, keyword research is the place to start.

Curious Where to Start?

There are plenty of tools out there that provide similar services, some of which I recommend: Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Market Samurai, Wordtracker and SpyFu. Check them out!

Preliminary Keyword Research Considerations

Once you have a keyword research tool, I’d encourage you to consider the following when conducting and analyzing keyword research:

  1. What are important brand terms?
  2. Which specific product terms are associated with my business?
  3. Where are my competitors ranking and what terms are they associated with?
  4. Should certain keywords drive searchers to different landing pages?
  5. What are my conversion goals? How can I measure keyword success?

Choosing Keywords

Now that you have chosen your keyword tool and conducted keyword research, you might be asking yourself which keywords are right for your business needs. Here are a few (not all) items to consider when analyzing your keyword research:

  • Relevance to your website – In reviewing your keyword lists, ask yourself the following: Do my keywords need to be mapped to specific landing pages and CTAs? Do my keywords support content goals for my website? Is there cohesion between my keywords and content across all media channels? If you answered no to any of these questions, you may need to reconsider where your marketing strategy fits within your industry, target market, and strategic goals. Especially in B2B, your website must be associated with the right keywords to bring qualified customers to your website who then will convert on website goals.
  • Searcher intent – A long tail keyword is keyword or phrase that is extremely specific to the searchers needs. An example would be ‘orange fiber-optic cable’ or I have recently searched for ‘pumpkin carving kits’. Long tail keywords tend to show the user is closer to making a purchase. These keywords hint that the searcher is further along the buyer journey and have established product awareness and interest. It is more common for long tail keywords to get less search traffic, but usually have a higher conversion rate and far less competition.
  • Search volume – A short tail keyword is generally less specific and targets a general category. An example would be ‘cables’ or a consumer might be searching ‘chili recipes’ this fall. Just because there is high volume, as most short tail keywords have, is that searcher in the realm of your high-value target market? Just because a business searches security software, doesn’t mean they are a qualified customer.

Do you believe me now? Three or more words can provide you with the foundation in telling a brand or product story. I cannot emphasize this enough – keyword research is a small yet crucial component to your larger content marketing strategy. These words help better understand your customers, enhance communication, and assist in planning future content with ease.