Keyword Research

What is keyword research?

Keyword research involves understanding actual search terms people enter into the search engines when conducting a search on a given topic. In a highly competitive and growing global market place, it is essential to understand what keyword phrases (terminology) your target market is utilizing to search for what you are offering.

The creation of a web site’s keyword universe (the collection of keyword phrases which are relevant to the theme and content of the site) happens in two distinct phases: the foundational phase and the continuous phase.

What is foundational keyword research?

The average number of keywords used in a search in Google is three. If you are thinking in terms of keywords and not keyword phrases, you will miss the bulk of potential traffic.

Keyword research begins by brainstorming all of the words and phrases that seem relevant to the intended subject and content of your site. Using keyword research tools, this list expands by discovering the many permutations that exist as recent searches in Google and find out what keyword phrases your potential customers are using to find sites like yours. Search habits vary depending an individuals’ demographic information, language, education and cultural background, so it is critical to understand (listen to) how people are searching for what you are offering. We also analyse the metrics associated with these keyword phrases detailing the amount of traffic they generate and the number of sites competing for them. This allows you to gauge the value of particular keyword phrases, prioritize the ones you intend to target and discover keyword niches (related groups of phrases) with high traffic and low competition.

Besides frequency and competition metrics, there are other considerations that should influence which keyword phrases you select as primary targets of your web pages. These include branding considerations, potential value, cost-per-click rates as an indicator of value even if a paid search campaign is not being considered and previous web analytic data if it is available.

Once a list of keyword phrases has been prioritized, they are mapped to the content structure of the website. This simply means listing which keyword phrases are relevant to which URL’s (web pages). While the same keyword phrase may be relevant to multiple pages on your site, the highest priority keyword phrases become targets for only one page in an effort to have that page rank for that target phrase–a site is most likely trying to get multiple pages to rank for different targeted phrases. This impacts future off-page optimization efforts, such as links (anchor text) in a press release or from another website using a targeted phrase that will link to the specific page for which that phrase is a target (rather than just the homepage). After we have clarified what keyword phrases are relevant to what pages and what target phrases are associated with what pages, then it is time to optimize on-page content accordingly and develop a link building strategy based on the chosen target keyword phrases.

Keyword research should also be a continuous process as your web content develops and adapts to changing goals and insight gathered from analysis of your results.

North Rim Consulting helps you turn an authentic expression of the character of your business into an actionable list of keyword phrases that are the foundation of your competitive positioning in organic search and all content marketing efforts.

Contact North Rim Consulting today to set up a free consultation to discuss how your Web site can benefit from search engine optimization.

What is a Keyword Map?

• A Keyword Map is a spreadsheet with a list of important URLs from a website along with each page’s title tag, Meta description tag and Meta keyword tag.
• The keyword phrases determined in the keyword research process are “mapped” to the most appropriate pages with some being defined as “targets”.
• Page titles and Meta data are constructed based on the targets assigned to the page and other keyword phrases from the list of approved keywords that are relevant to the page.

What are Targets versus Keyword Phrases?

• Keyword Phrases are phrases that are relevant to a particular page of a Web site. A single page may have many relevant keyword phrases and a keyword phrase may appear on multiple pages.
• Targets are keyword phrases that we specifically want a certain page to rank for. A page may have multiple targets but a target will only be assigned to one page.

What are Branding versus Category Keyword Phrases?

Keyword Niches: related groups of keyword phrases

Anchor Text: the visible, click-able text in a hyperlink.