There are many ways to position your website and business to benefit from organic or natural traffic. As you probably remember, that is users that come from search engines and is free traffic because you have not paid to enlist those readers. Of course, you don’t want to rely solely on free traffic methods, as you can be restricted in how much traffic your receive. Not only that, but on any given day, an algorithm could change or the competition could boot you out of your ranking position. But, there is, however, one method of promotion that can help you to rank for a phrase, maintain your ranking position, and receive organic traffic. Therefore, we are going to be talking about keyword research and how it impacts your search engine marketing strategies, both positively and adversely.
Before we start the discussion, let’s refresh ourselves on the meaning of SEM. Briefly, this is your total plan to optimize your site pages. While SEO is a component of SEM, search engine marketing involves extensive research into trends and reasons why the competition is doing well. SEM reverse engineers the process through various online tools which are both free and paid subscription services. Although it does happen infrequently, ranking is not an event that is instant nor automatic when you build a website. You can have the best content available to readers, but if you don’t know what the criteria are for taking one of those coveted first page positions in the SERPS, your lovely material will just sit there collecting dust.
Now, one of the biggest challenges is knowing what to write or even a topic for building a site. And if you already know your subject because you are an expert in a field of study or you enjoy a hobby for example, you still need to be able to get the search engines to recognize your site as being relevant. The way to do that is through pertinent keywords. Thus, keyword research is necessary.
One thing I would like to mention at this point is that successful keyword research will not only help your website, but if you choose to participate in another form of online business, keyword research will be the backbone of that activity, as well. Let’s say for example, that you love to write but want to start out small. There are sites where you can earn a little money from affiliate programs and pay-to-click programs. The site either allows you to place your own links from your own accounts or they pay a percentage of their earnings to you based on your traffic to your articles.
Other ways that you would launch an online business without your own website is by selling products or services on any of the e-commerce platforms, of which there are many nowadays. These sites tend to rank heavily in the SERPS, and you need to know how and why. Your goal is to make your listings come up in ranking positions.
So, as you can quickly and obviously see, keyword research is the crux of any online business. And while it is not guaranteed, because other factors come into play, you will be more successful if you spend the time to do the information gathering and then use that data to build your business.
At this point in time, let’s ask ourselves, what we need to know?
#1 Traffic Volume
Assuming you already have an idea of what your business will be about, you need to take common phrases from your niche or topic and find out if users are even looking for this information. Remember that users are not your readers yet. They are the people that use the search engines and conduct search queries to find things. Once you determine how many people, on a monthly basis, use a particular search phrase, then you can move on to find out other things. You may be able to eliminate some phrases or topics simply because there is not enough interest from the public.
#2 Competition Strengths
Knowing what websites already hold ranking positions for your phrases is important because you want to see whether or not they are in those positions for the right reasons. Often, it happens that a page is returned in a search because the writer used the exact match phrase or something similar in the course of the article. But that doesn’t mean the page is completely relevant to the searcher’s query. Nor does it mean the website is about the same topic as your site.
If the site that is displayed in the SERPS is either weak in the subject matter or doesn’t really seem relevant to the search, then with the right work on your part, chances are you can bump that site from their position. Thus, knowing how strong or how weak the competition is can help you to forge ahead or abandon that phrase.
#3 Similar Phrases
Keyword research also helps you to brainstorm other phrases or even longer tail specific keywords. For example, you type in collars for small dogs. You might find out that the greatest number of searches is for blue collars for small dogs. This would be hugely beneficial to know, especially if you plan to sell pet accessories. Likewise if no-one wants a purple collar, why bother to stock it?
Additionally, you don’t want your articles to be boring when read, so by knowing other phrases which are similar, you can mix up your words and write even better engaging material.
#4 Find A Niche
Let’s say you don’t have a concrete idea of what direction you want your website to take. You know that you enjoy music, but it is such a broad category that, what would you focus on? Keyword research will provide the answer. If you start with very broad searches, then drill down into the smaller pieces returned from the online tool, you’ll have a better idea of what you can and want to write about. Once you have found a topic within that broad subject, you can drill down even further to find very targeted market opportunities.
Finally, once you have all your information gathering completed, and you have analyzed your collected data, you use those keyword phrases to help you rank. You build a business model based on those keywords and monetize them either through your own products and services or through third party programs.