The Importance of Good Keyword Research
Good keyword research is the foundation for any SEO campaign. When you are looking for a good SEO company, avoid "guaranteed results" or companies that ask you what keywords you would like your site optimized for. If you are not working on the right keywords, then your whole campaign can be a huge waste of time and money.
Some companies have been known to guarantee certain rankings. Well, that can be pretty easy to accomplish if they optimize your site for a keyword that has no competition. You can end up spending a lot of money on nothing.
Keyword research should be a major part of the campaign. If someone asks you to choose your own, then you should turn and run the other way. Don’t get me wrong, you should be able to give your suggestions. After all, no one knows your business better than you. Your SEO company should work with you on determining whether or not your potential keyphrases will give you the best bang for your buck. Research generally starts with your suggestions and then grows from there.
The goal of good keyphrases is to generate traffic for your site. There may be some broad keyphrases that you need to optimize for, but there are likely some more specific keyphrases that will bring higher quality traffic to you. It’s all about the quality, not necessarily the quantity of viewers that you are going for here.
For example, let's say that your site sells appliances. You may want to optimize for the term "appliances" which could very well bring a lot of traffic to your site. But, you'll be getting everyone in the world looking for warranty information, inquiring about selling appliances themselves, looking for repairmen, or looking for parts. This type of traffic can be heavy and look great on results reports, but how much of this traffic actually turns into sales? Probably not much. If your SEO company does their job right, then you should end up with more specific keywords to compliment the broader ones. Your list may include "appliances", but it may also include "appliance distributor", "appliance Dallas" or "wholesale appliances".
The proper research is necessary before you can determine which keywords are actually being searched for by real people. Your SEO company should be looking for high volume searches on keywords related to your site that have been ignored by your competition. In other words, you may be able to find a niche that other companies have not yet discovered. Research on your competition’s keywords should be done as well. This is called "competitive intelligence" and not too many companies out there take the time to go this far. You need to do everything that the competition is doing, and then some, to make a real difference in your rankings.
About the Author: Stacy Pessoney is a Project Manager for ArteWorks SEO, one of the top search engine marketing companies in the world. A graduate of the University of Alabama, she implements and manages comprehensive SEO strategies and serve as an organizational liaison among company executives, clients and colleagues.