Yes, Keyword Research for SEO is Necessary

Written by Nick Stamoulis

When things first get underway with a new client, we spend some time outlining the process that we will take and how much time we expect to be spending on each task. As keywords are the foundation of an SEO campaign, we make sure to be thorough with the keyword research process and conduct keyword research page by page for every page of the entire website. For clients that have larger websites, this process could take a few weeks. Once clients sign that contract they want to get things going and start making changes to the site as soon as possible. “Two to three weeks for keyword research? Is that really necessary?” Yes, it is and here’s why.

SEO clients can go into the process thinking that they will tell the firm what keywords to go after and then let the firm work its magic. It doesn’t work that way. There’s a reason why the client isn’t doing SEO on their own. In many cases the client can be “too close” to the work. Because they are so familiar with the products and services that they offer they make the mistake of thinking that their potential clients or customers are “in the know” too. Usually, they aren’t. The way that a prospect might search for what the client offers could be drastically different than what they would have thought. Skipping out on keyword research can result in targeting the wrong keywords on the site and missing out on opportunities.

There are many factors to consider when selecting the keywords that will be targeted throughout the SEO campaign. Of course the keywords need to be relevant, but that is really just the tip of the iceberg. Keyword research best practice is to go page by page of the site and brainstorm a potential list of keywords to target on each page. If you have Analytics set up on the site you can check to see what keywords are currently delivering traffic to the page and use those keywords as a baseline. Plug these keywords one by one into a keyword research tool (we recommend the Google AdWords Keyword Tool) and see what other keywords are suggested.

The keyword tool will provide information for each keyword including the search volume of the keyword and the level of competition. These are important data points to pay attention to. It might not make sense to go after the keywords that have the biggest search volume. A high search volume typically correlates with more competition. If you are just starting out with SEO you can begin to introduce these broad keywords into the mix once you gain some traction, but it usually makes more sense to start out with long tail keywords that may have less search volume but also have less competition.

Keyword research may take some time, but it is really not very long in the grand scheme of an SEO campaign which essentially is ongoing. It’s important to ensure that the proper keywords are being targeted in order to see an increase in relevant traffic that will convert.

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