Starting off with online side hustles in 2004, I didn’t understand most things about running or marketing a business online. I learned most of this stuff on my own. The most important thing I learned is understanding why keyword research is important. I’m going to share some insights I’ve had on the topic with you!
Why Keyword Research is Important: Market Research
The numero uno reason why keyword research is important is market research. With some simple keyword research, you can get a good sense as to whether your business idea is likely to succeed or fail online.
How does Keyword Research do this? Well, good keyword research will help you see if a market is too competitive — like if there are too many people already doing it. Competitiveness doesn’t mean you can’t succeed, but if you are trying to do a true side hustle (ie, in your spare time), something too competitive means more work for you to stand out. I prefer ideas I don’t have to work as hard at.
Keyword Research can also help you see how many people are actually interested in this particular topic or idea you’re having. Keyword research will help you see what your potential customers are searching for.
Let me give you an example. Last summer, dear daughter and I were thinking of starting a t-shirt business with some designs she did. I already sell designs including t-shirts on Zazzle, but she was going to do silk screens and the whole enchilada herself. So a little market research showed that few people are searching for niche t-shirts and yet the market is oversaturated with competitors. So, search engine marketing was already going to be problematic. We shelved the idea for another time.
Why Keyword Research is Important: Using the Right Words and Phrases
Many times, if you’re like me, you probably come up with your own way of saying things with regards to your side hustle. The problem comes up when your target audience is using different words and phrases to look for exactly what you’re offering.
I’ve been doing some changes on my website, one post at a time, after learning more about keyword research and reevaluating every post I’ve written. One reason is to try to figure out how to get more targeted visitors to find the most important content I have. No one was finding it.
I figured out, finally, it was because I was using technical words they didn’t know. They needed the information I had, but they didn’t know the right words to look for it. I had to rephrase the titles and some of the content to make it easier for the people that needed the content to find the content. Suddenly those exact posts have been getting an increase in traffic from organic searches. How exciting!
Why Keyword Research is Important: Finding Topics in Your Niche to Write About
When you create content online, it’s a challenge to figure out what people actually need. What information is my target audience looking for?
Keyword research, especially long tail keyword research, can help with that.
When I use the word Long tail keywords, by the way, that means very targeted, specific keywords (usually a phrase). These long tails usually don’t have as many searches per month as more vague keywords. But, because they are so specific, they are better for you if they are low in competition.
If someone is looking for the keyword, “keyword research”, that is pretty vague and can mean pretty much any aspect of keyword research. On average, 22,000 people per month search for that, and it has medium level competition.
However, if someone is searching “Why Keyword Research is Important”, that is more specific. You will know that there is specific information about keywords someone is looking for. you can target your content for those visitors. Now, only 70 people on average searched for that monthly. Don’t dismiss it though. The competition is non-existent. That means, through this post, I’m probably going to clean up. I’ll get most of the traffic if I can rank for it.
So when I plan my posts for my websites, I do keyword research. I try to find those long tail keywords that maybe have less searches than others, but are more specific and very low competition. Then I make those long tail keywords, at least in part, my post titles, and the topics of my posts. I have an Excel file for each niche website I have for this information.
Is all this work on Keyword Research worth it?
You may be first of all thinking, “That’s a lot of work, Kimberly!”
Yeah, it is.
But you know what? If you are just writing whatever you want to, don’t complain if you don’t get visitors to those posts. It’s okay to write for you, but you can’t write just for you and expect traffic or success that way. Lesson learned the hard way.
Since taking the time to go back and do keyword research, especially on my smaller niche websites, I’ve had a HUGE increase in traffic that sticks around. And this is less work than constantly hawking my wares on social media.
I have found a tool that cuts the time it takes to do keyword research way down. I highly recommend it. It’s the last tool I use each time I research keywords. It’s called LongTail Pro, and you can get a free trial to see how you like it.
All of this can be done just using the Google Keyword Planning Tool, but it just takes way longer. This is much more user friendly.