What is Keyword Research and Why Should it Matter to the Solopreneur?
You may have heard of Keyword Research when looking into starting or growing a business online. But what is Keyword Research? Why should Keyword Research matter to the entrepreneur?
The most important takeaways for you on Keyword Research are these two:
- Done right, Keyword research will help you determine if a niche is going to be profitable or a bust
- This will help you as you market your project online and write copy people are looking for.
What is Keyword Research?
It is researching the words people use when searching for the products, services, and niche topics your website has to offer.
When search engines try to figure out what your website is all about, they use the words you write in your content (posts, pages, product descriptions) to decide what each page is about. This way they can direct those searching to the right pages.
So, for example, when someone searches for “What is keyword research” in Google search engine, Google now has to decide which web pages to show them. I optimized this page for the longtail keyword (that is, a specific phrase) “What is Keyword Research”, so my page comes up on the first page or two of a Google search.
What Does it Mean to Optimize a Website for a Keyword?
Let me back up for you a bit. I mentioned that I optimized this page for “What is Keyword Research”. What does that mean exactly?
By optimizing a web page (or post, or any content) for a keyword, I am creating content focused tightly on that keyword. And a keyword doesn’t just have to be a single word. It can be a phrase. In fact, it’s better to find phrases (called “long tail keywords”) to optimize for. This will send more targeted visitors to your website. The traffic you get from those keywords will more than likely be looking for exactly what you have.
By optimizing for a keyword, you hope to rank well for that keyword. Ranking well means to appear on the first page or two of Google when someone searches for that keyword.
If I have my website content focused on a very specific keyword people are looking for, I can be sure to create content that meets the needs of my target audience is already looking for. And I’ll not have to spend money and extra time marketing this content. They will probably find this page just by searching and not through ads.
How Do You Know if Something is a Good Keyword?
This is the question Keyword Research attempts to answer every time you do your homework. Is this a profitable keyword? Can I optimize and rank well for this keyword? Or is there too much competition?
This also can help you determine if there are better similar keywords that readers search more frequently with less competition. Remember, if someone is looking for your information or offers, they may not know enough to use the “correct” terminology. This can be used to your advantage, by optimizing for what keywords people are using to search for what you have, even if you’d use different words as a professional in that niche.
When I do this, there are three basic things I’m looking for.
- Low Competition
- High Searches
- Very specific, targeted information
I’m looking for keywords (and remember, that can include phrases like “What is keyword research”) that have low competition and high searches.
However, if a keyword has a low number of searches (say, 50) but has no competition and is very, very targeted, I’m going to use it. I’m likely to get most of the traffic for that keyword, and I’ll be meeting the needs of those searching since it’s so specific.
By targeted I mean the difference between the phrases, “Keyword Research” (which is general and can be about anything in that field) and “What is keyword research” (which shows someone with little knowledge who is looking for an excellent introduction).
“What is keyword research” is only searched for 480 times on average each month, but has no competition and is very specific. So it makes a suitable topic to write about and to optimize for in my niche. Right?
Compare that with “Keyword Research”. Readers searched for that 22,000 times on average each month and it has a moderate amount of competition. I might try to rank for it if I had to, but I’d have to work harder at it. Plus, this keyword doesn’t show to me what the searchers wanted to know about keyword research. It’s too vague. So I’ll pass.