As search engine optimization (SEO) relies heavily on keyword targeting, keyword research plays a crucial role in the success or failure of an optimization campaign. Properly keyword optimized web contents that are also of high quality are both easily ranked in search engine results pages (SERPs) and are natural link magnets.
Sources of Data
Evidently, proper keyword research is essential to any SEO strategy. Finding the right data mines for efficient and effective keyword research, however, takes time and expertise. As most Edinburgh web designers will tell you, keyword data is constantly changing, so a source of data a year ago may not be as reliable today. Luckily, there are some sources of keyword research data that are almost always reliable, and these data mines are invaluable for proper keyword research which in turn bolsters an SEO strategy. Rise higher and higher in SERP rankings and reel in the inbound links by researching keywords through:
1. Keyword Research Tools
Probably the most well-known and oft-used keyword research tool is Google's free AdWords keyword research tool. A free tool used in conjunction with Google's pay per click AdWords program, the free keyword research tool has been around for several years now, helping entrepreneurs and marketers obtain a general idea of the current keyword market. If you require more power in terms of features and functionalities, paid keyword research tools may be just what you need. Wordtracker has a very popular paid keyword research tool that helps users find and target the right keywords for competitive SERP ranking and efficient SEO. If you would like to learn more in this specific section of the topic, check out the blog.
What these keyword research tools generally do is offer insight on keyword competition. You "seed" a few target keywords into them—usually the general keyword that you would want to rank in SERPs for and they show you how that particular keyword fares against other popular variants. The data can be used to cull keyword targets, choose new ones, and select secondary targets. The information in these tools can range from general to very specific, but while the paid tools offer more power and features, it really all boils down to what you do with the data you mine.
2. Internal Search Data
Where keyword research tools are used for general keyword research (most of the time, anyway) the data you can find within your internal search engine is also a very useful mine for specific keyword research and SEO. Any professional website would do well to offer internal search to make it easier and more convenient for visitors to look for what they want within the website. But aside from providing convenience and ease of use, the internal search data also provides important clues as to what keywords website visitors are using to find what they want.
Think about it: when organic traffic lands on one of your webpages, then immediately uses your internal search, then they didn't get exactly what they want, but they believe it to be within your website. This can mean that the landing page is optimized for a wrong keyword, or you might be missing out on a valuable keyword target. The landing page was relevant, but not specifically what your visitors wanted—you have the chance to target a new traffic demographic by tweaking the keyword optimization for that page or cater to that particular traffic demographic by targeting the keywords they then use in internal search.
3. Competitor Data
Yet another data mine that may come unexpected for many beginning entrepreneurs or marketers is data from competition. In any profitable niche, your business will have some competition. The way you handle your competition dictates if you succeed or fail in that niche, but that doesn't mean you should never give your competitor any second glances. Indeed, it's the opposite: know your competition well enough to know what they're doing right and what they're doing wrong. Emulate and innovate their best practices and learn from their inevitable mistakes.
In pay per click marketing, particularly paid search, competitor data is a typical data mine. This is partly because when you first engage in paid search you will have so little data to base your bids and cost per click metrics on that it's a good idea to take a look at available data from competition. The same can be said for organic SEO: research what your competition is popular for and not-so-popular for, find out why, and learn from it. Implement any strategies you may glean from your research into your keyword targeting and SEO, and your SEO performance will be better for it.
Google's Analytics data is a no-brainer when it comes to keyword research, but what most beginning marketers and entrepreneurs fail to realize is that the negative Analytics data is also an invaluable data mine for keyword research. The positive data such as increased traffic and SERP ranking will definitely "feel good," but you can learn little from it aside from knowing you're currently doing a good job. Take a look at the negative areas, such as typical exit pages and pages where user time spent is very low. Then take a look at their targeted keywords, SERP rankings, and user behavior. Could you be targeting the wrong keywords or offering irrelevant data for your keyword audience?
Exit pages may also hint on a lack of calls to action, where users end up getting what they want and leave, because the webpage failed to call them to further action, presumably a purchase or subscription. If organic traffic spent only seconds looking at a webpage, then that webpage is probably ranking, but for a wrong keyword. It may be high time to tweak the keyword, or if you want to keep a bit of the ranking, tweak the content around the keyword to be more relevant and useful for your target market.
These are just four sources of data for keyword research. They are the most reliable and most useful in general, but be sure to be on the lookout for other valuable sources of information. Social signals and social media, as well as mobile marketing, are already on the rise and providing great data for marketers and entrepreneurs. You may want to delve into them for your keyword research and SEO as well.