Solid Keyword Research is the Key to Search Marketing Success

Solid Keyword Research is the Key to Search Marketing Success
Filtering keywords to focus on targeting those keywords with the most ROI potential

Keyword Research is the Cornerstone of Search Marketing

How can you claim to have a solid search engine marketing plan if you don’t do the necessary keyword research around your niche? In other words, if you want define keywords to purchase in a paid placement or to optimize your pages for organic search (i.e. natural search), you need to understand the search terms used by your target market.

Filtering keywords to focus on targeting those keywords with the most ROI potential
Filtering keywords to focus on targeting those keywords with the most ROI potential

Keyword Research for Organic Search

For organic search, understanding the amount of searches for a particular keyword or keyphrase helps makers to understand the relative demand of a particular word or phrase. Widely accepted industry benchmarks for click distributions in the organic search results show that the top search result will generally garner 40-50% of the clicks for a given search result. If we look at the average cost per click of a given keyword, we can project the commercial intent of a keyword, meaning how likely is the search likely to lead to some commercial outcome.

Some searches are navigational and often include a company or brand name. The primary purpose of this search is to get to known destination. For example, searching for Nike in order to get to the Nike official website. An informational search example is “how to plug a tire.”  This search is informational because the searcher is looking for information to complete a task. From an Internet marketing standpoint, the most beneficial search is the transactional search. An example is “Internet marketing services.” With this search, the intent is likely to be a business researching Internet marketing agencies to possibly hire.

Solid keyword research is the difference between delivering just any traffic and delivering qualified traffic. For example, if you are promoting a product for fading tattoos, you may want to purchase the key phrase “tattoo regret” but pass on the individual keyword “tattoo”, as that would likely deliver a lot of traffic at a higher cost per click, but not drive qualified traffic for your product.

Keyword Research for Paid Search

For paid search, keyword research should include generating a list of long tail key phrases that can be purchased at a lower cost per click and while delivering higher conversion rates. Generally speaking, the more specific a search query or phrase is, the more likely it is to be a transactional query with high commercial intent. The trade-off with long tail key phrases is that you will have to manage more key phrases to deliver the desired volume of visitors as each longtail key phrase will deliver only a fraction of the traffic volume you require.

One of the best tools for performing keyword research for organic or paid search is the Google Keywords Tool. Here is a screen capture of the Google Keyword tool researching the relevant key phrase “keyword research“:

The Google Keyword Tool – “Keyword Research” Example

Example of the Google Keyword Tool running a query for the keyphrase "keyword research"
Example of the Google Keyword Tool running a query for the key phrase “keyword research

Click the image to see a full size view of the Google Keyword Tool Screenshot

The following video is an in depth video demonstrated of using the Google Keywords Tool to conduct keyword research. The video is by James Gladwell

Keyword Research using the Google AdWords Tool

Keyword Research and Why it’s so Important

Whether your search marketing plan includes natural search, paid placement or both, solid keyword research is the cornerstone to your search marketing success and with free tools publicly available, there is no excuse to shortchange keyword research and by extension, your return on search marketing investment. Ideally, keyword research would influence website design, information organization and the words that are used in the website copy. If a website is already built, then keyword research can aide in performing on-page SEO optimizations and adjustments to structure text and html tags in a way to make it easy for search engines to match its users with the most relevant information, ideally yours.

Keyword research will enable marketers, both online and off, to be able to size a market based on using monthly search volume and monthly trend as a proxy of consumer interest in a particular topic area. Only by understanding the words and phrases used by searchers looking for solutions to problems you solve can you create content and information in a way that makes it easy to be discovered.

Start of any Internet marketing projects with solid keyword research to guide upstream online marketing actives to position the Internet marketing project, whatever it may be, for maximum success and ROI (Return On Investment).  Conversely, bypassing keyword research guarantees that a positive outcome is only a matter of chance, and a slim one at that. Finding keywords that have sufficiently high search volume (translated demand) and that are not overly competitive to achieve a positive position in the search results will yield the best results.

We would love to hear your thoughts about keyword research and how you incorporate it into your over Internet marketing strategy.


Rick Noel is an experienced digital marketer enabling businesses and organizations to grow through the Internet, while maximizing marketing ROI (Return On Investment). Rick is the CEO and Co-Founder of eBiz ROI, Inc., a full-service digital marketing agency located in Ballston Lake, NY.

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