Part of good keyword research is about being realistic and selecting appropriate keywords for targeting that take into account the site’s age, current authority and any future optimisation that will take place.
There’s nothing wrong with targeting generic keywords, I’m simply saying that if your campaign has limited budget and you need results in the short to medium term then targeting less trafficked, less competitive keywords is a much better way to utilise resources.
Lower traffic but lower competition keywords might not seem as exciting to target but if your website can dominate these areas fairly quickly then you are going to see far more traffic from the search engines than failing to effectively target a much more competitive term.
Search volume is of course a very important metric when it comes to keyword research but all too often people make the mistake of looking at broad search volumes rather than the exact match figure when using tools like Google’s Keyword Tool.
Still, this wouldn’t prove particularly problematic as this is obviously still a keyword worth targeting – it would knock traffic and ROI projections way off kilter if you do these kinds of things though.
It is widely accepted that Google’s Keyword Tool isn’t entirely accurate when it comes to search volumes but using exact match gives you the best data available when assessing how viable a keyword is to target.
I will readily admit that Google is much better at determining that a singular and plural version of a keyword are one and the same, but in many cases there are still differences in the search results.
This one could easily turn into a rant for me because so often I come up against clients who want to rank for [insert trophy keyword] when in actual fact they’d do better (financially) targeting a different keyword or set of keywords.
If you have goal tracking setup with Google Analytics, you can easily determine the highest converting keywords your site currently gets traffic from, try to identify patterns in your highest converting keywords and then translate and apply this knowledge to other areas of keyword research.
This is yet more rationale to further humanise the keyword research process because most keyword tools struggle to compute words and their meaning in the way a human would.
For example, a searcher looking for ‘storage’ could be looking for a self-storage centre, boxes and other storage furniture for the home or even professional storage solutions for a warehouse or office.
Opportunities for confused targeting are abundant which is why it is essential the keywords you decide to target are highly-relevant and laser-focused towards what your business offers.
A good way to do this is to search manually for the keywords in Google and see the kinds of results that come up, you will likely be able to get a feel for whether the keyword is applicable to the product or service you intended to target.
If a marketplace is shifting over time then you would also expect customer search behaviour to develop and evolve over time too – this makes regular keyword reviews essential.
Any time period shorter than this and there is a risk that targeting becomes a bit chaotic with efforts focused on new keywords before results on old keywords have been achieved or evaluated.
Cash cows – the high performing keywords that show little opportunity for growth – look for ways to enhance and maintain performance whilst identifying patterns and translating this learning to other areas or verticals.