Search is still predominately based on words

A searcher types a word or phrase and the search engine returns a list of single web pages.

Google is good at ‘semantic searches’ – listing pages with content relevant to our search even if it doesn’t contain the actual search terms. For example if you search for ‘fish tanks’ it might list some pages about ‘aquariums,’ but the actual terms entered are still an important factor affecting most searches.

Keywords are still important in SEO today.

So exactly what keywords are important?

Good question. Often we assume to know the particular words or phrases that our visitors will use, but the reality can be quite different – people will try all sorts of words, often words we haven’t thought of.

And you might be just considering the one main feature of your business – ‘pet shop’ for example – but that’s usually just the tip of the iceberg. People will also be searching for ‘puppies,’ ‘cute puppies,’ ‘pug puppies,’ ‘puppy food,’ and maybe ‘cheap black hawk large breed puppy formula’ etc. And then there are the cats and birds and fish!

One of the first steps of keyword research is producing a long list of keywords that are relevant to our business.

The goal of keyword research

Find some keywords worth working with:

  1. keywords that are relevant to your business goals
  2. keywords that don’t have insurmountable competition
  3. keywords that have a decent number of high quality people searching for them

Putting effort into a keyword that doesn’t have those 3 traits is a waste of time.

Keyword research weeds out the duds.

The research software isn’t cheap

Online research tools cut down on keyword research time a lot, but SEO is a lucrative endeavour for big companies and the good SEO software companies charge high subscriptions accordingly, which isn’t great news for small businesses like us.

There are free tools around, Google offers its own, and these are good for coming up with an initial list of keywords including all the ones we may not think of. However these free tools don’t provide an effective assessment of each keyword’s level of competition.

The premium tools are worth using because they save so much time, it’s just too slow going through a long list of keywords manually.