So what is keyword research?
“Keyword research is a practice used by Search Engine Optimization professionals to find and research actual search terms people enter into search engines when conducting a search”. Good old Wikipedia!
But, I used to think, what has that got to do with me? I’m a graphic designer. People who want to find graphic designers are going to Google “graphic designer” – (note to Googlebot: I’m not keyword stuffing, honest!). So I’d ignored keyword research for years, thinking I knew better than the 1.5 billion people who make internet searches. All this changed after I heard this excellent interview with Google’s Matt Cutts.
How do you keyword research?
Google “keyword research”, click on Google Adwords Keyword Tool which will be the first result, then enter the keyword(s) you are currently optimizing your site for. When you see the results, click the top of either the Global Monthly Searches or the Local Monthly Searches column. Now you will see the most popular keywords which are being used together with the one(s) you entered. After entering “graphic design”, the following searches caught my eye:
- Creative design – Immediately I saw that I have underused the word “creative” in this site as “creative services”, “creative designers”, “freelance creatives”, etc., are popular searches. Maybe I won’t change the title of the homepage to include the word “creative”. But I can use it in a few blog post titles as it will draw in a bit more traffic.
- Design jobs – Jobs, huh? How’s that going to help me, I thought? These aren’t searches from people looking for graphic designers. These are searches from graphic designers looking for jobs. Yes, but hold on! There’s loads of these searches a month. All I’ve got to do it write some blog posts about design jobs and I’ll get some of that traffic. I immediately thought of some great post ideas about getting design jobs!
- Graphic art – Art is another word that I’d not targeted as I wouldn’t describe myself as a graphic artist. But I can certainly write tutorials about creating graphic art.
- Brochure design – I found it amazing that this was such a popular search. Not as popular as “web design” or “logo design”. But more popular than say, “business card design”, “flyer design” or “leaflet design”. I’ve done plenty of brochures and ebrochures. I should write a blog post or two about that.
In five minutes I had several blog post ideas!
The constant challenge of blogging is having to come up with interesting things to write about every week. More importantly, you have to think of subjects that are interesting to everybody else as well! With keyword research, some of the guesswork is taken out of the equation. You can find out what people are searching for. By writing about what people want to read, you can increase your organic traffic, which can lead to more links, which can lead to more traffic, which can lead to … you get the idea!
Why do keyword research?
The words that are in the title of your website’s pages and in the anchor text of links to your website determine how you will be found through search engines. It’s quite possible that you are targeting the wrong keywords. You may have your website title as “exercise routines” when “fitness training” gets millions more searches, for example.
What about you?
Do you use keyword research? Or have you never done it before, like me? If so, try the above, it’ll only take 2 seconds and tell me what you discover!
Photo credit: Chris John Beckett