Keyword research is critical to so many components of your digital marketing strategy that it’s even more important than ever that you’re doing your keyword research right. From the content you publish in your blogs to your search engine marketing campaigns, good keyword research directly affects the value of your return on investment.
Playing the search engine optimization game can take you down a deep rabbit-hole. SEO isn’t just about getting users to find your website: a good SEO strategy takes into consideration how to encourage users to engage with your site, follow your calls to action, and ultimately buy.
Optimizing your business’s site for search engine rankings is more than just picking a few phrases that describe your products and jumping in head-first. Poor keyword selection could be causing your SEO strategy to fail, as well as causing potential customers to navigate away before they ever make a connection to your brand.
Today, the New Jersey SEO experts at Reclaim Digital are talking the dos and don’ts of keyword research and selection. We’ll reveal the biggest mistakes most business owners and novice digital marketers make that kill a company’s SEO strategy.
What is keyword research?
Quite simply, keyword research is the process of researching and selecting words and phrases that you think people use to search for products & services online that relate to your business.
If your company sells organic dog food and treats, your digital marketing strategy will start with this list of words and phrases that you want to include in your website and online advertising campaigns. Off the top of your head, you’ll probably list keywords like:
- Organic dog food
- Organic dog treats
- Dog treats organic
- Dog food organic
- Organic canine treats
With a little more thought and provocation from an expert in SEO, you might realize that there might be a few additional phrases people might toss into a search engine when looking for organic dog food.
Did you know that 4,400 people misspell “dog food” as “dogfood” in search engine queries every month?
Did you know that almost as many people search “certified organic dog food” as simply “organic dog food” – but they’re receiving different search results than if they omit “certified?”
Did you know that almost 100,000 searches each month related to organic dog food are actually from people using the phrase “best dog food?”
If your website or ads don’t include any of those additional phrases, you’re company is missing out on a huge chunk of the online market of people looking for organic dog food!
If your company serves a particular geographic region (or wants to start monopolizing one), you’ll have an additional dimension to consider when selecting your keywords and phrases.
For businesses in the Garden State, for example, including your township, county, city, or state abbreviation brings up a variety of additional decisions to make.
New Jersey SEO experts at Reclaim Digital take keyword research very seriously. When it comes to your company’s digital marketing strategy, it all starts with selecting the right keywords with which to optimize your site and advertising content.
To encourage you to think a few steps further about your own keyword research, here are our list of ___ reasons expert research is critical, along with some of the biggest mistakes most businesses are making that keep their website in the double digit pages of search engine returns.
- Relevant keywords ensure the right customers hit your site.
It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many novices in SEO strategy botch this.
One of the metrics by which complex search engines determine which sites to show first is the bounce rate. This is the amount of time users spend on your website before moving somewhere else. If you have a high bounce rate, it means people are not staying on your site very long. They hit your home page and decide it’s not for them, then exit your domain, rather than exploring more pages within your domain.
If your website has a particularly high bounce rate, search engines come to the conclusion that your site is not valuable to its users. Therefore your site will drop to the farthest pages of results.
For example, let’s say your company offers tree care and landscape needs, and you’d like to draw more customers by using the keyword “bark problems.” You don’t realize that many people search “bark problems” in reference to their dog’s barking as a nuisance. When these people reach your site in error, they go back to find what they’re really looking for. Each time this happens, your bounce rate goes up, and your search ranking goes down.
- Rule out highly-competitive keywords
Now that the secrets of SEO strategy are out, almost every company is taking advantage of the same tricks to claw their way to the first pages of Google search results.
This means there is a lot of competition over some keywords and phrases.
Good keyword research tools can compare phrases you’re interested in claiming to see which already have hundreds (or millions) of other websites ranking well for those phrases.
As a startup, it will be almost impossible for your company to rank in the first few pages in a search for “organic dog food.” However, if your headquarters are in Bergen County, NJ, you could focus first on creating a specific New Jersey SEO campaign. You could instead compare New Jersey SEO phrases like “Bergen County organic dog food” or “Organic dog food shops in Bergen County NJ.” In this manner, you could conquer one geographic market at a time.
Furthermore, when it comes to a digital advertising campaign, using highly-competitive keywords influences the cost of your ads and how effective they are.
Good keyword research can also reveal negative keywords that negatively affect your spending and targeted ad strategy.
- Keyword Research Uncovers Hidden Opportunities
In a world of trends that come and go daily, you never know what totally-unexpected keyword trend could suddenly shift web traffic in your direction.
Who knows when a celebrity from Real Housewives of New Jersey might create a public outrage scandal over her pampered pup’s food?
If you had an expert in keyword research on your team, he or she might recognize an opportunity for your company to capitalize on the phrase “New Jersey organic dogfood” by working in a few clever blogs or ad campaigns paralleling the phraseology of the highly-searched “Real Housewife of New Jersey organic dog food scandal.”
Sure, it’s an exaggeration, but it is absolutely realistic for hot-button news topics and pop culture trends to have a constant effect on keyword searches and competition levels. Learning to maneuver change and taking advantage of trends are what make expert keyword research critical to digital marketing teams, like the New Jersey SEO experts at Reclaim Digital.
- Bad Keyword Research Affects your ROI
All research is good research, right?
Bad keyword research is the result of simply grabbing the most obvious, generic phrases related to your business.
If those keywords aren’t tailored to your site, you could be bringing in the wrong audience. This goes back to the point about doing your research to make sure you’re choosing relevant keywords so that you don’t affect your bounce rate negatively when the wrong people hit your site.
Sometimes, using the obvious word choices could bring in tons of traffic from people actually interested in your topic matter – but they’re still the wrong target. Why? Because if you’ve inadvertently catered your website to ‘looky-loos’ and ‘freebie-snatchers,’ your vanity metrics will soar while your ROI tanks.
What we mean is this: tons of people browse the web for interesting reading, inspiration for DIY, or scandals to share on social media. If your site is tailored to a phrase that attracts a type of audience that loves to browse but never buys, then you’re wasting all of your digital marketing dollars.
- Content Campaigns are Futile Without Good Keywords
Here’s a point from our content department, of whom many were freelance writers before joining our NJ SEO & Content team at Reclaim Digital.
So many businesses hear about blogging as an effective SEO strategy, but they don’t realize that they could be absolutely wasting their blog without effective keywords in place first.
I don’t know how many times I would accept a blogging job for a company that wanted to outsource the work purely for an SEO standpoint, only to realize that the keywords they wanted me to incorporate were super generic, like “cell phones” or “office supplies.”
Knowing when it’s better to use longtail keywords – or even knowing what a longtail keyword IS for that matter – is a big deal when you’re shelling out cash for a writer to generate content for your blog.
You could spend thousands of dollars annually on generating and maintaining a blog for your content campaign, but if the keywords your writer is incorporating are ridiculously competitive or irrelevant, your entire content campaign is money down the drain.
Until you determine which keywords and phrases really bring in the traffic that your business needs, you won’t be able to accurately or efficiently optimize the content in your blogs, articles, and webpages.
- Good Research isn’t one-and-done
Businesses often make the mistake of thinking that they’re done once they’ve completed some initial keyword research and narrowed down their list to a comfy 10-20 phrases to work with.
Remember that Real Housewife of New Jersey SEO trend example we used earlier? What if, a month after the scandal, the keyword becomes obsolete? If your New Jersey SEO team forgets to check in on the trending phrases from time to time, your Bergen County dog food company could still be throwing all of your advertising efforts at the original phrases that are now irrelevant.
Keywords change constantly, just like the work flow of your business. We consider it part of our job to keep up with the evolution of contemporary society.
New Jersey SEO Experts: Reclaim Digital
If reading this list is giving you a headache or leaving you more confused than when you began, consider shooting us a note at Reclaim Digital. We honestly geek out on the ever-changing trends within digital marketing, and we make it our job to know your business’s goals inside and out in order to leverage the trends in your favor.
Our headquarters is based in Bergen County, New Jersey, so if you’re a local business looking to ramp up your digital marketing, SEO, or SEM campaign, we’re always happy to apply our laser-focus on New Jersey SEO campaigns to target local business for you.
However, our expertise is not limited to New Jersey area businesses. Because we can work remotely, Reclaim Digital happily serves up SEO strategies that extend across the map.