For most businesses, the Internet is the single most important channel for reaching existing and potential customers. And with more than 1.6 billion websites in the world today (read more about this in our blog here), it’s never been more crucial to make sure you’re talking to your audience in the terms that they are searching for.

It all starts with keeping your ear to the ground and doing some keyword research. And it’s not just important for SEO – it’s the foundation of all other digital techniques like content marketing, big data and social media marketing.

When writing content for your website or any online marketing activity the focus should always be to deliver the content that your audience wants to know about. But with so much noise online it’s now more important than ever to also create content that isn’t just in demand, but that is also easy to find in search engines.

Simply put, if you don’t know which relevant keywords should lead your audience to your site, you can’t drive traffic, sales, and return on your Internet investment.

If you’re paying for your clicks through Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Yahoo Ads or any of the other paid search engine options, the use of relevant keywords is even more paramount. Non-specific, generic keywords will chew up your budget in next to no time, and while you might be getting the clicks, you won’t be getting the conversions because what you’re saying probably isn’t relevant to what the searcher is looking for.

Think of it this way – would you rather expose yourself to 20,000 searches a month and get 1 sale, or 2,000 searches per month and get 5 sales? The more relevant your research and the more specific your keywords, the more likely the people who hit your site will actually want to know what it is you’ve got to say.

A keyword is a specific word or phrase that someone types into a search engine in order to find information. As an example, ‘SEO’ is a single keyword but it’s a very broad subject so the search results that are returned would in turn be extensive and not necessarily relevant to what the searcher is interested in finding. Broad keywords such as this mean it is difficult for Google and other search engines to rank the results in the order that they think is most relevant to you. Given that SEO is such a general term, results are likely to be prioritised based on location proximity to the searcher.

Enter long tail keywords, which are more specific search terms – for example ‘Top Ranked Sydney SEO Expert.’ This term is vastly more specific and the search results would be a lot closer to what the searcher is actually looking for. The benefit of this is that you’ll eliminate any traffic that wasn’t interested in what you’ve got to say.

Yes it’s true that the longer and more specific your keywords are the less people will search for them – but on the flip side you’re more likely to rank well because there is less competition since many website still aren’t optimised for those long tail keywords. It’s generally accepted by the industry that the key phrase curve looks like this:

So how do you figure out which keywords are the right ones to use? You can use the services of an SEO expert such as Broadcast SEO, or you can take the DIY approach and use tools such as the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. You can also get long tail keyword ideas just by using the search box in Google, which uses an algorithm to automatically predict possible search queries and shows these in a dropdown list:

Other options include:

Keyword Tool – Just enter your keyword, and the Keyword Tool provides hundreds of long-tail keyword ideas and common questions asked.

Google Trends – enter your search terms and Google will give you a historical view over the last 12 months (or up to 5 years) showing how many monthly searches have been conducted for each term.

SEMRush is also a great site that will give you loads of information, including displaying your top organic keywords and who your top competitors are. Here’s a snapshot for Broadcast SEO:

It’s important to cast your keyword net as widely (but specifically!) as possible, and to continue to check keyword trends as these definitely change over time. As an example, check this 5-year comparison result from Google Trends:

Five years ago, the search terms ‘digital marketing’ and ‘online marketing’ had roughly the same volume of searches each month. But in March 2015 things started to change, with ‘online marketing’ remaining relatively static and ‘digital marketing’ increasing in volume. If you don’t stay on top of what’s happening in your market – or more importantly, what terms your potential audience are using to find you – you’ll start to become irrelevant to your audience and miss out on business.

We know that keyword research can be boring and mundane but it’s absolutely vital if you want your intended audience to find you. Here at Broadcast SEO we’re experts in SEO and digital marketing and we work with businesses all over Australia. If you need a hand, we’re here to help – just check out some of our work here or contact us for a chat.