One of the questions I get asked a lot is; What is the most important part of SEO? Every time I answer with Keyword Research.

Knowing what your customers are searching for is vital information that you can use to drive sales, and don’t think you already know! Almost everyone I see for SEO training are targeting key phrases that are not being searched for.

Here’s a couple of recent examples:

I was working with a restaurant in Herefordshire and they were targeting the phrase ‘Eating in Herefordshire’ and thought they were doing the right thing. After some research using the Google keyword tool, we found out that the phrase they were targeting got very few searches and much better phrases to go for were ‘Restaurants in Herefordshire’ and ‘Eating out in Herefordshire’ – much better results.

Another example was a client who was targeting ‘Wye Valley attractions’, again very low searches and we chose much better phrases to target.

All this being said, don’t ignore the niche. A phrase that gets few searches a month is still worth targeting but make sure you do this on a separate page and not on your home page or main landing areas. You’ll probably find that the niche pages convert to sales or leads better as well.

What Tools To Use In Keyword Research
We’re boring! We don’t spend money on fancy tools we just use 3 resources.

  1. Google’s Keyword Tool – gives an idea of how many searches a phrase gets and the competition levels.
  2. Thesaurus – great for finding out new words and phrases that you’d never have thought of.
  3. Brainstorming – we talk about the phrases in the office, shout out words, write lots down.

Keeping it simple is the main thing. The more tools you use the more complicated it gets and all you’re trying to do is find out words that people use to search for your service or products.

Get together with colleagues, friends and family and make a list of the phrases that you think people will search for then trim this list down using the Google tool to what people actually search for. You’ll save yourself an awful lot of time and won’t be targeting wasted phrases.

Let me know your success stories and leave your thoughts in the comments below.