Keyword Research: What is it?

SEO is one of the most important digital marketing strategies you can undertake for your business. When your prospects are searching for your business, you want to show up high in the search results. If you don’t and they can’t find you, they’ll have no choice but to go to your competition. An important factor to consider when starting an SEO campaign is keyword research.

Why Keyword Selection is Important

Your target market uses certain keywords and phrases to look for the services you offer online. Targeting these keywords in your content will help your website rank higher on the search engine results page (SERPs), and make it more visible to your audience.

Your digital marketing campaigns success relies heavily on the keywords you use. Creating a list of keywords is just the first step in building a successful marketing campaign; the real challenge lies in selecting the right keywords for your optimisation goals, and ultimately your business goals.

Different Types Of Keywords

Keywords can be divided into two groups based on the length and search volume:

  • Short-tail keywords are usually one or two words long and have the highest search volume. This often makes them difficult to rank for because there is a lot of competition for them. “Dentist” or “Dental Practice” are good examples of short-tail keywords.
  • Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific versions of short-tail keywords. Fewer people search for these terms and there is less competition for them. “Affordable Dentist Near Me” is a long-tail version of “Dentist”.

These types can be further divided based on their purpose:

  • Navigational keywords¬†help searchers find local results. For example, someone might search for “dentist near me” to find dentists close to their current position. Note that Google will generally provide the most relevant local results anyway, so it is good to optimise for this type of keyword.
  • Informational keywords help searchers find information on a topic. Someone looking for information on reducing their tax bill might search for “Tax reduction tips” or simply “Tax reduction”.
  • Transactional keywords are used by searchers looking to buy something online. “Buy textbooks online” and “online clothes shop” are examples of these keywords. Being familiar with these keyword types can help you determine which ones are appropriate to use for your website and your target audience.

What Define a Good Keyword

You may have a website for your business, but that doesn’t mean that “dentist” is a good keyword for your online marketing campaign. You need to keep four major factors in mind when deciding which keywords to use in your website content and online ads.

Buyer Intent & Conversion

Many of the keywords you find through keyword research can generate a lot of traffic for your website, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll see an increase in sales or conversions as well. Choose keywords that appeal to visitors who are most likely going to purchase your services.


Choose keywords that are relevant to your services and content. Your keywords need to describe your content accurately, or your visitors will simply skim your website and leave because they can’t find what they’re looking for.

Search Volume and Competition

Choose relevant keywords that you know you can compete for in the market. It can be tempting to focus solely on keywords with the highest amount of searches, but you should also remember that these are the keywords everyone else is trying to rank for.

By definition, a good keyword is one that is relevant, targetetd and has a combination of good conversion and search volume. Newer sites will benefit from choosing what digital marketers often refer to as “low hanging fruit” (or targeted, long-tail keywords with lower competition and search volume) because they’re easier to rank for. You can always add more competitive phrases as your site continues to grow.

Keywords to Avoid

When going through your keyword research, you need to know which keywords you should avoid using in your campaigns. This quick list can tell you which keywords to eliminate from your campaigns.

Keywords with Little to No Search Volume

Choosing keywords that nobody searches for often means you won’t get any traffic, and not having any traffic means you won’t get any sales.

Broad Keywords

Keywords that are too broad will require an incredible amount of time and resources to rank for, and even then, achieving top ranking is near impossible.

Poorly Targeted Keywords

Failing to choose general keywords based on your target audience can increase your website’s non-targeted traffic. This means more people will visit your site, but your chances of making a sale are low.

Irrelevant Keywords

You will naturally avoid using keywords that have absolutely nothing to do with your business, but those aren’t the only keywords you can consider “irrelevant”. Do not misrepresent yourself by using related keywords that don’t accurately describe what you offer. For example, don’t use the word ‘discount’ in your keywords if you’re not actually offering products at discounted prices.

Grouping Your Keywords

Keyword selection doesn’t stop with choosing the best ones based on the four major factors listed in the previous section. Creating groups of related keywords to allow you to increase your website’s relevance for those keywords improve your click-through-rate (CTR) and improve your Quality Score if you’re running pay-per-click (PPC) ads on Google.

Start creating groups by choosing your main keywords. The main keyword is the highest priority and most competitive keyword in the group. It serves as the “root” for the other keywords its group includes.

For Example…

Your Dental Practice is in Brisbane. Your main keyword might be “Dentist Brisbane”.

Once you have chosen your main keywords, choose your supporting keywords. These are long-tailed keywords that include the keyword.

For Example…

The group with “Dentist Brisbane” as the keyword can include “Dental Hygienist in Brisbane” and/or Who is the best dentist in Brisbane”.


Keyword Research Process

1. Create a List of Relevant Topics

Use your services to start the process and then branch out further into your industry in general to create ideas for topics.

2. Identify Keywords for Each Topic

Each topic will get its own list of keywords derived from the topic.

3. Find Related Keywords or Phrases

Use tools to generate keyword and phrase variables to add to your list. Ubersuggest is a great tool to use.

4. Group Keywords

This process helps you to focus on your campaigns by identifying main keywords and supporting keywords.

5. Check Competition and Cut Down Your List

Establish the relationship of demand to competition, which is the estimated global search impressions divided by the number of exact match search results.


An effective keyword strategy can elevate the success of all your online marketing campaigns and in some instances the success of your campaigns totally rely on your keyword strategy. It is an important element in your marketing strategy that should be given the correct amount of investment in time and effort.

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