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3 Reasons Why Keyword Research Still Matters

Published: December 17, 2014

Despite the introduction of semantic search technology and the effect of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update on local search, your choice of target keywords still plays an important role in determining the ultimate success of your SEO efforts.

While semantic technology is designed to draw its own conclusions as to the intent of the search engine user, it still uses your root keyword as the starting point for interpreting the contextual meaning of the terms entered into the search query box. Hummingbird doesn’t eliminate the need for proper keywords, it just searches beyond the keywords to determine the user’s intent.

Because different keywords contain different levels of interest and intent, proper keyword research is necessary to help you identify those keywords that will target the search engine users that are the most likely to be interested in your offering. Adding synonyms and terms that are semantically related to your keywords will help boost your relevance in the eyes of the search engines as well as make your text flow more naturally and be easier to read.

Keyword Research Can Help You Better Optimize Your Title Tags

  • Proper title tags are a critically important element in ranking your web pages.
  • A title tag that contains a popular and relevant keyword that accurately describes your web page content will increase your visibility among users that include that term in their search query.

Keyword Research Can Help You Write More Relevant and Persuasive Content
Keyword research can provide you with insights into the topic ideas that your audience is most interested in reading about. The closer your content is aligned with what your audience is actively searching for, the greater the chance you have of attracting quality traffic to your web pages.

Keyword Research Improves Your Chances of Ranking for Specific Keywords
It’s no secret that the vast majority of search traffic is focused on the first page of the search results. If your company is in a fairly competitive niche, it might make more sense to target keywords that are less popular and may have been overlooked by your competitors.

Keyword research can help you uncover this “low hanging fruit” that offers the possibility of your web pages dominating the search results for lower volume keywords. When it comes to search ranking, there’s a lot to be said for being the big fish in a little pond. It makes little sense to beat your head against the wall trying to compete for a page one ranking position for a highly competitive keyword when you have the option of dominating the results for a less popular keyword that still delivers a reasonable amount of traffic.

The Best Keyword Research Tools
There are a number of keyword research tools that will help you drill down and select the best keywords for your particular situation. Many are either free to use or offer a free trial period. Here is a rundown, in no particular order, of some of the most popular options available.

Google Keyword Planner is free to use but requires you to sign up for an AdWords account in order to gain access. View average monthly volume statistics as well as synonyms and suggestions for keyword variations.

Wordstream’s Keyword Tool offers 30 free searches before you have to break out the credit card. Widely used for both organic and PPC keyword research.

Ubersuggest is a great free tool that delivers a multitude of keyword variations for practically any root keyword you can think of.

FreshKey is currently available for a one-time charge of $49.95. This extremely versatile software delivers new keyword ideas sorted by popularity as well as variations and synonyms.