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By now, most digital marketing strategists understand the importance of conducting SEO keyword research, will be able to conduct basic keyword research quickly and easily, and will have incorporated the step as a part of their regular practice before launching any digital marketing campaign. It’s not a new concept, and it’s likely not going away any time soon, so knowing how to do it is vital. But search engine algorithms are changing daily: key elements that once bore a lot of weight might become less significant as more and more businesses latch on to the same strategies. And as the landscape keeps shifting, savvy businesses have come to understand that they need to change with the times and adapt to new SEO keyword research strategies – or risk falling behind. Here are a handful of the key ways that businesses are conducting even smarter keyword research.

Think about your competitors.

For most, the SEO keyword research process looks something like this: first, you set up your spreadsheet with a seed list of starting phrases or terms, and then you use SEO keyword research tools to expand upon and refine that list. It’s easy enough to stop there, but being smart with your keyword research means not only rising through the ranks, but jumping over the competition to get there. That’s why conducting keyword research for your competitors – and not just yourself – is vital. Once you have researched the keywords your competitors use, you can then set to work figuring out how to incorporate them into your own marketing. If yours is a particularly crowded market, this is a must-do, but something that not everyone takes the time to consider when thinking about their SEO strategy.

scarbble tiles spelling out keywords

Think about conversion.

Not all keywords are created equal: some operate differently than others. While all keywords demonstrate some level of intent and interest in your product (that’s what makes them keywords, after all), how likely the keyword will be to actually help you convert (rather than just generate interest) can vary. Keyword terms that are brand-specific typically generate the greatest conversion, while general product keyword terms, audience terms, and competitor terms will have less power to convert. Your brand-specific keyword terms – however – won’t necessarily be the strongest in terms of SEO – when it comes to reaching the most Googlers, general product terms tend to fare much better. Ultimately, you need to have a healthy mix of both, so that you can reach audiences who do not yet have brand loyalty, and so you can convert those who’ve already heard of you. And speaking of not all keywords being equal…

Think about keyword difficulty.

Just like some keywords convert easier than others, some keywords will drive you through the ranks faster than others. It all depends on two key things: the keyword difficulty, and the keyword volume. Keyword volume is just what it sounds like: the volume of searches using that particular keyword. Obviously, you want to find the keywords that are high-volume for your market or product, but there’s a catch. Higher-volume keywords tend to occur more so in competitive and overcrowded markets, and if that’s your space, it’s likely that those keywords are also high-difficulty (in other words, the likelihood that they’ll help you skyrocket through the ranks is far less). The goal is to try to use keywords that are high-volume but low-difficulty, which is easier said than done. Luckily, tools like Rank Tracker can tell you fairly quickly how a keyword fares, both in terms of volume and difficulty.

Contact Gauge Digital Media Today

Since SEO keyword research strategies are in constant flux, it’s definitely worth consulting with a digital marketing strategist who’s keeping on top of the change. At Gauge Digital Media, we proactively monitor trends in SEO keyword research and work with clients to improve their SEO using a variety of tools and techniques. Give us a call at (410) 376-7709 if you’re curious about what you could be doing to improve SEO and keep ahead of your competition with a smarter digital strategy.