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We’re finishing up our discussion on keyword research and creating a plan that’s the foundation of website development.
Trending & Cultural Interpretation
Keyword Research also includes trending information. Building a site on a dying keyword or choosing keywords that have killer competitors makes no sense. By using an analytic approach, the research should cross-reference trending insights as well its potential benefit (number of total searches divided by the competition). We use Google Insights for Search as it allows you to explore categories, seasonality, geographic distribution as well as trending.
Another key element to keyword research is an understanding of culture (e.g., search terms in the US vary from those in Britain) as well as geographic nuances (Southeast vs. Northwest). So whoever you hire to do White Hat SEO research should have a firm grasp on the analytics as well as the ability to interpret for your country’s culture and geographic region. Believe it or not, there are keywords used primarily in one or two states that do not translate across the country.
Keyword Research: Long Tails
The Long Tail refers to the statistical phenomena where a term is more specific and has fewer searches. However, a long-tail keyword is an indication that a searcher is closer to buying. The reasoning is that they have used broader keywords to educate themselves on a topic. For example, a person may be interested in buying a pair of shoes. They may first search on “shoes” or “women shoes.” They may graduate to “women leather pumps.” As they get closer to making a purchase they may search on “Jimmy Choo red patent leather pumps size 9.”
Long-tail keywords typically have less searches from a numerical standpoint, but they have higher value for potential online conversion. If you’re like me, you want some concrete data on the subject. I recommend using a tool like Raven (disclosure: we love this tool so much we’re an affiliate). For a free keyword tool, you can’t beat Google’s AdWord Tool.
One last thought, keyword research should be periodically refreshed. Why? Trending. Keywords used today may not have the same weight and relevance in a year’s time. Keeping the data refreshed will feed into blog posts and other relevant content that brings coveted visitors to your site.
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