Keyword Research and Optimization Are Integral To Online Marketing

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Keyword research and keyword optimization are not dark arts! There’s no danger of becoming “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” if you use the tools that are available to you as they were intended to be used. It’s when you attempt to game the search engines that there will be problems. Every business does itself and their customers a disservice if they do not properly optimize the content that they produce.

keyword researchWhen I was born, there was no internet. At all. That’s only forty years ago. Now we use it all the time, almost regardless of where we are. We expect the answers to all our questions to be instantly available and verifiable at the mere click of a mouse or the tap of a screen. This is such a seamless process that we often forget the technology involved in getting those answers to us.

From a small business perspective, this is an amazing opportunity, to have the ability to reach your audience by answering their questions and providing solutions to their problems without leaving your office. You can reach a section of the global marketplace that you could never have hoped to only a few decades ago. We’re right to get excited about this world of opportunities that have opened up to us.

It’s not a free lunch, however, you still need to work to get your content in front of your audience. Most will use search engines to find the answers they’re looking for; the volume of search queries increase year after year, and there is no end in sight to this trend.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) attempts to bridge the gap between what the search engines need in order to consider your content relevant and of high quality and providing what your audience will find compelling to see and read. Think of it as optimizing your content for both people and computers.

Researching, identifying, and providing what your audience wants has always been part of the product and marketing strategies of most successful businesses, making sure that their products or services meet one or more needs of the intended audience such as physical, legal and regulatory, emotional or aspirational ones. Small businesses have always been at a disadvantage because of how this type of research has until recently been very costly to carry out, but now you can look at data from various sources to find out what potential customers are searching for in and around your niche.

Keyword research is a valuable tool. It’s not for finding words to thoughtlessly stuff into your content as an attempt to game the search engines; it’s there to help you get inside your audience’s heads, to walk in their shoes and to understand the language that they use. This way, you can provide them with what they are looking for in a language that they understand. If you do this well by using your keyword research the right way then your content will also naturally be considered relevant and of quality by the search engines.

Not using relevant language and keywords across your content and site structure is a bit like owning a grocery superstore that has no street address, no signs to guide customers to the  store, no signs within the store itself and the shelves are randomly stocked with products in a haphazard manner. You might be happy to do this as it is less for you to have to think about in the short-term, but you’d have a hard time staying in business! People won’t be able to find you, and if they do by accident then they will leave frustrated having had a bad experience. Using keywords appropriately provides signposts for the search engines so that they can index your site and direct your audience straight to what they are seeking.

Give your business a fighting chance to be successful online — incorporate SEO from the ground up. There are plenty of free tools and tutorials that can help you get started with keyword research and SEO. Unfortunately, it is the case that a great deal of SEO information out there is less reliable than you would like, and it can be hard to work out who is providing solid information about the topic. I’d suggest that you head over to SEOmoz and start with their beginners guide to SEO; they walk you through the process in easy to manage steps and will have you on the right track in no time at all!

Do you use SEO on your website? What tools do you use to do your keyword research? Please leave a comment below!

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Kittie Walker

Kittie Walker

Managing Director at Avidmode Ltd.
Managing Director at Avidmode — We,re a digital business consultancy providing design & development, inbound marketing and strategic solutions for small business. We're based in London, UK, but work with clients all over the world. With over 20 years business experience in multiple industries, I bring a wealth of skills to the projects I participate in. I have in-depth knowledge of the retail, leisure, banking, hospitality, healthcare and IT sectors. I've got an MBA, a teaching certificate and a passion for lifelong learning. Just about to embark on a BA in Journalism and Media!
Kittie Walker

@avidmode

Design & development, content creation, inbound marketing and strategic solutions for business — made in London. Also Tweeting over at @kittie_walker
Should You Choose A Free WordPress Theme? http://t.co/OeNPllD3yS via @coschedule - totally agree choosing poorly is a bad idea! - 30 mins ago
Kittie Walker
Kittie Walker
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Comments

  1. Nice job Kittie. I loved your comparison of a website lacking SEO and the grocery store with no signs. Nice visual to drive home the importance of SEO.

  2. Kittie Walker says:

    Thanks DJ – I seem to use that one a lot!

  3. Wow, Kittie talk about perfect timing! I was just sitting here thinking that I need to freshen up on my on SEO skills. Your post is so logical and I love the grocery store analogy. SEO is just so important.

    I recently had a conversation with someone who said that people no longer find web sites via search, that its all about having an app. I didn’t even bother to argue. :)

  4. Kittie, two lines stand out for me, "It’s not a free lunch", so true. Too many believe you just throw stuff up on the "wall" so to speak, and the customers and clients will come running with credit cards and wallets open…wrong. The other line that I just love, "Give your business a fighting chance to be successful online" , business owners need to understand the process, and as Mallie Hart so nicely points out in her blog,"Say No to Shortcuts" it takes time.

  5. Kittie, two lines stand out for me, "It’s not a free lunch", so true. Too many believe you just throw stuff up on the "wall" so to speak, and the customers and clients will come running with credit cards and wallets open…wrong. The other line that I just love, "Give your business a fighting chance to be successful online" , business owners need to understand the process, and as Mallie Hart so nicely points out in her blog,"Say No to Shortcuts" it takes time.

    Nice job and thanks for always providing great content….

  6. Good stuff.
    You would think that the web and web based marketing has been around long enough for this to be common sense by now. But it's not, sadly. All the more reason for people like you to keep spreading the message.

  7. "Integral" is one way of putting it I guess. Personally, I'm thinking more on the lines of "vital". After all, without proper research and optimization, your online marketing campaign can basically be compared to a bull running around in a pitch black china store.

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