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Why Market Research is Necessary Before Choosing SEO Keywords

market research before SEO keywordsIn the context of online marketing, “keywords” refers to search terms that people plug into a search engine (e.g. Google, Bing, etc.) in order to find relevant websites.

Naturally, being on the other end of this search process is valuable and coveted. For example, if a business provides laptop repair services in St. Louis, then showing up at or near the top of the results page for keyword phrases like “St. Louis laptop repair” or “fix my laptop in St. Louis” can translate into dozens or even hundreds of new customers a week.  

Of course, as many businesses have already experienced – some happily, and others not-so-much – climbing to the top of Mount Google is NOT an overnight process. Much like getting healthy or transforming a weed-infested lot into a house that could appear on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens, winning the SEO game is a long-term approach and investment based on various strategies and tactics.

Now, we’re not going to drill into these strategies and tactics because we’d need several blogs posts – or maybe even a few books – to cover everything. However, what we can certainly point out that the core of every SEO campaign is choosing the right keywords, and avoiding the wrong ones. That’s where market research enters the picture and makes all the difference.

There are two key aspects of market research that matter: qualitative data and quantitative data. Each of them shed light on a piece of the keyword puzzle, and they are BOTH required.

Qualitative Data Collection Methods for Keyword Research

Qualitative data collection methods (e.g. interviews, focus groups, etc.), are used to help businesses understand WHY customers are using search terms.  

Let’s return to our St. Louis laptop repair company example. Qualitative market research may reveal, quite surprisingly, that a significant group of people either search for (or would search for, if they had a broken laptop) a solution using the phrase “shattered screen repair.”

Why might this be the case? Well, it could be that Apple or Dell recently ran a major marketing campaign where they introduced and emphasized the phrase “shattered screen repair.” What’s more, qualitative market research may (once again unexpectedly) reveal that people will/would search for “shattered screen repair” even if their screen isn’t broken, but they have some other issue with their laptop – such as a sticky keyboard. For these customers, “shattered screen” has become a catch-all term to represent “broken laptop.”

Quantitative Data for Keyword Research

Using quantitative data collection methods (e.g. surveys) for keyword research is a highly effective way to glean the words that customers are actually using to associate with a product/service/solution, or a business and its brand. This information can then be used to identify keywords and keyword themes, that ultimately lead to higher search ranking and more customers.

What’s more, this data can also help businesses shape and refine their marketing messages, and make sure that they’re conveying terms of reference that their target market really uses – instead of what they should be using or might be using, but aren’t.

Learn More

Whenever a business has a conversation with a customer – whether it is a deep dialogue (focus group) or a relatively quick chat (web survey) – there is the possibility of uncovering incredibly valuable insights that translate into actionable intelligence and profitable results. Using market research for keyword selection and optimization is one of the best examples of this value proposition.

To learn more, contact the Communications For Research team today to chat with our co-CEO Colson Steber. We partner with marketing agencies and directly with businesses to give them the keyword data advantage they need to surge past their competition, and connect with profitable customers.

For more information on the value of market research and how to communicate it to your clients, download our FREE eBook:

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