Effectively research before starting any SEO or Online Marketing campaign.

Research Is Vital

Just like laying a foundation before building a house, research reveals the data-driven information on which you should build your website.  The most important areas to research are:

  1. Which topics should be the focus of your website content
  2. What can you learn from your competitors

Let’s take a look more specifically at why these two aspects of research are so valuable.

Research SEO 1

Keyword Research

An important element to know from the beginning is how consumers are searching for your business.  You may have an idea of what words people are using to search online, and that’s an excellent place to start.  If these words or phrases, called keywords or keyphrases, can be identified, then you can build your site and content around this information.  This give you a greater likelihood of being found by the right people online.

Although your hunch is a starting point, research will provide data-backed information on the most relevant keywords to target.

keyword research screenshotThe purpose of keyword research is to uncover:

What keywords or keyphrases are consumers actually using –

In your business there are expressions you use everyday that seem commonplace. But does the general public use the same terminology?  We will research the most commonly searched for words and phrases related to your topic.  For example, perhaps you sell a variety of caps and hats and so it seems that the phrase “headwear” would be a good one to target and encompass all types and styles.  Although that may be true, thousands more searches are done for the words “caps” and “hats” than the word “headwear”.  In order to have a broad reach, you’ll want to target these words more specifically in your content.

What is the average volume of searches for these words –

As the example above shows, knowing what keywords are being searched for in greater volume may have an effect on the content of your website. On the other hand, if you are in a small niche business the keywords you focus on may have lower search volumes, but still drive targeted traffic to your site.  These factors unique to your business all come in to play during the research stage.

What is the searcher’s intent –

Some keywords indicate the user is ready for action, such as “landscaping services near me”. Most likely this searcher is looking to purchase landscaping services.  Whereas someone searching for “backyard landscaping ideas” may be just gathering information, or even looking to start a do-it-yourself project at their home.  And someone just searching for “landscaping” could have any variety of intent.

An effective website will provide content that both educates and generates sales inquiries.

Targeting keywords that indicate both an intent to learn and an intent to buy can be beneficial for different reasons.  Keywords that are too broad should generally be avoided as they don’t produce any targeted result for your business.

This preliminary research will help determine the best keywords to target to reach your business goals.  Starting off with this research lays a good foundation for more on point results.  As time passes and consumers or your business changes, this is a valuable activity to revisit and make sure your site is still on track.

Competitor Research

An excellent source of information is looking at what your top online competitors are doing.

If a business is ranking above yours in online search results, there is a reason why.

Trying to uncover what is working for your competitors can generate ways to improve your own online presence.  Areas where we will assess your competitors include:

  • Website – How does their website look in comparison to yours? Does it answer searchers questions more quickly or is it easier to navigate?  Does it contain media such as videos or informational downloads?  Comparing top competitor’s websites will give you an idea what you need to reach that top spot.
  • Traffic – How much traffic do your competitors get to their website? How does it compare with your traffic?
  • Keywords – What keywords are generating traffic to your competitors sites?  Are they effectively targeting keywords that your site does not?
  • Backlinks – How many backlinks do the websites have? What domains are linking to their site?  Perhaps this will uncover new ideas to backlinks for your own site.
  • Reviews – How many customer reviews to your competitors have and on what sites? Is their review spectrum broader than that of your business?  How active are they on social media in comparison to you?

This research of your competition will provide a realistic overview of what it may take to stand out online in your field of business.  It will also help gauge the level of difficulty for success and establish the best path to your desired results.

It's Time To Act

Ready to Benefit from Competitor & Keyword Research?