For some of those not working with a search engine optimization company, keyword research is a simple process of either choosing search terms with the highest traffic counts or writing down a list of terms assumed to be relevant to the associated website. An example of the first method would be for a website that sells snowboarding travel packages to select a keyword like “snowboarding”.

Granted, in terms of traffic volume “snowboard” is an extremely popular search term within the category. Going with a broad keyword, however, presents a couple of different issues:

* The term is so generic that the competition for the keyword ranks near the top of the category. For even the most seasoned search engine optimization company the optimization process, at least one with any hopes of success, would take months or years of work and an enormous budget.

* Even if, against all odds, a successful search engine marketing campaign managed to get a high ranking with the search engines for the term, the resulting traffic would be so untargeted that a majority of visitors that clicked through to the site would depart quickly because they were looking for something else related to “snowboarding”.

* Search engine users are becoming savvier and are now employing more detailed search terms (aka keyphrases) to find what they are looking for. It’s very likely that the people this website would love to target would be using a keyphrase like “snowboarding travel packages Aspen” and skipping the generic term “snowboarding” altogether.

The process of making assumptions and/or guessing on the best keywords has its pitfalls as well. Using the previous example, a list of keywords and keyphrases formed around “snowboarding travel packages” might actually contain terms that could be optimized successfully. The issue is that, without analysis, choice of the terms which would provide the greatest returns would be based totally on guesswork.

For example, the assumed list could contain among its entries “snowboarding travel packages Aspen” and “snowboarding travel packages Big Sky Montana”. While Aspen is an internationally known destination, Big Sky might prove to be the better location to optimize for because they get traffic but there is less competition. Without keyword research the best keyphrase of the two would remain unknown to our theoretical company. Instead of guessing, keyword research done by an SEO company would define the answer to this issue, rank the other keyphrases by opportunity, and add many other cost effective keyphrases as well. This analysis is based on:

* Keyword and keyphrase relevance – Any terms which are going to be optimized must hold relevance at the site for the search terms. In this case, a person searching “snowboard travel packages” should immediately see that the page they have landed on is about “snowboard travel packages”.

* Potential visitor traffic – Optimizing for non-existent traffic is basically a fool’s errand. Getting to the top of a search engine results page with a term that doesn’t have any searches may be fun to look up on occasion but will do nothing in terms of getting visitors to the site.

* The level of competition for each search term – At the other end of the traffic spectrum lies high traffic/highly competitive search terms. These should normally be avoided as well in favor of terms that carry less competition but which can still deliver targeted visitors.

Keyword research is unfortunately one of the most neglected aspects of search engine marketing when website owners go it alone. The fact is, having the research done by an experienced SEO company can provide a massive return on investment by providing faster and more cost effective results while delivering targeted traffic which is much more likely to turn into customers that buy products and/or services

Author's Bio: 

Gervais Group LLC is an SEO expert and search engine marketing professional, specializing in search engine optimization, advanced search marketing strategies and improved conversions. For more information visit: SEO Company or call (770) 529 2262.