Keyword research is vital to the success of digital marketing campaigns

Keyword research – identifying the potential words and phrase combinations consumers could potentially type into the search box when they go online to find products and services, is vital to the success of digital marketing campaigns.

However, digital marketing teams (internal of third party), simply do not have the resources to conduct it thoroughly. Moreover, monitoring and keeping up to date with terms as they change is almost a mission impossible.

Keyword research makes the difference between the vendor’s goods and services being immediately visible to the searcher or their being swallowed up and lost in the myriad of returned search results.

Ultimately, the lack of thorough keyword research can prove costly as it leads to vendors failing to maximise on the online opportunity both in terms of directing potential sales leads/traffic to their site and garnering revenues from the online channel.

In April, a survey of over 300 UK-based digital marketers focussed on how digital marketing teams currently operate, based on collaboration, use of technologies and competitor analysis. Asked how current they feel their teams are at handling new keyword trends, less than half (42%), of digital marketers indicated they feel they are ‘on trend’ when it comes to keyword trends.

However, one of the greatest contrasts highlighted by the survey involved new words or expressions being used in the market. Asked whether they know which are worth spending time and money on, over half (55%) of respondents said ‘no’.

With the uncertainty surrounding return on investment (ROI) from keywords reaching their target audience and handling new keyword trends, it is unsurprising that over 70% of respondents to the survey specified that if they had more time to spend, they would review the keywords or phrases in their campaigns much more regularly.

Any new Natural Search project should begin with a discovery phase with the first challenge being to uncover what potential customers will use when they go online to find the products or services the vendor is promoting on their site i.e. Keyword research.

Next is keyword-page mapping, a valuable exercise which allows the vendor to understand how its site and the target keywords relate and highlights any gaps that may need to be addressed for optimum performance in search engines for a specific term.

Once the effort that each keyword will demand is known, they can be prioritised based on the size of the opportunity they offer. In essence, does the potential reward warrant the spend in that keyword.

Completing the discovery phase thoroughly, however, is an onerous process for which most Natural Search specialists today employ multiple technology solutions to help speed up certain steps. As such, even when the discovery phase is undertaken by the same person, the process and its outcome may vary significantly.

The discovery phase is essential in ensuring campaign goals are met within budget and within a reasonable timeframe and in preventing costly mistakes like targeting the wrong keywords or overlooking your own site’s limitations.

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Ruth Zohrer is a multilingual digital specialist whose main interest is the successful integration of digital channels – SEO, PPC and Social Media. She joins Hydra with years of experience in campaign planning and content strategy derived from various client services roles and independent consultancy projects. Her diverse background and interests make her an asset to clients who wish to uncover and exploit relationships between processes otherwise overlooked by single discipline specialists.