Is Doing Keyword Research Still Worthwhile ?

Is Keyword Research Still worthwhile ?

Finding A Diamond in the Rough - Keyword Research can be hard work and need some luck

Keyword research is the art and science of finding great keywords.

What makes a Great Keyword

A great keyword is a multi-faceted gem, a bit like a well cut diamond. Ideally, it has to have plenty of people searching for it but not many websites trying to rank for it in the search engines. If that wasn’t hard enough, it also needs to have a  fair amount of commercial intent or be worth money.

The best way for determining if a keyword has commercial intent is by checking out how much people are prepared to pay for it in a cost per click advertising campaign. You can do this with an Adwords account using the Google keyword tool.

If you want to cross the t’s and dot the i’s, the perfect keyword should also be rising in popularity. For instance, a movie that came out 6 months ago may still get plenty of traffic and may even be easy to rank for but this traffic is going to dwindle away with time and may not be worth the effort. It’s certainly on a downward trend (unless it develops a cult following like the Big Lebowski but I’m starting to ramble, ain’t I).

As you can imagine, finding this perfect keyword can be hard but is it really worthwhile ?

Man, I can’t be bothered…..

My view is that keyword research is not as important as it used to be but this also depends on what you are doing. In other words, what kind of website you are creating.

If you are creating a niche style site that has an exact match domain then finding that ideal keyword (and domain name) becomes more important. The site may have 5 to 10 pages so they have to rank or the site is going nowhere.

On these kinds of sites you will see odd keywords that don’t particularly read well, maybe they are grammatically incorrect, like “knee boots woman”  or look clunky like “Ford F50 Santa Monica Beach”.

Personally, creating sites like this and finding keywords for them is not the way forward in my opinion. The recent Google slaps make all the effort needed to create sites like this a waste of time. And the Google slaps of the future will make it even harder.

Authority sites or sites that deliver real value to the web are what the search engines are looking for. And this is what people should be trying to create these days.

Sure there are contradictions, like Tim the Builder getting dumped by the search engines but the fact that he had become an authority allowed him to recover quickly and go off in a different direction. It was a solid foundation that creating small niche sites that “trick” the search engines for a time can’t really compare to.

So if creating a website that matters is the way forward, what kind of keyword research is relevant ?

The future for Keyword Research ?

Well, it’s still good to find great keywords but there should be more emphasis in pleasing the human reader than pleasing a search engine. There should be no clunky looking keywords or the need for all the pages to rank highly. An authority site will literally be judged by the people that visit it and like it.

This is a completely different concept than doing traditional keyword research and is more like keyword intelligence.

Or at least, keyword intelligence is the first part.

Keyword intelligence is more about learning the scope of your niche and getting an in depth knowledge of it. In other words, using techniques to find sites that are already in the niche and then using keyword tools to confirm what you have found is about right.

I once read a statistic that said that 60% of all keyword searches are one off entries, meaning they will never be on a keywords research tool anyway.

So in my opinion, current keyword research is more about revealing the “lay of the land” in your  chosen niche rather than the intricate details of whether a keyword or phrase will rank quickly. Of course, you still have to create good and varied content for the research to pay off. The content has to solve a real persons problem.

If your website is valued by human visitors, they may even suggest new ways forward for the site. In other words they do the keyword research for you. Only it’s not keyword research, it’s what your audience really wants.  Surely that is far more valuable than good old keyword research ?  Let me know what you think and I’ll stop calling you Shirley ;)

2 Responses to “Is Doing Keyword Research Still Worthwhile ?”

  • Roger Weavers on September 14, 2012

    Hi Adrian,

    Very interesting article. Keyword research is still useful but really only as a staring point for new websites. It should really be a part of the total research carried out. With an established website you can get a good idea of how visitors are finding your website by looking at the analytics. You should also be doing competitor analysis to find out what other sites in your niche are doing.
    As you say you should not just optimise a site for a few keywords, the best way is to optimise for many similar LSI keywords to make backlinking more natural.
    You mentioned about keyword tools being grammatically incorrect, like “knee boots woman”, I suspect this was a broad match keyword, if you look at exact match you we see what people are actually typing in and get more accurate results.

    So in answer to your question, yes keyword research is still worth while.

  • Joey Xoto on September 16, 2012

    Hey Adrian,

    Really interesting take. I think keyword research is important depending on which way you look at it. If you are into your micro niche websites etc, then yes it is important of course. However if you are looking at launching products, and building a list etc, it might not be a key variable in your success.

    With all that said, IM business is hard work. So you need every tool at your disposal. So it’s not wise to just ignore KW research all together! Best to do EVERYTHING you can possibly do correctly from the start.

    Great work on the Blog Adrian, looks like things are coming together great for you.

    Take care.

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