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Digging into keyword research for search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for any digital marketing strategy. However, identifying words and phrases that attract potential customers to your website is just one component of an integrated marketing plan.

Many marketers set out to create website content, such as a blog or new page, without doing research first. The result? Marketers are guessing at what their target audience wants to see, hear, or read. In turn, they miss a crucial opportunity to relate to the customer in a more tailored way. Ultimately, it negatively impacts top-line revenue growth.

When marketers start with SEO keyword research, they allow that data to inform their marketing strategy. Metrics like search volume inform us of the potential for an SEO keyword to drive traffic. Many SEO firms proudly tout that they are able to get companies to the first page of Google. Some even boast that they can get hundreds of #1 search positions for a company and its URL. This promise sounds good, and maybe it’s even technically true. It’s very easy to land on the first page of a search engine results page (SERP) if you use extremely specific words, often referred to as long-tail keywords. If I tried, I could easily get to the top of a SERP for the phrase “Growth Hackers named Quin.” The problem is, no one is searching for that phrase. The fact that I am the first result on Google has zero value. To pay a company to get your URL well-ranked for search terms that have almost no search volume is a waste of your time and money.

Instead, do smarter keyword research. Using tools such as the Google AdWords keyword planner opens up many opportunities to both better understand your customer and better interact with them. The planner provides keyword suggestions, such as competition keywords, the best head keyword, and specific keywords that attract prospects to your website, blog, or social profile. A list of related keywords will also allow you to piggyback on search traffic from other prospects, who may not have otherwise heard about you.

A keyword tool enables marketers to make informed predictions about what content strategy, social media plan, and PR or influencer outreach will be most effective. By targeting keywords that have historically proven themselves to be traffic-drivers, your company can apply  a sophisticated SEO strategy. The guesswork of forecasting marketing initiatives is gone, and marketers now have a data-based framework for understanding what campaigns will best attract new and existing prospects.

Building a list of keywords is the foundation from which you will build your marketing campaigns. Now that you have a clear understanding of how your customers find you, use that information to create marketing assets—lead magnets like an ebook, webinar, or other valuable pieces of content. You don’t have to guess what might attract more leads, because the keyword research will show you what’s worked in the past.

This allows you to have fun with your campaigns. Many campaigns will fail, because that happens with experimentation. But with every failed campaign, you will have a data set. You’ll see what keywords or messages resonated well with you customers, and what keywords and messages that didn’t. As you move forward with your marketing initiatives, you can make educated guesses about what campaigns will attract new customers. Then, the data will either help you confirm your genius, or it will inform you to try again with a new idea.

Are you planning out your marketing quarter or year? This is a great time to get a strong foundational understanding of your keywords. Need some help? Mighty Web Agency offers a completely free 30-minute web audit for qualified businesses that are looking to grow their digital lead generation. We’ll provide you with keyword recommendations and marketing strategies to elevate your campaigns. Apply for your web audit and get your website driving leads!