Keyword research is an essential, but inexact science.

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is a process during which we take a series of industry-related terms and questions, and run them through a series of tools in an effort to suggest the best possible terms for you to include in your website, on specific pages, to increase your chances of ranking on the first page in Google search.

As Carla mentioned in her recent blog series “How to increase blog traffic“, one good (free) tool to start with is Google Trends.

What is Google Trends?

Google Trends gives us a very top level idea of the volume of people searching for any given term, in either a specific country or as a worldwide average. This tool can be used to give us a top level idea of which terms may be better employed to improve Google search ranking.

What happens when the term with the highest volume is not the most correct?

Take, for example, “e-commerce” – as Matt wrote about in his recent blog, e-commerce is not only here to stay, but it’s an expanding market. If you offer services relating to e-commerce, that’s a market you will want to reach.

E-commerce” is generally accepted as the most grammatically correct spelling. However, when putting variations into Google Trends, it immediately becomes clear that, grammatically correct, or not “e-commerce” certainly isn’t the most searched for term in favour of the more simple to type “ecommerce”.

Does higher search volume mean better ranking?

Before you start optimising for misspellings of your most important search terms, there are a series of questions that you would need to answer for your own company, and your own industry;

  • Does using the more commonly searched for term make you come across as unprofessional?
  • Is there a subtle semantic difference between your preferred term (what you actually offer) and the most commonly searched for term?
  • Even if you do use the search term with the higher volumes, will you ever be able to rank against the competition?
  • What kinds of people use the common term, as opposed to the “correct” term?

You may well find that even if you can rank for the more popular term, the people searching for that term aren’t looking for what you offer.

See below, “website designer” far outranks “website design company” for search volume – but digging a little deeper will reveal that people looking at “website designer” are mostly looking for jobs, rather than for a company that designs websites per the more explicit search query “website design company”.

In this instance, a page optimised for “website designer” will probably be seen by more people – and we are designers of websites – but we don’t really want people who are looking for web design careers finding our pages showcasing our website design work. Bringing the wrong traffic can be just as bad as bringing in no traffic. 

Is it better to be “right”? Or to be found?

The answer ultimately, frustratingly comes down to “it depends”.

At Mogul, we will work with you to determine the best possible combination of terms to ensure that your site, and your services, can be both right and found.

If this is something you’d like help with, get in touch!