Digital Presence & Marketing Strategy

Keyword Research: Demand vs. Competition

If you haven’t taken the big plunge and adapted effective keyword research strategies to your online marketing plan, you’re probably a day late and a dollar short!

There’s no getting around it. Keyword research is a vitally important aspect of your search engine optimization campaign. If your site is targeting the wrong keywords, the search engines and your customers may never find you, resulting in lost dollars and meaningless rankings. By targeting the wrong keywords, you not only put valuable advertising dollars at risk, you are also throwing away all the time and energy you put into getting your site to rank for those terms to begin with. If you want to stay competitive, you can’t afford to do that. (bold added for emphasis) – Lisa Barone

To help you understand how I do keyword research, here’s a picture of a spreadsheet that I use to keep track of numbers.

Keyword Research Spreadsheet

how to do keyword research

There are three factors I look for:

  1. Demand: if there isn’t any demand for a keyword phrase you think would be AWESOME, re-think your thinking!  Although you may refer to the product or service as “whatever”, others may never use that phrase at all.  Remember, the main objective behind effective keyword research is to find phrases that, if focused on, will get you quality search engine traffic.  I use the Google Adwords Tool for this research.
    No Demand = No Traffic
    No Traffic = No Sales
    No Sales = Get a JOB!
  2. “Real” Competition: if you want more information on this, contact me!
  3. Demand/Competition Ratio: this ratio is demand divided by competition times 100.  This gives each keyword phrase a “number”.  Many clients have asked what the target number should be for this ratio.  I haven’t really come up with one – my recommendation is to sort all the phrases by the ratio to see which ones have the best chance for success.

The final thing to take note of is that not all phrases, even if they have great demand and low “real” competition, are worth focusing on.  There are buyer phrases and there are browser phrases.  Generally, if people are looking for “Free _______” or “information on ________” they probably don’t have their credit card out ready to purchase.  If they are looking for a specific make and model of a product, this is a good indicator that they know what they want, and they’re ready to add money to my merchant account 😉

What experience have you had with keyword research?

UPDATE: the spreadsheet image is now a downloadable file! Check it out and start using it!