Conducting Keyword Research

Keyword research is key in the beginning stages of both search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). For SEO, choosing the right keywords helps brands create a precise outline for pages. For SEM, setting aside specific keywords and negating keywords allows brands to target the right type of audience.

The right keywords are those that can successfully engage a target audience. Though there may be thousands of keyword variations on the same topic, choosing the ones that resonates best with users is what counts. The trick is to leverage keywords that peak new and existing consumers’ interests.


For researching purposes, here are the top three tools we recommend for brands:

Google AdWords Keyword Planner: The Keyword Planner is highly beneficial for uncovering keyword variations. The tool provides filtering capabilities, allowing advertisers to choose the targeted country, negative keywords, language and more. After entering a topic or keyword, Keyword Planner lists related keywords by search volume suggested bid and competitive ranking. This allows brands to understand how popular their potential keywords are and if numerous other brands are already ranking for those keywords.

Keyword Research

When searching for a specific keyword, like “hotels in New York”, other suggestions will populate, letting brands compare and contrast factors like bids, competition and search volume to grasp a better understanding of how users are looking for hotels.

BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo is a tool that provides information on the types of sites consumers are visiting when searching for keywords like “hotels in New York”. It also provides information on the amount of social interaction occurring for the page that’s ranking for a specific keyword.

Keyword Research 2

Hotel chains don’t have content that is being shared around the keyword “hotels in New York”. Knowing this is useful to hotel chains looking to build out content and copy. Why? Because if there is currently no hotel chain owning content that’s share-worthy, then there’s room to assume ownership and create new content that is share-worthy.

BrightEdge: BrightEdge has similar qualities to Google AdWords Keyword Planner in that one of the features, Data Cube, provides an overview of similar keywords, competition level, search volume and more. One thing Data Cube offers that Keyword Planner does not is the ability to search for a specific domain and/or URL to uncover a brand’s highest ranking keywords and long-tail keywords. This feature gives brands the opportunity to uncover how and why that particular competitor pages are ranking for certain keywords. With this knowledge, our Performance Content team typically compiles an audit to understand where the competitors are excelling and what our clients need to do to get up to speed.


While keyword research greatly impacts SEO and SEM campaigns, search is placing more importance behind the meaning and relevancy of the content. That’s not to say that keyword research is irrelevant, but it’s important for brands to understand that the keywords they choose should reflect their page’s content. For example, if a hotel chain is optimizing their Paid Search copy or updating their website content, the keywords shouldn’t just be variations of one another, like:

  • “hotels in NYC”
  • “hotels in New York City”
  • “hotels in New York”, etc.

Instead, the keywords should reflect what the page is about. By providing relevancy, consumers will find exactly what they need, before they even knew they needed it, because the keywords and ad copy provided match their search query. Google is basing their ranking system off the relevancy of websites, so by carefully choosing keywords and placing high importance on the type of content delivered, these pages are much more likely to rank on the first page of the SERP – and with ease.

To learn more about keyword research, contact your Performics account team today.

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