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Don’t Burn Down The Building, It’s Just Keyword Research

It happens a few times a week; I sit at my desk and type any word combination into Google Keyword Planner with hopes of seeing unrealistically high numbers and low competition. As a newly minted SEO Copywriter, I have conducted two different types of keyword research; the right way and the point-and-laugh at the new girl way. The truth is, keyword analysis does not have to be extremely difficult and is readily available for anyone to administer research. However, there are a few tricks that will certainly make or break your quest for perfect fitting words.

Keyword Analysis in a Nutshell

Keyword Research is conducted during the planning stage of website design. The analysis’ purpose is so a marketing group (SEO copywriters, local coordinators, web developers) can determine how to optimize their client’s website for their target audience. If this is executed correctly, businesses will enjoy high search rankings, impressions, and brand awareness. There are a variety of keyword search tools however, Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool has been a pleasure to use. It’s user friendly and performs the basic analysis most copywriters need in order to properly develop promotional content.

Keyword research can be broken down into a few steps however, the following “do’s and dont’s” will cover the brainstorm and search stages.

Productive Word Vomiting


The brainstorming session has always been a personal favorite of mine. It’s the 15 minutes of fame where word vomiting can turn heads and procreate linguistic heroes.  In keyword research, deliberation is essential for weeding out irrelevant terms and rephrasing content to avoid keyword stuffing. As productive as these roundtables can be, it’s very easy to allow a wild mind to navigate offtrack once the creative juice begins to run low. Some common brainstorming mistakes include:

  1. Unintentionally listing irrelevant key terms– Who knows how long you have been sitting around the fire spitting words back and forth until “organic foods” morphed into “greasy meals”. It happens, sometimes your innovation batteries begin to run low or you may have gotten storm happy and obliviously poured your little heart out.
    • Quick Fix– Take a breather; perhaps allow yourself 5 minutes of constructive writing, followed by a solid minute of analyzation. This provides a refreshing opportunity to regroup and time to grab a thesaurus (this is not an ego-deflator, a thesaurus is a great resource for writer’s block). Always keep your client’s needs in mind and ensure that your keywords are relevant to their specific needs.
  2. Creating impractical search phrases– Sometimes, we find ourselves developing key terms and search phrases that seem, unreal. They may be sensible to us writers because we composed them around client-fitting keywords however, other people may never actually search for those terms.
    • Quick Fix– Think of it this way, write for humans, not for robots. There are billions of intellectual capacities therefore, twice as many search possibilities. Consider writing a couple lists, one consisting of more “generic”, average-Joe phrases, and a more complex list for the audience that knows more than you do. Again, mold your keywords and phrases based on your client and their target market.

The Search

As a newbie, I’ve rather enjoyed performing searches. It’s intriguing to understand what web surfers are searching for, when, and how often. This stage of the keyword search process has poked some fun at me, primarily for overlooking small, vital details that are capable of completely altering your search results if they are not corrected. Some search mistakes include:

  1. Not paying attention to the search location– This is almost embarrassing. How can someone neglect location? I’m guilty of committing this crime not once, but twice and have caught one of my colleagues accidentally making this mistake as well. Although it’s simple to bounce back from this aberration despite how deep in the analysis you are, this is still an avoidable search slip.
    • Quick Fix– Google’s Keyword Tool permits you to perform a global or a local search. When you’re conducting both of these searches side by side, it’s usually obvious how to differentiate the global from the local searches; nationwide searches yield significantly higher numbers compared to specific region searches. If you’re over looking over keyword traffic results and find that you accidentally recorded numbers from the wrong location, keep those results just in case; don’t keep them around forever though. Search traffic is an ever-changing set of numbers, don’t ever reuse old results.
  2. Failure to Consider Different Rank Difficulties– Each word search is complete with volume and ranking difficulty. Generic words are capable of earning large search volumes and high competition thus, convincing some writers to focus solely on ranking for these terms. During my first keyword search, I honestly had no idea which words to examine. The obvious choice at that particular time was to choose the highly competitive words in order to spar with the big dogs.
    • Quick Fix– It’s not a horrible idea to still include prominent keywords because the fact of the matter is that they will definitely be searched for, many times. The terms that are searched less frequently by a niche audience are called long-tail keywords. These underdogs are what will assist you in gaining search and awareness from a specific group of people. Long-tail keywords are usually more descriptive and are great for focusing on your client’s precise needs for their ideal target market.

Basic keyword analysis mishaps are manageable and sometimes laughable. Always have a sharp eye throughout the process, don’t write for robots, and keep keywords relevant to your cause.

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