Keyword research and market analysis are related in the sense that to identify your market and it’s potentials you will use certain search criteria through search engines and this search criteria consists of keywords.
There are plenty of keyword research tools some are fee-based and some are free. The most popular is Google Keyword Research tool which will provide you with a list of related searches on a particular combination of keywords.

The goal of keyword research is to identify the most popular searches related to your products and services and to capitalize on these searches using Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The golden rule of achieving high visibility of your web pages is proper utilization of most valuable keywords in the content and linking of your web pages.

When researching for keywords start with what is known a “broad search”, for example “dentist”. Some of the results will be highly relevant to your search criteria, you will see directories of dentists, you will see Google Map results for local dentists and you will see some of the local dentists on the left side of the page where data is known as “organic” or “natural” search engine results. On the right you will see GoogleAds which is paid internet advertising. But if your goal is to find a dentist in let’s say downtown San Diego, you may want to enter “dentist downtown San Diego” which is more specific search criteria and that will give you more specific search engine results. But what if you want to be even more specific in your search? What if you have a Delta Dental Insurance and you want to make sure that this dentist will accept it. In this case you will type in “downtown San Diego dentist delta dental” and you will see list of websites which have indicated that this particular dental office accepts this type of insurance. Basically, the search engine results are driven by the keywords that are utilized by the web publishers and also by the popularity and relevancy of the website.

This is a very simplistic explanation of how search engines work.  We are dealing with a large array of very sophisticated mathematical expressions, logarithms and indexing, but to keep things simple, let’s stay away from the technical details and concentrate on what keyword research mean to you as small business owner.

When you develop a website, first you have to think of it as information portal, where keywords will attract certain types of visitors to your site. Therefore keyword research starts at the very beginning stage of your website creation or, better yet, keyword research and market research are executed simultaneously to determine market value of your niche.

As website owner, you should have your keyword list compiled before writing the content. The lists of keywords could range from dozens to several hundreds or even thousands. There is also a term known as key phrase, for example, “dentist downtown San Diego”. Some of these key phrases also called “long tail keywords” because to find specific information, internet users may use four, five, six and even more keywords in the key phrase.

Of course, if you are a dentist you want your website to be on top of the first result page on Google under a search term “dentist San Diego”. But let’s not forget about the online competition. There are already dozens of people who are fiercely competing for top positioning under this key phrase. You probably know that SEO doesn’t produce results overnight, and whoever tells you that it does, unless they really know how to use social media marketing to quickly boost website visibility, and believe you me, only a handful of people do, they are not telling the truth. In cases where competition is high, you would want to capitalize on the long tail keywords where people are more specific in their searches first. This will help you to attract traffic to your webpage faster because of the less populated and weaker competition environment. That alludes to the fact that SEO is a continuous process.

Getting back to keyword research, time spent on keyword research pays off well. It allows you to discover most valuable keywords, it gives you a very good market assessment. It creates guidelines for content development and it keeps you focused. All of these benefits are the stepping steps in Internet marketing.

I use several keyword research tools and spend sufficient time analyzing the data and the competition. I plan what keywords should be capitalized on first. Prioritizing keyword optimization produces better results and allows for better SEO planning.

I provide with consulting on keyword research to small business owners who are building or maintaining their websites themselves and help with a content development.

Here are a few tips on how you can start conducting your own keyword research.

  1. Use Google Keyword Suggestion Tool, make sure you allow Google to suggest synonyms, this will help you to discover new relevant keyword phrases and keywords.
  2. See how many searches are performed for each particular keyword or keyword phrase.
  3. Download the data into the spreadsheet and sort the data by most valuable keywords.
  4. Separate most valuable keywords in groups by the level of competition.
  5. Use all of them in your content development but make emphasis on less competitive keywords first to attract “organic” web traffic faster.
  6. Remember, that short keywords like “dental” have millions of pages online competing for that term. Therefore also, it is a very valuable term but your website is highly unlikely to show up on the first or even twenty first page of search engine results under this term. Therefore, choosing keyword groups wisely will result in highly targeted traffic to your website faster.

Some of the SEO’s may have different approach to utilizing keywords and keyword research. I will be the first one to tell you that five steps I have defined above are very general. Specific type of industry and even business may require specific keyword research methodology.

The final goal of keyword research is clear, to identify most suitable and most profitable search patterns for your business.