Why Keyword Research and Content Marketing is Still the Best Strategy for Growth

Published on February 10, 2023

When it comes to SEO, it seems like someone comes up with a new “magic trick” every day. And as organic clicks decline due to the addition of search engine results page (SERP) features such as “people also ask,” first page results stuffed with ads, and “featured snippets,” it can seem more difficult than ever to create growth through organic search. This reality leaves many companies wondering whether traditional ways of generating pageviews remain viable as the way people search for content changes.

However, even as Google’s algorithms change seemingly constantly, it remains true that keyword research and content marketing are the best way to create robust, sustainable growth. Keyword research, high-quality, readable content, and content marketing through SEO and social media continue to “beat the averages” and show real growth. 

What Is Keyword Research?

Keyword research refers to the process of identifying common search terms that might lead online searchers to find your content through organic search. Keyword research can identify search terms that your site might want to target as part of its content marketing strategy, help you understand the search terms that your competitors are identifying and successfully targeting for online search, and help you understand the “keyword difficulty” of different search terms — that is, how difficult it may be to break onto the first or second page of search results with a given keyword. 

As an example, for an online pet supplier, ranking high for the words “pet,” “dog,” or “cat” may seem like an obvious strategy for content marketing. However, the keyword difficulty of these terms would be nearly impossible — very few businesses would be able to rank high in Google results for these terms. However, more specific or local terms (for example, “dog treats Chicago”) may reflect an easier level of keyword difficulty, and may be even more likely to lead your potential customers to your website. 

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

Keyword research is a critical part of crafting an effective SEO strategy. Identifying “soft target” keywords — that is, search terms that are easier to rank high in search results and less likely to lead your potential customers to a flood of irrelevant search results — can help to ensure that you reach your target audience. Ranking highly for a few specific keywords is much more likely to bring customers to you than ranking on the 40th or 50th page of search results for a number of difficult or only tangentially related keywords.

Keyword research can often yield surprising results — while some aspects of search engine algorithms can be intuitive, it can be tough to predict every aspect of your potential users’ behavior. Long-tail keywords — that is, very specific, targeted search terms, can be hard to predict, but are the most valuable. It is easier to rank high on search engines for these long-tail keywords, and studying the data can offer significant guidance as to how you tailor your content to reach the audiences you most want to reach. By targeting H2 and H3 headings to very specific keywords, you can begin the process of climbing up the search rankings. The more of these long-tail keywords you can identify and rank for, the more likely you are to show up on your desired audience’s search.

How Should I Use Keyword Research?

Keyword research can help you to write targeted content that incorporates the long-tail keywords for which you most want to rank. A lot of businesses, when creating content, tend to write a large number of somewhat similar articles, hoping that adding more content that ranks for the same few keywords or phrases will eventually improve their search result rankings. However, creating this kind of content can actually lead to the opposite result. Instead, researching your long-tail keywords can help you craft more specific pages and blog posts that form the foundation of a content hub, allowing you to link to other pages within your own ecosystem and providing useful content that will be rewarded by search engines. 

Finding variations on your targeted keywords can help you to build out this content hub, making it easier for your audience to find your content. Even if two articles on your site are similar, you can use them to target different keywords from the outset. As you work with your marketing team, you can identify new, fresh opportunities for content, ensuring that your site does not become stale or repetitive. 

Your keywords can also help you identify the areas most ripe for paid promotion to supplement your organic strategy. By optimizing your paid campaigns, you can help to boost your profile in the areas most likely to lead to real, tangible results. 

How Can Geek Chicago Help?

It can be easy to view content marketing as a kind of puzzle, where gaming search engine algorithms is the end goal. However, it’s important to remember that what search engines are really searching for is quality content that provides real utility to users. After all, if a search engine’s results are of poor quality, users will look elsewhere. In the end, the name of the game is generating high-quality content that leads the users you’re looking for to find you. Ready to learn more about keywords, content hubs, and building a sustainable digital ecosystem? Geek Chicago has got you covered. Reach out to one of our experts today for a guided tour through digital biz, social media, email, web development, and how to create content that sizzles.