Keyword Research Guide and the Hunt For Valuable SEO Keywords

One of the values that SEO’s (and people who understand how search works) bring to the table, is that ability to find new high-value keyword targets for websites using advanced keyword research and analysis. These keywords are used to define and shape strategies and reach new market segments.

As digital strategist we all know how to do basic keyword analysis to find topics using keyword research tools for SEO; such as ubersuggest, the Google Keyword Tool, or any other keyword research tool that gives suggestions for expanding your website’s keyword set – but we believe that keyword strategy must go beyond the basics that utilize search volume as a primary indicator of value.

Keyword Research Definition

We, as Linchpins, believe the strategy behind keyword research needs to dive into the psychology that drives user engagement with keyword topics, how the user relates to those topics, and how those keywords make users feel about your brand (we see this done in the PPC world when paid search strategists define negative keywords – this is done in part to keep the correct keywords associated with the brand).

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ― Maya Angelou

What Makes A Keyword Valuable?

We frequently get asked how we define a high-value keyword or keyword research best practices, so I thought I would outline our basic keyword research framework and guide that we use to analyze whether a keyword is worth going after.

We define the value of a keyword based on 4 primary factors; conversion value, brand value, value to the target persona, and then yes, search volume. A perfect keyword sits at the intersection of these four metrics. Use the basic graphic below as a simple keyword research checklist when analyzing the value of a keyword.


Conversion Value: We look primarily at the conversion value a keyword can have because there is little value in a keyword if it does not ultimately accomplish a goal. With that said, a conversion does not always mean a monetary conversion, instead, it could be a download of a whitepaper, driving engagement, funneling users to the next step in their journey, or simply accomplishing the goal of brand awareness.

Brand Value: Keeping brand messaging and the voice of the brand consistent, is key to ensuring everything you say and do aligns with what you believe. After all, every interaction you have with a user (onsite or offsite) shapes how they feel about your business.

Value To Your Target Persona: Connecting the correct users to the correct piece of content is a primary goal of User-Focused SEO. The better job a website does at creating content that speaks directly to their target audience, the higher probability the content will drive a positive response and goal completion.

Traffic Value: This is the primary metric that most SEOs use to determine keyword value, but we think that it is less valuable than most might think. Personally, if I had to choose, I would rather have a lower volume keyword, with lower competition, that converts more frequently, than a higher volume keyword that drives fewer conversions, and is more competitive – but again, this could change based on the goal of the keyword.

Benefits of Advanced Keyword Research

  • Higher conversion rates
  • Better user satisfaction
  • Ability to better focus your keyword strategy
  • Fewer keywords to track
  • Better alignment with users
  • Better targeting of new user segments

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