#2 Use Smart Keyword Research
Another way to “look before you leap” with search engine optimization is to undergo smart keyword research. It doesn’t make much sense to start tinkering with your website and developing new content if you aren’t sure which terms and phrases you should be ranking for.
In the most basic sense, good keyword research involves looking through Google’s keyword tool (amongst others) to check out current search trends. The goal is to discover what it is your most important potential customers are searching. This is a part of the process where it pays to be as specific as possible, since there could be huge differences between the profitability of one search term over another.
It’s not enough to simply make a list of things buyers might be looking for on Google, however. You’ll also want to evaluate some of that traffic. For example, can you discover whether some terms are leading to more completed sales than others? Is there a difference between the terms searched by buyers in one area or another? And, how do searches break down throughout different times of the day and week, or when you consider mobile users versus laptop and desktop searchers?
Once you have a good idea of how these factors stack up, you can also assess the level of competition for each keyword or search term. Ideally, you want to find targets where you can rank quickly, but at the same time get many searchers to your site. And of course, you want to do it all with an eye on generating leads or sales, not just empty “activity” that doesn’t move your business forward.
Finally, keyword research should tie into your website audit so you can gauge the quality of the web traffic you are already receiving. Add all of these factors together, and you should be able to get a picture of which search terms will attract the kinds of customers you want to bring to your website.