Thanks to schools of position-hungry SEOs, keyword research can often be used to fuel spammy practices. But when done, and understood correctly, keyword research is an essential element of a solid SEO strategy.

Having your site rank for the right keywords — that is, those directly relevant to your product or service — is the way people are going to find you on the web. And we don’t mean just anyone, either. We’re talking about the right kind of people: your audience.

Simply speaking, keyword research is a way to find out what people are interested in, talking about, and searching for. It’s a way to find out what sorts of information they are seeking out from your competitors, changing demands they have in relation to a topic, product, or service, and a way to break down exactly which elements of a topic they’re most interested in. It’s also a way to find out what your competitors aren’t saying, and so identify any gaps in the conversation your content can fill.

Keyword research is the foundation upon which your site structure, and content plan will be built: which is essentially how you’re going to rank for the terms in the first place.

When someone types a search query into Google, they aren’t necessarily thinking in terms of keyword phrases, they’re thinking in terms of themes. They want to find the most relevant results related to what they’ve typed, not how many sites have content that exactly match the words they’ve typed in. That’s why we optimise onsite content by theme rather than keyword: we work with the audience in mind, and find a way to marry their needs with what you’re offering in a way that provides value to both.