Is Keyword Research Dead?

As Google continues to insist that their metrics in gauging website performance is far beyond our targeted keywords, many SEO specialists ask: is keyword research dead?

And the answer is… *drum roll please**… no, keyword research is not dead. Keywords are still important in terms of helping search engine robots determine your website’s theme/concept. Keywords determine what your website is all about and which third-party sites it is related to.

Let’s say, you’ve built links in an online magazine for household tools or HGTV but your site is about cars. How will Google determine you’re spamming HGTV if they didn’t gather data or read through your content and spot keywords that your site is actually related to cars?

Keywords and Rankings

In the previous years, a SEO company’s bread and butter relied on these two terms – keywords and rankings. If you get to rank #1 on Google or Bing with all of the keywords targeted by the client, bonuses will fly off the operations floor. Mem’ries. Mem’ries indeed!

Keyword researchI recall spamming a lot of blog articles (regardless if the article is connected to our product or if our comment even made sense!); created tons of PBNs (private blog networks); and submitted articles in EzineArticles and Article Base in bulk sizes every week. And we don’t stop until our target keywords and anchor link gets saturated. Of course, that’s not the case now, is it?

Business owners are smarter. They have noticed the flaw of every SEO company they have hired. Though many specialists were able to get away with garbage links at first, the after-effects were dreading to watch. The term ‘link poison’ was even coined by business owners to describe the works of agencies. Sad. Sad.

Lead Generation

Unfortunately, there are still hundreds and thousands of specialists who sell ‘rankings’ to companies, which is not unlikely. Why? In recent statistics, organic search engine is still the biggest contributor of traffic and leads.

Many actually believed that it’s social media marketing that’s emerging right now and taking over internet marketing. It’s a complete misconception. Social media marketing is a great platform to establish brand awareness–most likey a ‘I’ll-save-this-info-for-later-use’ type of thing. Searching in Google, on the other hand, means the user is seriously looking for a service to hire. He is researching who is out there who can provide a solution to his problem.

However, selling merely rankings doesn’t guarantee internet marketing success. If you really want to measure success, you should look at the traffic your site is receiving. If organic searches paid off for you and drive you tons of conversions/leads, then good for you. Hence, if otherwise, if you’re just ranking and no leads, we might have a problem with that. This is the case especially for not-so-popular niches. If you’re far off human interest stories like example, an office equipment repair service, then merely depending on rankings may not be your thing. You might have to extend your efforts into tapping platforms that has plenty of traffic.

At the end of the day, it’s sales that matters to every company. It is best for SEO specialists to assess first what niche does thier client lean more towards to as opposed to just copy-pasting techniques from one project to another.

In a Nutshell..

To simplify what Google is trying to say, keywords are still relevant hence don’t focus too much on them. Don’t restrict your links around them. Don’t build your site around them. Don’t live and breathe around these keywords. Use these keywords as notes and guidelines how you can build your site’s concept, where you can build links, and as tips on topics you can write to reel in your prospective clients.


Maria Espie

It's a Writer's World is your online resource to digital marketing news including marketing strategies covering social media, search engine, paid ads, and more.