A Beginner’s Guide to Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of identifying key words or phrases that users are inputting in search engines, in order to create content that involves those terms with the intention of ranking well in search engines. This key process is the first step in search engine optimization (SEO). It is essential to begin SEO with keyword research because it impacts every other SEO task that needs to performed. It helps advertisers understand and reach their audience better.

When identifying keywords it’s really important to understand what your audience wants to find and how they are looking for it. So, it’s necessary to ask questions about the business, their customers, and their goals to successfully create brand awareness and in-bound traffic. For optimal results, you must figure out how the audience is searching for the product or service you provide. This is done by using a keyword research tool to discover highly related and relevant terms to your product or service. For example, typing in “trucks” into a keyword research tool will most likely uncover other relevant terms or phrases such as “best trucks 2020” or “used trucks for sale.”


I have a personal example of using keyword research in an academic/professional setting. In my marketing class, we were expected to curate a keyword research strategy for Ford Motor Company. The project background was as follows:

“You are tasked to assume the role of a Digital Marketing Manager at Ford and present a keyword strategy to Ford’s Director of Marketing. This keyword strategy should include your recommendations about how to acquire relevant and cost-effective traffic through search engines, using relevant keywords as the basis. The goal of this report should be to boost Ford’s revenues and stock price through the marketing opportunity provided by search engines. You will be preparing this keyword strategy primarily for the US market, but will also want to consider the UK as well to identify any notable differences in keywords and behaviors.”

– Professor Sutton, MKT 363

Below are my findings and recommendations:

Findings

Sedans

My findings related to sedans indicate that the high-performing keywords in this category are “sedan,” being the obvious choice, “best mileage cars,” and “best mpg cars.” The maximum search volume for these three categories is 100,000. Ford should have its sedans included in articles that rank sedans based on mileage. This is lucrative to promote in-bound website traffic. 

SUVs

The high-performing keywords related to SUVs are “SUV,” “best SUV,” “best small SUV,” “best mpg SUV,” and “best gas mileage SUV.” The maximum search volumes are 100,000. It is also important to note that Ford’s main competition for SUVs is Jeep. The Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Compass have a maximum search volume of a million each. So, it should be in Ford’s best interest to devise comparisons of its SUV vehicles to Fiat Chrysler’s SUV vehicles through third-party websites.  

Trucks

I collected data pertaining to all categories of trucks. I found that size was a major factor and that some high-performing keywords related to size are “best midsize truck,” “best small truck,” and “best full size truck.” All of which had a maximum search volume of about 10,000. I also noticed that keywords that included “reliability” and “fuel efficiency” have high search volumes as well. Ranking according to these keywords can prove to be beneficial when consumers are looking for trucks that relate to these categories. 

Vans 

Although Ford does not manufacture traditional family vans, it does produce utility/cargo vans. The top two keywords that relate to this are “cargo van” and “cargo van for sale.” Both have a maximum search volume of 100,000. Including these terms in our strategy can help cover consumer searches for transit vehicles. 

Financing/Leasing

The top keywords found are centered around “calculators.” For example, keywords that include the word “calculator” have maximum search volumes of a million. Some high-performing keywords are “car loan calculator,” “auto loan calculator,” and “car payment calculator.” The other, more obvious, top keyword is “car leasing.” Ford should push for high rankings in these categories to boost sales. 

United Kingdom

United Kingdom’s market is important to evaluate as well. There are key differences to note between the U.S. and the United Kingdom’s markets that relate to consumer vehicle searches. The most popular car models appear to be small compact vehicles, which makes sense because of its infrastructure. Ford’s Fiesta and Focus are some of the most popular models competing against European brands. I found that general vehicle-related keywords included “small,” “hybrid,” “electric,” and “leasing.” Some examples that have maximum search volumes over 100,000 are “car lease deals,” “best electric cars,” and “best hybrid cars.” Ford should focus on improving rankings in these categories because of the differences in consumer demand. 

Conclusion

Ford can expect cost-effective traffic through the search engines using the keywords suggested above. The application of this strategy will help improve Ford’s revenues and stock price. This strategy can also help Ford maintain its competitive edge in not only vehicle sales and service, but through its digital practices.