The web has blurred lines of geography and concepts. Blogs are often termed as articles and keyword research is akin to market research. Ask any SEO expert, and it causes a splitting headache when they need to explain to a client that there is a thin line dividing keyword search and market research.
Of course, clients are not the experts, but given the attitude of know it all that they carry; one would expect them to at least get their research right! (No offense meant).
In this blog (yes this is not an article!) let’s focus on the thin line that divides market research from keyword research, in context with online businesses.
Get the Basics Right:
A Market Research is carried out with the aim to find out the type of market that exists for a specific product/service. It is a systematic method of gathering information about people and companies and then interpreting it, using analytical and statistical techniques/methods to gain insight about the individual/companies or to support a decision making process. The same is true for online market research except the methods and tools used for research will be adapted to suit the format of the media (read internet).
Keyword Research is carried out by SEO’s with the aim to find out the actual search terms web users enter while searching via a search engine in order to optimize their online presence on the search engine pages or SERPs as they are popularly termed.
Market Research is concerned with the human aspect of the research that provides a definite picture of peoples or companies habits, behaviour, preferences etc. It can be a part of social science. Keyword Research, though dealing with the human aspect of words, cannot be exact as the research work is restricted to the algorithm patterns that the search engines detects in the written vocabulary of the online users.
The major difference lies in the way people behave in the real world and virtual world. Conversational words differ a lot from the words that are used while searching. Obviously one does not converse the way one writes! Users tend to use precise terminologies while conducting research and hence their search words might throw up trends that may not reflect in the market scene.
The Story is in the Tools:
Keyword Research is a part of an Online Market Research exercise. Of course it does contribute to the online market research, but it is not THE contributor to its kitty as there are other aspects involved. For instance tools for research differ in both: market research uses tools like online surveys, interviews, emails, questionnaires, while for keyword research the tools could be Google Adwords keyword tool, Adsense, WordTracker etc.
While conducting a research, researchers determine the size or number of respondents. It is easier to determine a reliable sample size for market research as sources to gather information are many. However, keyword research has a restricted sample size and that to a very volatile one, as the sources of information are very few i.e. only a couple of search engines.
So here’s the deal:
Keyword research can be a part of online market research, but it is not the sole indicator of the trends that exist. They simply reflect what people are SEARCHING for and not what people are actually BUYING.