Digital marketing can all be traced back to one root: keyword research.

Targeting the right keywords can make all the difference. It can be the key that unlocks long-term organic search results, bringing potentially thousands of new visitors to your website every month (there is a reason they are called keywords).

It’s not that easy though.

Most marketers and business owners don’t fully understand how to properly do keyword research. The goal behind the research is to determine a set of low completion keywords that aren’t too difficult to rank for.

If you have a large authoritative domain (Amazon, New York Times), you might not have to worry about finding keywords it is possible to rank for. Everyone else needs to find realistic keywords to rank for yet have decent monthly search queries. Use these three keyword tactics to unlock the potential of your inbound marketing strategy:

1. Understand Your Reader

Your reader is searching for what is important to them. They are looking for help with finding and solving the problems they face. Chance are, they are not looking for you.

All your content should be speaking to your business’s semi-fictional representations of people you’re trying to reach, also known as buyer personas.

Once you understand where your persona goes for information, what their problems are, and what words they use to describe those problems – you have completed the first step on the path to quality keyword research.

2. Research Your Competitors

Sites that put out a lot of content target a wide-net of keywords. And most of those are targeted unintentionally.

It is next to impossible to try and target keywords more authoritative site do optimize around, but you can attempt to overtake on the ones they don’t optimize for. This plan requires that you do research on your competition: what they are ranking for and what their content looks like.

From there, you can create great content (easier said than done) around those keywords you’ve identified. If done correctly, you will have better content for those particular words because your content will be more targeted.

3. Know Your Tools

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to keyword research methods and tools. In order to get the most complete set of keywords (that you can actually rank for), you need at least a few different tools.

Run your list of potential words to target, you should run them through a keyword tool (like or Google Adwords Keyword Planner). And don’t forget to always be scanning social media for problems and wording your personas have/use.

Keyword planning is much more than downloading a spreadsheet and using cookie-cutter methods to rank on search engines. And while it may be difficult to master up front, good keyword research will make your life easier and pay dividends in the long run. And that’s just one of the benefits of SEO.