Why Is Keyword Research Important For Digital Marketing In Singapore

Why Is Keyword Research Important For Digital Marketing In Singapore

No matter where you go online and what you are looking for, most people’s journey will always start with a search. And what this means is that people spend a lot of their time thinking up the best phrases that will both represent and solve their problem. This is one of the main reasons that keyword research is such a huge step in any Singapore marketer’s paid search campaign.

For example, let’s say that you own a website that sells watches. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the person who is about to search for watches and the places that they can buy them. What specific keywords would you be the most likely to type into the search engine?

The problem is that many Singapore businesses will attempt to start a conversation in their customer’s minds. However, what they should be doing instead, is trying to determine what conversation the customer is already having with themselves. When you’re able to do this effectively, you can step in and help the customer get to where they would like to go. And this is where PPC truly shines.

What Are Keywords

Keywords are terms that have been deemed to be associated with your business. A good way to think about keywords is to think of what someone might put into a search engine to find your specific business or service. These are key terms that you want to ensure are associated with your online content.

Keyword Research Is A Fundamental Step In SEO

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If you implement SEO in Singapore, you might be wondering why practitioners place significant importance and amount of their efforts on keyword research. The answer is simple. Most of your target customers would type in a set of words in Google’s query box. Whoever appears on top of the search results page, will most likely have an increase of visitors to their website. This is where a solid process of keyword research must be established by the SEO company of your choice.

It’s an important starting step of the search engine optimisation process which can certainly be tricky. A lot of tools abound when it comes to suggesting the best set of keywords. These will give better chances for your business to rank highly. You can also compete for search terms via Google AdWords and have a Pay-per-Click (PPC) campaign. However, it would still be much more affordable and effective for you to encourage site visits by organically appearing on top of Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Gets You Find Easily Online

With keyword research, you can find the best set of search terms so your target customers can reach you whenever you’re needed. Upon consulting with an SEO service, you will most likely find the fitting set of words that has more weight or density to your site. Your in-house Search Marketing personnel can also take the initiative to try out some of these latest Keyword Research tools: • Moz Keyword Difficulty and SERP Analysis ToolGoogle TrendsKeyword Planner from Google Adwords

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

Getting good organic search results is getting more and more difficult with heavy competition. Sometimes the best keywords and key phrases for your site already have a lot of competition, especially among older sites that have authority and have plenty of backlinks pointing to them on search engines favour sites, and thus, they dominate organic search engine listings.

Quality keyword research

Does the above situation mean you should resign yourself to the fact that you will never be listed? Of course not! You can still gain a competitive edge provided you find a quality keyword research tool that will help you find the most relevant and most profitable keywords for your niche. There are certain keywords phrases called long-tail keywords that are generally easier to target.

They are made up of three or more words and thus are not as competitive. They are also quite specific, so if you are able to deliver quality content alongside them, you can generate traffic and profits by using them. If people search for information using these long-tail keywords and you can provide them with useful content, you stand a better chance at ranking and earning.

Long-tail keyword phrases

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You can find low competition long-tail keyword phrases when you use a quality keyword research tool. As long as you are able to create high-quality content around these keywords, you will be able to compete against some very competitive niches. However, quality tools do cost some money. Still, the investment you’ll make will be minimal when you compare it to the time you’ll save on research efforts and the sales you’ll generate on account of those carefully chosen keywords for your search engine optimisation.

Finding the Most Profitable Keywords

If you have already started planning your keywords and attempting to predict what customers are typing in the search engine, then you probably have an extremely long list of phrases. The good news is that the longer your list, the more people you will be able to reach.

However, it is important that you somewhat narrow your list down. This way, you will be able to better identify the audience that is most interested in your services or products. Let’s take a look at the three most common types of online searchers:

Informational Searchers

Informational searchers are the individuals who are searching for general information on a specific topic. This type of person is usually the most difficult to figure out because you can’t tell exactly what they are looking for or why they are looking for it. While one person may be doing research for their school term paper, the other could simply be a little killing time while they are wait­ing for the start of their next meeting or a bus. Whatever the reason for their search, the informational searchers are not ready to buy. In fact, there is a very good chance that they never will make a purchase.

Comparison Searchers

Unlike informational searchers, comparison searchers have a definite interest in purchasing your services or products. However, they are still in the research phase. These individuals are the ones who check out reviews. They also search for price comparisons so that they can get the most for their money.

The time that it takes for comparison searchers to make a purchase will often vary depending on each individual. Some of the people in this group will be ready to make a purchase within a matter of days. Some will even make a purchase within just a matter of a few hours. However, there are those who could take weeks or even months before they make their final decision.


Buyers are the easiest people to figure out. These are the group of searchers who know exactly what they are looking for. In most cases, the only barrier that exists to their actually making a purchase is identifying the right deal and the right place.

Determining which group of searchers people fall into

Now that we have identified the most common groups of searchers, how can Singapore marketers tell which of these three groups and individuals falls into? The answer is simple. You need to make sure to study the keywords that they type into the search bar. You see, the more specific the search is, the closer the person is to be in the “Buyer” group. For example, let’s say that these three groups of searchers are looking for watches. In most cases, the individuals who are simply looking for more information will search for keywords that contain no more than one or two words. Also, these words do not have modifiers. They may search for a certain type of watch. In the case of the comparison shopper, they will be a little bit more specific in their search. This means that they will use modifiers so that they can get information that is more in-depth. They will often include a certain type of watch along with a specific brand name. When it comes to buyers, they will be extremely specific. In fact, the people in this group will use the results of their previous research in their keywords. Their keywords may include the word ‘buy’ or ‘price.’

Narrowing Down Your Keywords

If you are new Google Ads and your biggest concern is your budget, then it’s a good idea to only target the buyers. And this is because they are typically the easiest group to target and convert. Let’s take a quick look at the best way to develop keywords for this audience.

Step 1: Look through your website.

Start by browsing through your website as well as your entire product catalog, and then make a complete list of all of the things you sell. You are probably already pretty familiar with your product line. However, you need to see things through the eyes of your customers. Pretend that you don’t already know all of your products by heart. Think of synonyms that the customers may use to find them. You can then combine these with some of the most common buyer and comparison keywords.

Step 2: Pay attention to your competition.

If you want to get a better idea of what keywords work, then you need to consider what is working for everyone else. Specifically, you should take a look at the websites of your top competitors. You should be able to identify a few phrases and expressions that you had not considered or thought of. Add these keywords to your list.

Step 3: Ask your current customers.

If you want to find out which keywords are certain to pull in the most people, then you can always ask your current customers. Do a survey. Have phone chats with your most recent buyers. Ask them how they found your website as well as the keywords that they typed into the search bar. You may not be surprised by their answers, but this should definitely result in a few extra keywords or modifiers.

Step 4: Consult family, friends, and staff.

Just as is the case with asking your customers, sometimes you can get some thoughtful answers from those who are closest to you. Sure, this may not feel as scientific as most keyword research methods, but it’s a good idea to take advantage of every possible opportunity. After all, your keyword list needs to be as exhaustive as possible.

Step 5: Use your keyword tools.

For the most part, it’s enough to use Google’s keyword resource. However, as you become more comfortable and get more experience, you can use third-party tools. These will give you the ability to dig much deeper. Most keyword tools are great for figuring out which keywords tour competitors are bidding on and then feeding all of this information data back to you. Just keep in mind that there are limits to how accurate this information is.

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Competitors Keyword Search

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When it comes to paid digital adverts, a keyword search can make or break your campaign.  The number of resources you spend coming up with the key phrases can be rendered useless easily by simple errors. You may end up spending your entire online marketing company advertising revenue on trial campaigns that may never work.

There is a way around this, a less-strenuous, time-saving, and highly efficient method of identifying the right keyword combinations for a campaign? In most cases, you can only achieve such a shortcut through analysis of your competition’s marketing strategies and stealing them from them. However, for this to prove effective, you will need tools and a campaign testing investment.

Stealing the best performing and highly converting keywords for a competitor in Singapore doesn’t have to be complicated. You only need excellent analytical skills to help identify the keywords, proper analytics tools to sort the data out, and a small testing budget. This allows you to save a lot of time and money that would have been used in developing and funding new ads.  

Competitive research

Each site has several predictable conversion generation points. This may be the testimonial page, the keywords ranked, or an ad copy. However, it at times proves quite challenging to identify the exact conversion generation, especially from an outsider’s perspective.

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You, therefore, have to employ your experience and judgment in identifying what you deem as your competitor’s leading conversion strategy. This involves identifying all major keywords in these conversion points for an SEO agency you compete with and sorting them according to relevance.

Stealing and testing the keyword

Remember that as a marketer, you can only borrow keywords from successful brands that fall within your niche. Nevertheless, upon gaining access to the keywords worth investing in from your competitor, you now have to test their impact on your brand. This involves coming up with well-thought ads around these key phrases and testing them out over a given period.

Using Google analytics

After the testing period, you need to reevaluate the ad strategy using different analytic tools such as free Google Analytics. Such analytic tools help separate the most reliable and best-performing keywords from the ones you need to drop. Analytics in digital marketing also helps with budgeting. Given that the analytics tools help break down the cost of running each ad, you can use the cost analysis to channel more funds to better-performing ads or to help revive others with deteriorating performance.

Churn Out Highly Relevant Content

By effectively carrying out your Keyword Research process, you can also enable your site to churn out highly relevant content. You can publish blog posts and other types of content like infographics, instructional Gifs, and even videos based on keywords used by your target customers. This should serve the purpose of being informational and establishing initial relationships with your visitors.

Best Keyword Tools to Use to Increase Organic Traffic

The importance of organic traffic to your business cannot be overstated. Google receives around 63,000 searches every second. This totals to a colossal 2.3 million searches per minute. People are overwhelmingly in favour of organic results when they make these searches: 94% choose organic results while a mere 6% prefer paid adverts.

The information above is all the incentive you need to focus on adopting the right search engine optimization (SEO) practices.  These practices will enable you to get to the first page of a search engine. This is vital to your business as 75% of users never scroll past the first page.

Keyword research is critical if you are ever going to improve your search engine ranking and ultimately get to the first page. There are two types of keywords that you should focus on to get a better ranking: short tail and long tail keywords. Short tail keywords are also known as head terms.

Short tail keywords are phrases that are made up of one or two words. They have a lot of competition because all the companies in a particular niche try to use them on their site. The older and formidable companies usually get ranked for using them since they have a lot of backlinks; search engines tend to favour them since these backlinks show they have authority. An example of this type of keyword can be the word ‘cheese.’

Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are phrases made up of three to five words. They tend to have less competition and are perfect for smaller firms that are trying to grow roots in a certain industry. An example of a long-tail keyword can be ‘cheese for making pizza.’

There are thousands upon thousands of these keywords; trying to find the right ones using the regular search is nearly impossible. Fortunately, there are several tools to help you do this:

best keyword research tools

Google Keyword Planner

Companies love this keyword research tool because it contains data from Google, the most popular search engine in the world. Google stores the keywords people have used to search for something. You get access to this information when you sign up to use this tool.

The best feature about Google Keyword Planner is that it shows you how much people are bidding for particular words. Typically, the higher the bid, the more effective the keyword will be. The best part is that you get this potentially valuable information for free; the only people who pay are the ones who are going for pay-per-click ads.


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Ahrefs crawls 6 billion pages every day. It is no wonder that they have extensive information on each keyword. They present this keyword information in wonderful pictographic ways that help you quickly find the relevant information.

The best thing about this keyword research tool is that it gives you a difficulty rating for each keyword. This is a feature that can be found in other tools, but unlike them, Ahrefs gives you the exact score. It also tells you how many backlinks you will need to rank page one of Google.

Planning using this tool will make your work a whole lot simpler.


This tool has over 800 million keywords and claims to be an all-in-one marketing toolkit.

This tool gives you the keyword trends, keywords that rank the highest, easy-to-read keywords that rank well, keyword position tracking as well as showing you the words with low competition but high search volume. Using all this in your keyword strategy will boost you massively.

Undoubtedly the best feature about this tool is its competitor analysis capability. This functionality allows you to find out which keywords your competitors are ranking for and how they are using them on their site. That explains why it is the preferred option for more than 3 million people.


Moz is the brainchild of popular technology guru Rand Fishkin and Gillian Muessig who founded the company in 2004.

This tool helps you track the relevant keywords that you plan to use. To easily plan your keyword strategy, you can import, export, and build lists using this tool. These are great features that save you a lot of time. It helps you create better keyword lists by showing things such as total search volume, difficulty rating, the organic click-through rate of the keyword, priority, and your overall score.

The best feature of this tool is its ability to help you monitor the rise and fall of your keywords over a particular period. For example, you could check your keyword’s ranking performance for one week. You can then decide to get rid of these keywords and adding others that perform better.


This is a popular keyword research tool known for giving keyword suggestions. A simple search of a particular word can get you thousands of suggestions. That is not all; you can also filter the results to get more relevant. For example, for the location, you can choose Singapore.

The best feature of this tool is its ability to produce keyword ideas after entering the name of a site. This is a fantastic tool to check your competitor’s website as it only gives you keyword ideas based on the content.


This is the tool to use if you are looking for information on long-tail keywords. It will show you the keyword trends, search volume, and cost per click.

To find out more about a particular keyword, click on an individual keyword.  You will find things such as the domains trying to rank for the keyword, the backlinks of a specific domain, the number of times the page containing the keyword has been shared on social media, and the overall traffic.

All this relevant information will be of great use to you when you are trying to compete with other companies.

Tagging Keywords To Your Content

Now that you have the keywords that you will use to get your site SEO-friendly, what do you do now? If you have used a builder to create your site to do it all on your own, there is likely a subdivision of your editing options to add keywords to every page or post. If this site was done through a website service or tech division of your business, employ their services to optimize your content for you.


Costly Keyword Research Mistakes You Should Avoid in 2021 and Beyond

By now, you already know the importance of doing proper keyword research when doing digital marketing. We have also discussed in detail the various types of keywords and why you should include them in your website content. 


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There are keyword research mistakes that you should avoid at all costs in 2021 and beyond. These mistakes can make your website redundant once new algorithms by Google or any other search engines are rolled out. 

1# Not Doing Proper Keyword Research

Surprised that this is the first mistake? Things don’t go wrong, they start wrong. This mantra makes a lot of sense not only in real-life scenarios by also when doing keyword research. Some brands are of the idea that keyword research is no longer important. As a result, they create content for the target audience without considering their intent and the search engines. 

Gone are the days when you would just stuff keywords in text and rank. Avoiding the time-consuming and tedious keyword research process is like shooting in the dark hoping that you will hit something. As a digital marketer who wants to progress to the next level of success, you need to know exactly what your audience wants.

Yes, it will take time but you will get keywords that you can warp in your content and not only rank high in search engines but also resonate with the searchers’ intent naturally. Three primary questions that you should ask yourself are:

  1. Which words do the searchers often use?
  2. Which terms do the target customers search for?
  3. Which terms are competitive and difficult to rank for?
  4. Which terms are less competitive and easy to rank for?
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These questions will point you in the right direction and save you time that you would have spent just blinding looking for terms. In the end, you will end up with an extensive list of keywords that are relevant to your niche and worth investing in creating content with for your brand. 

The target audience intent and Google algorithms change drastically. A change in business focus means a change in audience. Don’t be caught unaware, so make sure that you update the list regularly. Your keyword strategy should adapt to the changes as well.

2# Targeting Unrealistic Keywords

Sure, the industry is competitive and everyone is hungry for every piece of attention available in the market. However, trying to beat the system by targeting unrealistic keywords is wrong. Ranking in some of the most competitive niches is not easy especially if your blog or website is new. Instead of going for the competitive keywords which renowned websites are ranked for, focus on the long-tail keywords. 

The long-tail keywords are the best for new businesses as they are easier to rank for and their chances of converting regular visitors to customers are high. For example, if you have an interior design company, it will be very difficult to rank for keywords such as “interior design.” Reason has been, millions of other companies are already ranked for it. Instead, focus on long-tail keywords such as “interior design ideas on a budget.” 

There is no shortage of long-tail keywords that you can use to get noticed by Google bots and the target audience. Once you have a firm footing, you can now start shifting your focus on the competitive terms slowly.

3# Ignoring Search Intent

One of the main reasons websites record a high bounce rate is because the content they publish does not match the search intent of the website visitors. As you carry out keyword research, you need to know the intent of every keyword in the list.

The target audience may be only interested in one product that you have side-lined and used general terms. Remember that search engine bots are smart and can know if a particular website is meeting the needs of the visitors or not. Bounce rate is one of the main factors the bots use to know if a website is meeting the search intent amicably. 

If the website does not match the intent of the searchers, it will be not be listed in the top results pages no matter how much time and money you invest in creating a new design and fresh content. The point we are trying to put across is that, you cannot afford to just write content blindly without considering the search intent.

Evaluate the content you recently wrote and intend to publish for a particular keyword that matches what the people are searching for online. The “People also ask” list of questions in the search engine results pages can help you decide whether you should go ahead and publish the article or rewrite it. 

4# Using Irrelevant Keywords

As mentioned in the previous post, you have to understand the search intent first before you embark on writing content either for your website pages or blog. Without information about the search intent, you will end up optimising your content for words that nobody is using to look up content in search engines. 

When you use irrelevant keywords, two outcomes can happen;

  1. Yes, your content is valuable but the potential visitors are using different terms and so they are unable to locate your website
  2. Your keywords are too long-tailed and do not get any or enough traffic

The keywords that you want to rank for should be the same terms that the target customers are using to search for websites like yours on Google and other search engines. More importantly, you should write in a language and tone that matches the audience. 

Picture yourself selling dresses that are often worn in gala events. If in your content you use “gala dresses” as your keyword, you will get little or not potential customers stream into your website if they are using terms such as “evening dress” “gown” “new dress for gala events”.

Another problem that could be hampering your growth is focusing on long-tail keywords that are too overused or obscure online. Such keywords will not drive any traffic back to your website. Find long-tail keywords that have the potential of bringing in laser-focused customers who are ready to convert. Even though you will not be getting a lot of traffic, your site conversion rate will not take a beating. Concisely, use long-tail keywords that are specific but not too specific to your niche. Remember the main goal is to get visitors who land on your website to convert.

5# Use One Keyword Per Post

Using just one keyword in the post means that you will be limiting your possibilities of getting other audiences. Strive to optimise for key phrases that are related to the main keyword without stretching it too much. 

If you are writing a blog about tree care, you can use the keyword “tree care” but also include similar phrases such as “tree maintenance tips” “tree care tips for winter”. Such additional keywords will expand your scope and increase your chances of getting more traffic. Most of the keyword research tools we reviewed in this article can generate similar phrases for you. 

6# Do you use Plural or Singular Terms

This is another common mistake that denies websites a spot at the top of the results page. When doing keyword research, confirm of you should be using the singular or plural form of a particular keyword. Should you write content around the keyword “shoe brand” or “shoe brands”. Does the target audience search for “retirement home” or “retirement homes”? 

Even though Google bots have the ability to notice the minor difference between the two words, the search results are usually different. The search intent will come in handy when deciding whether to use the singular or plural form of a word. In some instances, the people who use the singular version of the keyword are just interested in general information, while those who use the plural version could be looking for a specific product or want to compare the products before placing an order. 

Nonetheless, the decision to use a singular or plural is dependent on the search intent and the specific keyword. 

7# Ignoring Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

When doing keyword research, you cannot afford to ignore looking at the search engine results pages. The results in the pages will help you to know which form of content ranks well for the keywords you want to rank for currently. 

For instance, if you are targeting a keyword such as “job interview” and you write a guide on how to secure a job. Google may decide to show lists of recruitment companies. You can avoid such a scenario by not just focusing on the tools but also the search engine results pages. They will point your content research and creation process in the right direction.

8# Too Much Emphasis on Search Volume

It’s every digital marketer or website owner’s goal to rank for keywords that have high search volume to get enough traffic from the search engines. Unknown to most people is that this strategy does not always work. It may actually do more harm than good to your business especially if you are using Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Instead of focussing solely on search volume when selecting keywords for your next blog, look at other factors that can affect your content. For example, you can incorporate search queries or questions that the target audience uses to find the information related to your brand. That is, include as many frequently asked questions in your content as possible. 

9# Add Keywords to the Content After Writing

The essence of doing keyword research is to understand the search intent of the users than creating content that matches it. Adding keywords after writing a blog or on-page content is not recommendable because it will affect flow negatively. 

The goal is to write quality content that is valuable to the audience not to impress the search engines. Yes, your blog could be ranked at the top of the search engines if you add the keywords after writing, but savvy readers will notice the lack of flow and ditch your website. Strive a balance between not trying to beat the system but to impress the readers and also the search engines. 

10# Ignoring the Competition

The attractiveness or value of a keyword is often based on search volume. While this is an important piece of the equation when doing keyword research, it should not be the only piece. Another equally important piece that you should not leave out is competition. 

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Here is an example to help you understand why you should not ignore the competition. Suppose there are two enthusiastic writers who want to start blogs about online gaming. The first writer decides to focus on the keyword “online gaming” because it receives 3,000,000 searches per month. 

The second writer decides that online gaming nice is too saturated and decides to use a similar but different keyword to optimise his content “free online gaming sites” which gets only 20,000 monthly searches. Who will be making money with his blog after one year?

Of course, the second blog will eventually be more successful than the first one because of the low competition. Apply the same strategy in your niche to get ahead of the competition. 

11# Targeting Unprofitable Keywords

Even though a particular keyword enjoys a good amount of traffic and is low competition does not necessarily mean that you will make money out of it? The reason being it may not be profitable. Match the search intent with the search volume to know if a particular query is profitable or not. 

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Final Word

Keyword research helps you produce content that your audience is looking for and at the same time rank higher on search engines. This ensures that the superb content you create is found by your users all the time, and ultimately leads to growth.

Keyword research takes a considerable amount of time and attention to detail. If you want to speed the process up, then you need to learn the intent of searchers. This way, you can narrow down your list and get a better return on investment. If you need help with this process, you can always consult a search engine marketing management company.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Social Media




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