Most marketers think of keyword research as a tool used to understand what search terms are popular and competitive for Paid search advertising. Heck, one of the best research tools “Keyword Planner” is even embedded in Google Adwords (although recent news has indicated that Google may try to limit its use For those of you new to keyword research it allows you to look up the popularity of keywords and search terms and it even provides suggested keyword buys and budgets.

But keyword research has many more applications than PPC planning and budgeting. Here are 5 more

1. Create and Vet Your Content Ideas: Utilize keyword research to help prioritize content creation efforts. Simply use the tool during your brainstorming sessions by entering a topic and seeing the popularity of suggested terms. You might that you will be providing much more popular content if do some research first. For example if you’re a grill manufacturer thinking about a recipe article for grilled Italian steak that Italian Pizza on the Grill is a more popular search term.

2. Product or Service Naming: as with the Electric / Power toothbrush example, keyword research can help you to establish a name. Beyond legal and patent issues there is no conceivable reason why you would NOT want to name your product using the most popular search terms!

3. Information Architecture / Website Navigation: It’s important to be utilizing popular search terms on your website so if it makes sense you might as well use them as indexable navigation components on your site. If you’re an e-commerce retailer these names can lead to a more intuitive experience and it can give your customers the most direct access to the products they are looking for. For example if your customers are after certain brands and keyword research reveals that the brand name is more important than the generic name of the product – use the BRAND name!

4. Competitive Research: Use keyword research to provide real data on the popularity of your products, your services, or your company name versus your competitors. Take the actual numbers with a grain of salt but you can get a good, relative measure of the popularity of your (search term) vs competitors.

5. Location-Based Search Term Understanding: If you’re an omnichannel retailer with multiple / many locations, you can use keyword research to understand how and how often consumers search. For example see if [retailer name] + New York is more popular than [retailer name] + Manhattan or [retailer name] + Times Square. By seeing how people search can you adjust the name of your locations to make sure that local vernacular is accounted for.

BOTTOM LINE: Keyword research isn’t just for planning PPC buys and PPC budgeting. It’s a window on consumer thought and perception and can be used strategically. For more information on the Google Keyword Planner click here