Any reputable SEO specialist spends significant effort with a good keyword database doing research before beginning a website optimization project. Often, business owners and/or marketing executives can help identify industry terms. But, I often find that they do not understand user behavior in search well enough to identify the keyword phrases that will be most effective in building their business.
By beginning my research with root words (ie., “camera”), I can discover more specific phrases (ie., “Olympus camera”), as well as phrases that suggest user needs and desires (ie., “digital SLR cameras under $500”). Once the research is that deep, I can usually see behavioral trends in the relevant keyword phrases that suggest phrases that will readily convert to leads or sales.
Usually, the more specific the phrase, the more likely it is to lead to a new customer relationship. However, that is not always true. Sometimes, the product or service is one that the average customer is not going to know very much about. Sometimes the search engine user has a problem, and they don’t really know what to look for to find a solution. Keyword research also can identify those opportunities, but you may have to “zoom out” to less specific phrases in order to find the most profitable keyword targets.