It is often debated about the importance of keyword research within the SEO industry. Keyword research is still a great thing to implement into an SEO strategy in the modern day. At the very least keyword research gives you an indication of the trends in user behaviour within your industry. It can help you keep updated with any shifts in user mentality and trends. Being up to date with this kind of information can be invaluable for an SEO strategy. A great example could be an up and coming rising keyword for a business which is seasonality. Or there could be a new innovative product within the industry which is being searched about over a certain time frame. By catching on early to rising keywords you could profit from such a strategy over your competitors who are not.
Keyword research can tell you how many users within your target demographic search for a specific keyword every month. This helps devise targeted core-terms in an SEO strategy. However whilst volume might always seems like the right way forward, this might not be the case. Keyword research can help you get more traffic but any good SEO strategy also takes into account conversion rate. Conversion rate can be monitored through analytics from products such as Google analytics. By monitoring a % conversion rate from number of keyword entrances to a sale/goal you can devise what keywords work for your business website and which ones do not – and adapt your targeting accordingly. It is worth nothing however that keyword data is only generally available for PPC and not organic in Google analytics.
On the other side of the argument people suggest if you create relevant, unique content within the website and a quality user experience than you will naturally rank for the right keywords through top search engines such as Google and those keywords that generate you traffic from that should convert well for your website. More focus on developing the websites content, relevancy and user experience rather than a few niche keywords can potentially create a far better SEO strategy and conversion rate for your business online.