Keywords are in every search query performed. This very second your customers are scouring the internet trying to find a solution to their problems. Become the solution they find. Learn to focus your keyword planning around what your customers are searching for, build keyword lists, then integrate those lists into your marketing strategy. That’s the theory anyway. The actual implementation of a focused keyword strategy is a bit more involved. In this article, we’ll take a look at the practical development of a focused keyword list and how to use that list to help your customers find you.
Do you know what actually happened in the war of 1812? If you do your 9th-grade history teacher would be proud, but the rest of us are probably reaching for our phones. In 2017 nobody needs to remember what happened in 1812 because there are 32.3 million answers to that questions just 0.83 seconds away. We all carry the entirety of human knowledge in our pocket, and most of us have become very efficient at sifting through it thanks to Google. Answers have never been so plentiful, but it's the questions that you should really be thinking about and it's the questions that are becoming more important.
Focus keywords around customer questions
Keyword research is when your buyer personas can really come in handy. Try and imagine yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer. What kind of questions would you be asking? Draw inspiration from the story, goals, and challenges sections of your personas.
If your persona has a long commute as a challenge and is looking for ways to maximize that time, then some keywords might be “commuting activities” or “commuting productivity”. If your persona’s goal is high school graduation then they very well might be asking “what’s the war 1812?” or more likely “why do I need to learn about the war of 1812?”
Draw from your team
Expand your search by reaching out to people in your company who have contact with customers. Start with your sales team. What kind of questions do your sales people usually hear during a sale? What are the common concerns or objections that customers raise?
If your company is big enough to have a customer service department, then your job has basically been done for you. Nobody knows more about the problems of your customers than your customer service representatives. When prompted, I guarantee that they’ll start rattling off a list of common questions that they hear from customers day in and day out.
Social media monitoring is another great resource to use here. Your customers are constantly asking questions and talking about their challenges on social media. This research can be done manually, or with the help of software. What’s great about this approach is that it captures not only what your customers are asking, but how they are asking it.
Once you have a list of questions take a second and think about the language that your customers use to focus on their needs even further. Make sure your keywords are worded correctly and fit with your customers’ age, education level, and location before they go on the list.
Organize your Keywords
Keeping an organized keyword list that doesn't only focus on your customer but also focuses on where they're at in their buying journey is almost more important than finding new keywords. Your list should be organized in three ways: Product, Persona, and Stage.
Product: Group keywords that point to a particular product or service.
Persona: If your company has multiple personas, make sure that you label which keywords are coming from which personas. This will increase the accuracy of your targeting and allow you to become even more specific with your offerings.
Stage: Your customers will be using different keywords as they make their way through their buying journey. Map out your customers’ research process and be sure that you’re present at every step. From the moment they become aware of the problem, to the moment they’re ready to make a purchase, you need to be there. Separate these keywords so you know exactly what stage a customer is in when they find you site. Match what you are offering your customers with the stage that their keywords show them in.
Balancing your keywords
Only going after keywords that have high traffic can be a mistake. The more specific a keyword gets the higher level of intent that person who is searching for it has. A good example high intent would be a keyword with your brand name in it. Long tail keywords usually have less competition and are easier to rank for. Having a keyword list full of lower traffic keywords that are very specific is usually better than a more general list of high traffic ones.
However, be careful not to focus on keywords with very low search volumes since the chance for conversion from them are slim. Most likely ranking for very low volume keywords will not pay off in comparison to the effort you put into researching and creating your content. We recommend sticking with keywords that have more than 500 monthly searches. Best case scenario you will rank number one, but that still doesn’t mean every search will become click through.
This graph below demonstrates organic SERPs CTRs for brand vs non-branded keyword intent.
Making a focused keyword list around your customer is as simple as learning more about what your customers need. Customers usually need answers. If you want to become invaluable to them then you need to know what questions they’re asking. The questions are all around you, to find them you need to ask yourself a few: What questions would my buyer personas ask? How are they asking/phrasing them? What questions are my customers currently asking? And, do I have the right answers for them?
Finally, as a friendly reminder don't forget that you're working to gain the interest of human beings not search engines. For more on how keywords and content support your inbound marketing strategy check out our guide here: Inbound Marketing Guide For SaaS Companies.