Ranking for the right keywords is an all-important SEO goal. Keyword research is, consequently, an essential search marketing activity and a high-value marketing strategy.
Businesses should know which terms and phrases people use to search for their products or services online. Those keywords, when incorporated naturally and strategically into website, social media and blog content, will make digital brand assets more searchable and boost visitor traffic. Of course, the actual keyword process is not simplistic; it is nuanced, continual and supports other marketing/sales actions as well.
Stay on top of search results
Major websites tend to occupy top search engine ranking for relevant keywords as Google has already recognised them as authorities in their niche. Search engines have indexed their pages, know they have hundreds of incoming links to their content, and are satisfied that the sites provide their intended audience relevant content.
But that doesn’t mean small websites don’t stand a chance. The beauty of SEO and keyword research is that it offers everyone the opportunity to appear in the first one or two SERPs – provided the websites are optimised and brimming with great content. Agencies like Matter Solutions have lots of useful information on their website for people who are new to SEO.
From the context of keywords, business owners can drive up website traffic, encourage engagement and support their lead generation goals by leveraging keyword strategies that beat the big players. Two strategies are briefly explained below:
- Buyers’ keywords
Buyers’ keywords are key phrases that reflect buyer intent. Examples include ‘best product name’, ‘affordable product name’, ‘product name review’, ‘product X versus product Y’, ‘ways to use product name’, and ‘what kind of product name should I buy’. The Google Ads Keyword Planner is the preferred tool for finding commercial intent keywords.
- Long tail, low competition traffic
Long tail keywords are specific rather than broad, and longer than three words. Start-up websites can use them to target specific buyers, such as those looking for ‘DSLR cameras for beginners’, ‘digital marketing agency Toronto’ and ‘family lawyers Mississauga free consultation’.
As long tail keywords have a low volume and lesser competition compared to short-tail keywords, they can be purchased affordably (this also increases the value of long-tail keywords).
Ranking for longer, more specific key terms is easier as they make up 70% of searches performed online. These keywords also convert better as they target people who have decided they want a certain product/service. Someone conducting a search for ‘Nike running shoes’ is most probably checking the brand out, while those typing ‘Nike Free 5.0 black orange size 8’ have likely formed the intention to buy and are far along in the conversion cycle.
A deeper understanding of customer intent
Easier access to information on websites, forums and social media has actually extended the awareness-to-conversion journey. Medium and small business owners can gain a huge competitive advantage by understanding buyer intent and journey at a deeper level. This opportunity will occur primarily in the buyer’s ‘education’ phase.
Keyword search using Google’s Keyword Planner helps determine the intent of a vast population of searchers, helping businesses derive these important insights:
– What questions and topics are buyers curious about?
– What is the extent of research intent versus commercial intent?
– Is there is a link between the keywords and company website pages that receive the longest view times?
Businesses should answer these questions to determine:
– The need for a new product or service or an add-on to an existing product/service
– New unmet customer challenges or demands
– Satisfaction levels of an existing product/service
– How informed customers are about new offerings and industry developments (particularly important for B2B sales)
Social media ads and engagement
Keywords can establish the relevancy and boost the visibility of social media advertisements. They also play a role in encouraging fan and follower engagement.
Facebook advertisers know that, while the social network does not offer keyword research in the traditional sense of the term, it does provide a wealth of audience data for granular targeting based on demographics, interests, events and other useful information. A business that offers financial advice could select an audience segment – say single mothers who are interested in wealth management – and understand their other related interests.
They can then explore correlations between interest targeting and commercial intent key phrases. Advertisers have the chance to target prime users on Facebook with specific messaging. Users who have absorbed the messages, will after a while, conduct keyword-based searches. When highly relevant ads show up, users are more likely to click on them.
Businesses that have built out SEO keyword lists can incorporate some of those key terms into their social media content. There are many opportunities to include them, such as in headlines, photo captions when linking and tagging webpages, and in the ‘about us/summary’ sections.
Businesses should definitely try to identify keywords that their competitors are targeting for their organic and paid search campaigns. This knowledge will enable them to use better key terms they may have missed, bid more aggressively on high-value key terms, pinpoint phrases that competitors have missed, and explore creative approaches to keyword selection.
The good news is that businesses and marketing teams have a good choice of tools for competitor analysis, including BuzzSumo, SEM Rush, SpyFu, Ahref’s Keywords Explorer and Google Ads’ Auction Insights. The tools offer insights into:
– How competitors rank for their keywords
– How different competitors stack up against one another
– The number of keywords competitors use in one article
– Potential new keyword ideas along with search volumes
– Competitors’ most shared content
– Impression share, bidding strategy, maximum CPC and more
Keyword reports providing competitive intelligence data offer learning opportunities that can improve and refine search engine and Facebook advertising campaigns.
A solid keyword research plan is essential to the success of digital marketing initiatives. The process may be effort-intensive, but ultimately economical. Keyword reports, competitive intelligence and bidding information will help businesses efficiently allocate resources towards what works, set aside what doesn’t, and determine what must be done quickly to seize customer moments or ride the wave of trends.