Proper search engine optimization begins with thorough keyword research. Keyword research is the process of choosing keywords that are searched by users to get to products and services you offer. There’s no way around this. If you aren’t targeting the right keywords, you aren’t reaching potential customers, and you’re likely wasting money. When you research the right terms to use, you both increase your rankings and learn more about who your customers are. It’s a win-win situation. Having knowledge of these keywords can also assist with your overall marketing and content strategy.
Failure to play by the book with keyword research means you miss out on the benefits it presents. This is an area of SEO that you don’t want to rush. You don’t want just any visitor coming to your site; you want the right visitors on your page. The more time and patience you put into your keyword strategy, the more likely you are to pinpoint the consumers that are most likely going to spend money on your site.
Picking the right keywords starts with keyword research. There are many different ways to go about effectively choosing your keywords. First off, keep in mind that the keyword phrases need to be as relevant to your business as possible. Let’s say you sell eco-friendly cleaning supplies. You notice that there is a spike in searches for eco-friendly bleach or “chlorine-free” bleach. However, you don’t currently sell this product, but you believe you can bid for the keyword because people buying eco-friendly bleach will buy other eco-friendly products, too.
While this thinking isn’t necessarily wrong, it does increase your chances of a customer not being able to find what they came to your page for. Every keyword you choose should be beneficial and relational to your site.
Start by making a list of generic keywords and phrases that you think are applicable to your business. As you go through the research process, you’ll tailor this list based on your findings. When you’ve made a list of keywords you plan to target, search for these terms and take a look at what sites are currently ranking for them.
Keyword Research Tools
Keyword research tools make accurate research possible. These tools provide many searches, such as monthly search volume data and estimated click-through rates. This eliminates potentially dozens of hours of manual work, campaign after campaign. A great way to get started is through Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner tool — a free tool that suggests keywords and tells you the estimated cost of running a campaign using certain keywords. There are many other advanced keyword research tools that offer a wealth of in-depth data.
Know Your Customer / Buyer Persona
According to Skylar Malley, who owns an SEO agency in Denver called Firestarter, buyer personas are a solid investment. “You’ve got to know the target customer before you can truly serve them,” says Malley. “Things like keyword research only succeed when it’s founded on a deep understanding of the customer’s challenges, pains, and desires. If you don’t have things like buyer personas, invest in them.”
Creating buyer personas is the best way to narrow down who your target audience truly is. As Malley mentioned, without a clear picture, your keyword and marketing strategy will always be somewhat off. Like your keyword choices, having buyer personas will help you in multiple areas, from social media to content marketing.
Armed with the findings from your keyword research, you can begin creating your personas. There are a few things you can do to start. First off, look around to see if there are any existing data on your customers, such as purchase history or login details. Keep in mind that you’ll be creating multiple personas based on your business (2-4 is a good number). Think about their age, demographics, hobbies, economic status, and all the details that make up a customer. You can even get creative and add photos or a mood board for your buyer personas, in true “profile style.” This will give you a real visual of who they are.
Your personas are linked to keyword research in different ways. Using the same eco-friendly cleaning product business as an example, let’s consider how keywords influence personas. Perhaps your goal would be to get your cleaning products into commercial buildings. In that case, the persona “Mike the Manager” might search for term phrases like “best bulk eco cleaning products.”
On the other hand, you might want to attract socially-conscious mothers who have demonstrated interested in an eco-friendly home. That person might search for “child safe cleaning products.” Consider the possibilities, and keep notes on keywords that are applicable to your buyer personas.