Thinking Like Your Customers to Get the Right Keywords
SEO campaigns. They’re all about getting a great page ranking and the right kind of visitors to your website – “right” meaning those who are potential customers.
The goal is not to garner huge amounts of traffic but instead to attract your target audience. And you do this in large part by the keywords you select, so that you show up on the pages that this audience will see from its searches.
Know The Customer
The first step in developing keywords is to know your customer. It’ not enough just to have a persona. You have to also think like that customer. What are their values and needs, and what words would they use in searching for your product or service?
Ask yourself some questions:
What words do I use to describe my product or service?
Are these the same words that my typical customer would use? If I think they may not be, what words would my typical customer use?
Do I use industry jargon to describe my product or service? If so, does my typical customer know that jargon too, or are those words used by just others in the industry?
Finding the Customer’s Language
There are lots of sources for discovering the keywords that are the best fit for your customer, and you should use them all before you come up with your list.
Use current customers as sources of information. What language do they use as you have communicated with them? Or, just ask them what search terms they used to find you. This is valuable information.
Spy on your competitors. What keywords are they using in their blog posts, and what terms keep popping up in conversations on their blog or social media pages? These words and phrases will give you great clues.
Use keyword search tools. Of course, Google AdWords is a great source, but there are a number of other free keyword search tools that are just as good.
You can enter a single word for your industry niche and generate a massive number of keyword possibilities. Compare these with the keywords you are finding elsewhere, and you should be able to generate a pretty good list.
Types of Keywords
When the whole idea of searches was new, consumers would type in single word terms, such as “flooring.”
This would bring up pages upon pages of companies that sold flooring – everything from big box retailers to small niche flooring specialists, although those little guys probably appeared way down the line.
We’ve come a long way since then. Google algorithms, keyword stuffing, refined Google algorithms, and generic to long-tail keyword searches now all figure into content marketing strategies that will impact SEO.
So, as you develop your list of keywords that you intend to embed in your content, here are the options you have.
Broad Generic Terms
These are short and simple keywords – often only one word. They would apply widely to all niches in your industry, but could apply to other industries as well. Take the word “flooring,” for example.
This term would include residential and commercial flooring; it would include carpet, tile, wood, and other newer materials.
If you only sell natural wood flooring, your competition within this keyword is huge, and the likelihood of your getting the right traffic, or any traffic at all from such a search is pretty low.
Consumers know this too, so they are not prone to use these one-word searches much anymore.
Fat Head Keywords
These are keyword phrases that use the generic single word plus another word to narrow the field a bit. So, “wood flooring” would be such a keyword phrase, and your competition is narrowed. Niches that offer carpeting and tile are not going to show up.
Chunky Middle Keywords
These are phrases that can narrow the search field eve more. Suppose your niche is only residential flooring. Then you can add that word into you phrase – “residential wood flooring.”
Long-Tail Keywords are longer phrases, usually 4-5 words that perform very precise searches. Consumers are getting to understand that their searches are far easier if they use several words. Your job is to use all of the methods above to determine which long-tail phrases will be best.
Remember: As you insert keywords into your content (and you should use combinations of the 4 types), be certain that you do not overload that content and that the keywords flow well within the content, rather than appear to have just been randomly stuck in or forced.
Experiment and Use Analytics Tools
Finding the right keywords often takes some experimentation and testing. But you have some great tools for that as well. You can use these tools to analyze which keywords and keyword phrases are generating the most traffic and which you can safely dump.
An Ongoing Process
Don’t rest on your laurels once you believe you have the right keywords. Everything evolves in the digital marketing world, and keywords do too.
New jargon and terminology in your niche will be coming down the pike, so it is important that you stay current, always look to see what words and phrases competitors and customers are using, and be willing to experiment with new ones.