Your business cannot grow if you do not understand your market, your audience, and your brand. Unfortunately, plenty of digital organizations appear to have missed the memo in this regard. They dive headlong into keyword research, chomping at the bit to churn out content and bid on pay per click ads.
As a result, many of them miss the mark entirely. Their time, effort, and money ends up wasted on a marketing strategy that simply does not work. In order to avoid making this mistake yourself, there are a few things you need to understand before dedicating any time to keyword research.
What Your Customers Are Interested In
What is your audience searching for, and why? This knowledge needs to inform every facet of your content marketing efforts and search engine optimization strategy, from initial research through to topic brainstorming through to content creation. You need to understand not just the terms your audience is searching with, but the intent behind those terms.
Are they looking for information, such as how-to articles or details on a particular service? Do they want to know where your business is located? Or are they clearly interested in making a purchase?
It also helps to know what type of person is interested in your brand and its products. Look at your competitors on social media, and pay attention to their most engaged followers. That’s likely your demographic, as well.
If any of your competitors maintain a blog, you can also look there for general inspiration.
Your Own Expertise
One of the most important pieces of advice where content marketing is concerned is to focus on what you know. You are presumably an authority on your industry and your market. Use that in your keyword research and topic generation.
Write to your strengths, and consider what tangential topics your audience would be interested in, as well. Someone looking for home repair services, for instance, may also be interested in reading about home decor or lawn care. Someone purchasing pet food will likely be interested in other aspects of pet care.
What You Want to Achieve
Perhaps most importantly, you need to decide on your actual goal in carrying out keyword research. First, consider what part of the marketing funnel you’re targeting. There are three broad areas of focus in that regard.
- Top funnel keywords are broad and geared towards informational intent. They generally bring in people who are either in their early stages of researching a brand or simply browsing the web.
- Mid funnel keywords are slightly more specific, and target customers with slightly more purchase intent. They may be researching a particular product or service of yours.
- Bottom funnel keywords are explicitly aimed at customers with purchase intent. They are highly specific and generally include brand keywords and product names.
It’s likely that, as part of your SEO efforts, you will leverage all three types of keywords for different areas of your website. A blog post, for instance, will likely target top or mid-funnel keywords, whilst a product page will have keywords associated with it that are geared towards the bottom of the sales funnel. That’s why it’s important to ask yourself about your goals for each page.
- Do you simply want to generate brand awareness and bring in more traffic?
- Are you trying to sell a specific product or service?
- Do you want to increase conversions?
- Are you attempting to build yourself up as a thought leader?
These aren’t mutually exclusive, mind you. At the same time, it’s important that when you set out to research keywords for your site, you do so with a clear goal in mind.
Keyword research is a constant process and one that requires consistent evaluation. It demands that you understand not only your market, but also your audience, your brand, and your own business goals. It is not, in other words, something you can do without focus.