Before starting an SEO campaign for a client I supply them with a kick off questionnaire which includes a question regarding the keywords for their business. Their answers then become the start point for my keyword research, but how can we all get better at understanding how others start looking for our products.
I suggest the first thing you do is accept the fact that you may not know your customers as well as you think you do, or more to point you have to agree that you don’t know the people that are looking for your products but aren’t buying them from you.
A good place to start is on Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool but before you jump in and see how the keywords you think are relevant perform let’s see what Google throws up for your site, you may be surprised.
Let Google Decide
Unlike their tax bill there are some things that Google should be able to decide on and the most obvious thing is what they think are relevant keywords for your site. Once signed into the Planner select the first option on the page.
Enter the address of your site in the ‘Your landing page’ box and click ‘Get ideas’.
Let Google do it’s thing and it’ll return your results displaying what it thinks would be good Ad group ideas and Keyword ideas. We’re interested in the Keyword Ideas tab and you should order the Avg. monthly searches column so they are listed highest at the top. You’re now seeing what Google thinks are good keywords for your site, is it what you had expected?
Having seen what Google thinks are the appropriate keywords for your site it’s now time to test how well you understand your marketplace by testing your keywords. We need to modify the search and this time we’ll leave the landing page box blank and enter what you consider to be the main service you provide, which is more than likely your main keyword.
In my example I’ve used the phrase ‘web design’ and as I’m trying to target local businesses I’ve kept the targeting filter for location set on Wiltshire.
The results show me that my chosen primary keyword may not be the most suitable for targeting local searches. More people are searching for the term ‘website design’ and as an added bonus the suggested bid for an AdWords campaign is lower than the original keywords.
This demonstrates one thing and one thing only, you may not be using the most appropriate keywords. But don’t start making changes based on such a simple test, there may be even better keywords to target that you haven’t even considered.
Sometimes when we look for keywords we get mesmerised by the bright lights of the most popular searches when in fact we may be better off looking for searches that are more than likely coming from a potential customer. If we scroll down a bit further we see 20 searches for ‘e-commerce website’ and you could argue that those 20 searches are from people who aren’t just browsing. A little further down and the searches get much more specific and the likely hood of the person searching being ready to buy a service increases.
This is quite an odd summary because I have to try and tell you that you’re an idiot and you know nothing about your customers without insulting you.
If you accept that you may not understand what your customers are searching for or more likely you’ve not been distinguishing between customers and browsers then maybe when you re-think your keywords you may target more customers ready to buy.
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