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How Do I Find the Right Keywords?

You've read all of the articles, and you know about all of the keyword suggestion tools available, but you still don't know how to put it all together and find the right keywords to use for content marketing?   It's not an uncommon situation, even for those who pretend to know what they're doing.  And, even some who may charge an arm and leg as your "SEO Guru."

Two things to note before getting started:

  1. Don't make this any more difficult than it needs to be.
  2. Think in terms of "keyword phrases" or "search phrases" instead of "keywords."  Most articles mention using long-tailed keywords.  This basically means using phrases, instead of single words.  Like I said, don't make it difficult.
  3. Content marketing is a  process, so if you're not correct the first go-around, you'll have plenty of chances to change what you're doing.
  4. You likely won't get it perfect the first time, so relax.

Now, let's start with the basics.

Know Your Product or Service

Why is this so important?  The first thing you have to think about is what problem your product or service is solving for people.  Hopefully, you're selling something that is relieving some pain for your customers and making their lives better.  If not, perhaps the product is the problem, and not your marketing.  But, let's assume that you have a good product and you know how it benefits the customers.   This is your starting point of your search for the perfect keywords.  Phrases that indicate the benefits your product or service can provide make excellent keywords, and are typically well placed on your pages anyway.  Use them in your content, provide internal links to your features or benefits page, and be sure to blast out the phrases in your social media, etc.

For some examples, let's pretend you sell an ointment which relieves knee pain.  Try some of the following:

  • relieves knee pain
  • non-greasy knee ointment
  • non-odor knee ointment
  • etc.

Get the drift?  That's not difficult, right?  And, by using these types of phrases, you're probably bringing in more customers who are actually ready to buy.

Know You Customers

Many articles say, "Pretend you are your customer.  What phrase would you type to find your product?"

Let's take this a step further, because, you're likely to answer that question incorrectly.  You know exactly how to find your product, but your potential customer only knows what's hurting.

Think about it this way... if you have knee pain, which are you more likely to search for?

  • "super-duper pain ointment"
  • "what can I use for knee pain?"

Do you see the difference?   With the smart search engines today, most people have learned that they will get the best results by just asking a question.  They may not even know your solution will help their problem.  In fact, they may not even know that there are products or services available like what you offer.  But, they sure know what's hurting and will readily type that into a search box.

Just like the benefits your product provides, the pains that your product eases provides a nice place to find keywords.  These are also the phrases that qualify your traffic, and increase your conversion rate.  After all, you can drive thousands of people a day to your site, but your efforts are wasted if your phone isn't ringing with orders, right?

Another note on this... search engines are becoming very smart -- smarter than you can probably imagine.  There's been a lot of effort by the major search engines to help people find information, and the easiest way to request information is by asking questions.  Therefore, search engines have become very good at answering questions, and it's assumed that they will become even more optimized for question-styled search phrases as time goes on.

Test, Measure, Adjust, Repeat

That leads us to a major point that you should really work to understand... No matter how good one of the many keyword suggestion tools or keyword research tools are, none of them will tell you how many times you can expect your phone to ring.  Getting clicks is much different than getting customers.   Getting customers means making sales.  And, as noted in Mark Cuban's 12 Rules for Startups, "Sales Cure All."

So, test your keywords, measure the results by measuring how many sales you make, not how many worthless clicks you get, and then adjust the ones that aren't performing to be more like the ones that are.   This part never ends, as you can always do a little better.  The efforts you put into this activity will make or break your marketing project.  There are several tools available, and you may need some guidance in setting up things to make testing work well.  But, without testing and measuring, your chances of improving are pratically zero.

More to Come

In a future article (maybe not this week, but in the next few weeks), I'll give some ideas of ways to set up a testing and measuring environment for you marketing efforts.  You'll likely be surprised how much you can do yourself with some guidance and a little time carved out each week.   In the meantime, drop us a line to ask how we can help.

Posted on May 17, 2015