Keywords are the foundation of your website pages. They’re what Google and other search engines are looking for when they crawl and index your content, to better understand the purpose of the page. The correct keywords are the difference between sending awesome qualified traffic to your site – and sending the wrong kind of traffic to your site – or equally as bad, no traffic at all.
Most newbies to content creation overlook keywords when getting started, but as any successful business SEO will tell you, the few hours spent conducting proper keyword reseach will absolutely pay off in the long-run. Still not sure about keywords? Here are a few high-level reasons keyword research should not be skimped on:
1. They indicate to search engines like Google what the topic of a certain website page is. A major job of a search engine is to crawl website pages, index them based on the keywords it sees, and then serve them up when a person conducts a search relevant to the keywords.
2. They drive the most qualified visitors to your site: Not all site visitors are created equal. You want to attract people to your site who are interested and will potentially buy.
3. Allow you to work smarter, not harder: Rather than guessing what keywords will work, take the more scientific approach and do your research to ensure your time is well-spent.
Proper keyword research is easy – once you understand a few major concepts.
The three components to selecting the perfect keyword are as follows:
1. Understanding your buyer persona.
Buying personas are not an optional part of your business. The most successful companies from Apple to HubSpot have them – and they target them in everything that they do.
A buying persona is a detailed fictional character description that represents your ideal customer, a prototype if you will. To create a detailed buyer persona research your previous customers, talk to sales reps and use lead tracking data. Once you have access to these helpful mediums, ask these questions to create a detailed story of the buyer persona:
- What is their job and demographic
- What does a typical day in their life consist of?
- What are their pain points?
- What is most important to them?
- What are the most common objections to your service (or product)?
Having access to this type of information allows you to understand your buyer person and create content which they’ll naturally gravitate toward. This means every element of the content you create down the phrasing and even the verbiage difference between using “kids” and “children.”
Takeaway: Understanding your buyer personas helps you to create content they’ll naturally gravitate towards.
2. Keep in mind where your buyer persona is in the buying cycle
The people visiting your website are in all different stages of the buying cycle. Some people are just stopping by to read information on a problem they have, while others urgently need your service/product. A good way to determine where someone is in the buying cycle is based off of the keywords people type in in order to find your site. Here are the three stages of the buying cycle along with an example of the type of keyword they type in – including an example:
1. Top of the funnel = Looking for information that helps to solve a problem. They generally use vague, nonspecific keywords. For an inbound marketing consulting firm it may be “How to get found online”
2. Middle of the funnel = Aware of the industry and are surveing different companies. Generally use more specific keywords which are relevant to your industry. Uses industry terms “Inbound marketing consulting firms”
3. Bottom of the funnel = Aware of your specific business. Generally types in your company name as their keyword “Inbound Now.”
For those who are looking to ramp up their ability to get found in search, first you have to determine which part of the funnel you’re referencing. Most people target top and middle since it is likely you will get found for your company name – because realistically how many other people have the same name. Middle of the funnel keywords usually come easy – remember to keep your personas in mind. It’s the top of the funnel keywords which are more difficult. Draw inspiration from questions a customer has when first searching for a solution – without knowing your industry or brand are available to help. Use the example above for help – and keep in mind many times the top of the funnel keywords don’t necessarily tie directly into your industry, but it will much later down the road.
Marketing takeaway: Don’t rely solely on your bottom of the funnel traffic to be successful. Focus on top of the funnel keywords to widen your funnel and bring more site visitors and leads to your company.
3. Focus on long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are the secret to getting found online. Seriously, you could blog for years without seeing any organic traffic – and that would be because you have selected keywords which are simply too difficult to get found for. A long-tail keyword phrase is essentially a three or more keyword phrase for which you want to get found for.
Here are some examples:
Long-tail keyword phrases are ideal to structure your content around because of their host of benefits:
- Send more qualified buyers to your website
- Less competition
- Easier to rank for and quickly
- Cumulatively – long-tails can drive significant search volume to your website
- More people are conducting long-tail keyword searches as Google pushes Autocomplete
One simple way to identify opportunites for more long-tail keywords is to begin typing your keyword into a search engine and see what Google autocompletes your search with.
Marketing Takeaway: Before you begin crafting your article, be sure it is a quality long-tail keyword phrase in which your buying personas would use to search.
Long-tail keyword research provides tons of benefits, but ensuring it is the proper kind of keyword research is what can make, or break, your inbound marketing efforts.