Here’s an important exercise for SEO keyword research in 2019.
Don’t think of Google as a computer search engine. Imagine that there’s no such thing as an algorithm, no data on how people use search.
Instead, imagine your product and your target buyer persona. Envision a connection between you – a direct pipeline where you know everything about each other.
You can see her. She’s married, 38, a mother of two young kids. She’s standing in her kitchen with a new problem – a need that never came up before. She’s not sure what to do.
Your product is on the other end of the pipeline. It is the perfect solution for her situation.
Her problem starts to turn into questions.
- How did this happen?
- Is there a tool to fix this?
- What is the tool called or what is it like?
- How does it work?
- Can I do this myself or do I have to hire help?
- How long will it take to fix?
- What are the consequences of doing nothing?
- How much does it cost?
It would be great if you could send a mental message right to her through the pipeline so she’d know about you, but telepathy doesn’t work.
But something else does.
Re-enter the search engine. She goes to Google and asks her question(s).
Now, really put yourself in her shoes. Consider the time of day, where the kids are, what she’s feeling at the moment. What is she going to ask Google? What is the most probable phrase or question she’ll use that relates to how your offer will help?
Write that phrase down. Make sure it’s a longer phrase (at least three or four words) with a fairly specific concept. For example, “kitchen paint” is not a term you’re likely to rank for, but “how to paint over greasy kitchen walls” is something you have a chance at.
The phrase you choose is the main keyword target for your content.
If you feel like you have a solid, natural phase that’s likely to be used by real people, just go with it.
Keep it between you and her. Use your intuition, make a supposition. How would a human being ask this question?
Now write your article. Create your video, design your infographic. Answer that question with the most useful, thoughtful, accurate content you can. Provide the information she needs, and as you do, introduce the idea of your product.
Optimize this content for your target search phrase.
Now put your content on social media; bring it to the attention of influencers. Send it through your email newsletter, try a press release. Get some traffic and links back to this page.
You’ll get ranking and start to earn traffic.
Now the keyword research begins.
Using Search Query Data to Refine Your Keywords
Now you’ll start getting data from Google. Specifically from Search Console. Here’s Google’s overview if your unfamiliar with this tool:
This provides data on the search queries people actually used to find your content.
We feature this data on Marketing 360® in the Natural Listing Ads® report. To access click on the Top Organic Pages link. Here you get a list of the pages you’re getting organic impressions for. More impressions and clicks mean the page is ranking for some searches.
Click the Details button on the right to see those searches.
For example, we did a blog post on Google’s In Market Audiences feature in Adwords. About 3 months after publication, the post started to draw traffic. We can now get this data on search queries:
Now we have actionable keyword data. This shows us actual queries that brought people to the page. We evaluate this list and refine optimization efforts to target the phrases people – not algorithms – are using to find the content.
Flipping Your Keyword Strategy
As you can see, this keyword research strategy flips things. Instead of relying on keyword search data before you create content, you focus on it after the content starts to draw traffic.
Central to this strategy is that it’s more important than ever to understand searcher’s intent. There is a great deal of value in visualizing buyer personas then brainstorming search queries they might use when they turn to Google. Not only is this an avenue towards finding the best keywords, it also keeps you focused on developing content that matches the searcher’s intent, which is what Google wants you to do in the first place.
If you make informed assumptions and stick to a focused concept, you’ll start to earn clicks from people doing searches related to your content. Then you can use this keyword report to see what people actually typed, which is the most valuable keyword data available.
There are several considerations with this tactic.
First, determine if your offer lends itself to informational marketing. For this tactic to work, people have to be making informational queries that – in some way – have a connection to your solution. Not every business can develop this type of information.
Furthermore, the strategy is all the more powerful when you can produce more pages on your domain, which you’ll primarily do by blogging. For example, marketing360.com has over 700 pages earning organic impressions. This gives us hundreds of concepts and thousands of informational queries on marketing that bring us targeted traffic.
Your business may not be able – or need – to have that much content. But if you rank for a few important concepts connected to your offer, that may be enough.
On the other hand, we see some eCommerce sites with thousands of products that are able to create informational blurbs for each product. The content you develop depends on what you’re offering.
This strategy aligns with what Google wants you to do in 2019. Focus on satisfying the searcher’s intent and providing informational value. If you do, you’ll rank higher and gain insights into how people actually found you.