At its core, success in search marketing is about gaining a deep understanding of your customers. It’s all about knowing who they are and what they want, and presenting yourself as a solution to their problems.
But where to start? The first (and most obvious) place might be to ask yourself this: what are my customers searching for? Finding the answer to this simple question may be a little more complex than you’d think.
Why is it important to know what customers are searching for?
When faced with a problem, our first instinct is to Google a solution. This is as true for finding the capital of Mongolia as it is for finding a plumber. And while it can be tempting to think that every potential customer is typing in ‘[location] plumber’, the truth of search behaviours is far more nuanced. Many, if not most, will type in a specific problem: ‘how to fix a leaking tap’, ‘how to unclog a toilet’, ‘why does my drain smell?’
Another complication: individual customers searching for the same thing can use wildly different words, which are also very different to those that you’ll use as an industry professional. This makes keyword research – part of the New Opportunities and Focus stage of the Growth Partners DEP – absolutely critical. What if you’re failing to address a pain point that half of your customers currently have?
Understanding what your customers are searching for allows you to get in front of far more leads, all while positioning yourself as the answer to their specific problem. This is the role of content on your website: it gives Google a wealth of delicious keywords to grab onto, while showcasing your solution.
What is a keyword?
You’ll hear the term ‘keyword’ a lot when speaking to digital agencies and search engine optimisation experts, but what exactly does it mean? The answer helps to form the foundation of all your SEO efforts.
A keyword neatly describes the content found on a web page. It allows a search engine like Google to quickly get a sense of the information that a site or page offers up, which, along with a number of other factors, allows it to rank that site or page appropriately.
What are the different types of keywords?
Not all keywords are created equal. There are a variety of keywords at an SEO expert’s disposal, and understanding each is key to ensuring a website ranks as high on Google as possible.
The main types of keywords are:
- Short-tail: A keyword made up of three words or fewer.
- Long-tail: A keyword made up of four words or more.
- Short-term/fresh: A keyword that experiences significant fluctuations in popularity (e.g. a hit song.)
- Long-term/evergreen: A keyword that experiences low fluctuations in popularity (e.g. ‘plumbing’)
- Product-defining: A keyword that describes or explains your product or service.
- Customer-defining: A keyword that specifically describes or addresses your target audience.
- Intent-targeting: A keyword that speaks to the intent of the audience, be it informational (what/why), commercial (features/specifications) or transactional (buy now/20% off).
- Geo-targeting: A location-specific keyword.
- Latent Semantic Indexing: LSI keywords are themed around your main keyword.
How to select the right types of keywords
When done properly, selecting the right keywords isn’t about intuition or gut feel – it’s a science. If you truly want to understand the search habits of your customers, and present yourself as the solution to their problems, you need to collect hard data, and make decisions off the insights offered up through analysis.
Within the Growth Partners Digital Enablement Program we conduct deep keyword research, looking at what your target audience is searching for, while considering a wealth of other factors including competitiveness, seasonality and popularity.
Keyword research tools
While there are a wealth of keyword research tools available on the internet, many of which are free, these inevitably offer up a severely limited view of the situation, and leave you with the stress of trying to find the most effective keywords and trying to understand the role they play within SEO. Add in the fact that your competitors are more than likely getting professional help, and DIY keyword research can quickly turn into a complete waste of time.
The truth is that it takes a combination of deep experience and high-end tools to properly conduct keyword research and act on the insights it generates – something that Growth Partners’ Digital Enablement Programme (DEP) has been built to do.
The DEP takes a deep dive into the whats, hows and whys of your customers’ search behaviour. It outlines exactly what your target audience is searching for, and how that differs to the content that your website currently offers. It arms you with a complete understanding of your keyword situation, and a roadmap to improvement.
How to create content that engages with your customers
By engaging with your customers, you’ll build the necessary recognition and trust that forms the basis of sales conversion. And content is a hands-free way to do just that.
The process of creating engaging content is best described as a funnel:
- Top of funnel: The research and discovery phase. Here content will play a key role in answering queries and generating brand recognition.
- Middle of funnel: The awareness and consideration phase. Content can be used to explain both the benefits of your solution, and your trustworthiness and expertise as a brand.
- Bottom of funnel: The conversion phase. Content plays a lesser role once a customer is ready to make a purchase, although it can help to increase the size of that purchase and engender loyalty.
Your customers are more complex individuals than you perhaps give them credit for. Each is entirely unique, in look, in personality and in how they interact with your brand.
At Growth Partners our Digital Enablement Programme has been designed to quantify the complex tapestry that is your customer base, and to find and focus on the unique opportunities hidden within it. If you’re ready to better align with the wants and needs of your customers, we’re ready to help. Click here to book a 15-minute consultation with Growth Partners Director Steve Bambury today.