Let’s talk about keyword research. If it makes your eyes glaze over, stick with us. Keyword research is actually fascinating and can give your business blog a much-needed boost.
Keyword research is essentially a way of figuring out which search terms - which words - are most important to your audience at any given moment. The language of your target audience changes over time and you need to keep up with it.
As proof, think about “information superhighway.” Remember that old gem from the early days of the internet? Today, no self-respecting web expert would use it, but in the late 1990s it was a cutting-edge phrase.
The beauty of keyword research is that it allows you to zoom in on the exact words that are relevant to your audience and spend your time focusing on them. It prevents you from wasting time trying to attract the millions of people who don’t really care about your business.
Keyword research is not just about getting attention. It’s about getting the right kind of attention: valuable visits from your target market.
If you’re new to keyword research, start by making a list of 5 to 10 topics you know are valuable to your audience. Be careful not to get bogged down with what’s most important to you personally. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes.
For example, if you’re the CEO of a construction company, profitability might be most important to you. But your audience might be much more interested in eco-friendly building trends. To get access to your audience, you should consider incorporating more information about eco-friendly building trends.
Next, take your list of topics and think of all kinds of phrases related to them. To build on the example of the construction company, start with “eco-friendly construction” and develop phrases like:
Energy efficient construction
How to save energy
Earth friendly buildings
What’s new in solar power
Recycling and repurposed materials
Construction eco trends
Don’t get too hung up on the exact words or phrasing. The goal is to broaden your list and create a big group of terms you can use for the next stage of research.
Now use the terms you developed in the last step to make your list even bigger. Do a Google search - or, if you’re a visual thinker, an image search - for the things you’ve already come up with. Notice common photos and synonyms, like “green” for “earth-friendly.” Add it all to the list.
Consider the impact of long-tail keywords, which are longer phrases related to your original search terms. A long-tail keyword like “should I use green building materials” can be more audience-specific than a generic word like “green.”
Finally, it’s time to narrow down your list and hone your efforts. Decide which keywords you’ll focus on by considering the impact of competition. Just like competition out in the business world, competition for keywords can be cutthroat.
Sure, any small beauty products company would love to pop to the top of the Google rankings for a blog about “New Beauty Products.” But so would Amazon, L'Oréal, and millions of other companies with big bucks.
It can be better to dominate a more specific category like “100% Organic Face Lotion.” When people search for that phrase, they run across your latest blog post. Now you have a real chance to make them your biggest fan.
That’s the power of keyword research.