When I started out writing blogs, keyword research was the last thing on my mind. Admittedly, even now I continue to mainly write about things that interest me.
It is quite different when you are preparing advert content. This has a commercial interest to be in front of your target market.
I, like many others, understand the importance of keyword research. It is the bridge between a searcher and the words they type into the search engine, and how the search engine will apply those words to relevant content within the web.
The way I see it, the principle of keyword research is the technological equivalent of the Dewey Decimal System.
I write about pilgrimages, and the amazing experiences that I have enjoyed. I also write about my new-found passion, which is online business and digital skills.
I continue to learn, and while I write and research aspects of the content, I also learn.
It’s a win-win. I write, I learn.
So, back to the reason I write this article.
I really struggled with keyword research. The whole aspect of it is so technical. Technical for me anyhow.
I have written down countless notes on keyword research, having read many articles and watching just as many videos.
From these notes, I have established my own basic process to keyword research and hopefully, this article will assist other entrepreneurs to highlight some important aspects of this type of research.
Let’s start with a definition of the words:
I include this because it references that search engine optimization professionals use this type of research.
I wonder whether this one in Wikipedia needs an update? I use a process to determine keywords, and I am by no means a “search engine optimization professional”
Customer Avatar Exercise
I start here.
- Who am I writing for?
- What are this person’s goals and value?
- What are this person’s challenges and pain-point’s
- Where are their sources of information? What books are they reading? Do they read magazines, blogs, certain websites?
- What key information do I need to consider about my customer avatar? Their age, gender, marital status, where they live, family, children. What do they do for a living?
Quite often my customer avatar is me. My story. My challenges. My hopes and dreams, but sometimes they are someone completely different.
It’s this fundamental difference in who you are writing for, that makes the use of keyword research so beneficial to your creation of content.
What is your personal mission statement, and that of my business?
For example, I have a desire to help others.
To help them with information around pilgrimages:
Where their walks might start. What they need in their backpack, perhaps a packing list.
Perhaps to help them explore the deeper meaning of the pilgrimage. Often to simply inspire people to walk a pilgrimage.
In addition, I have a desire to help people find the skills they need to pursue their online entrepreneurial dreams.
When you think about these two people, the one going on pilgrimage, and the other going online for the first time, they might be two different people. They could also be the same people, or perhaps like me they just have common interests in both pilgrimages and online business.
This is the importance of knowing and understanding your own mission statement. It helps you on your way to authentically provide value to your customer, by drafting and producing relevant content.
Make a list of keywords
With your customer avatar in mind, and the keywords that came out of that exercise, together with your mission make a list. I use a simple Exel spreadsheet.
I find that my best lists come from the goals and values of my customer, and their challenges and pain points.
In Google I enter the keywords that I have listed.
From this I can determine what is being searched, how the search terms are formatted and from those search words, the related search results.
I like to use long-tail keyword research. The downside is that they generally get less search traffic, but the upside is less competition.
What about your competitors?
Understanding your own, and your product’s unique characteristics and how they weigh up against others in your arena, help with the way in which you create content.
I like to think of those people out there, doing what I am doing as my allies as opposed to my enemies. It follows then that this part of the research isn’t, for me at least, getting a dig into my competitors.
Maybe I am naïve in my thought process?
Searching the “benefits”, “features” “versus” keywords to compare one product with yours can highlight important aspects of where your focus should be in drafting your content.
What is the search intent of your customer avatar?
Now that you understand your customer avatar and your own mission and have a list and have conducted some research, what is the intention of your customer?
- Are they looking for information?
- Are they on a purchase mission?
- Are they looking for additional skills?
- Are they navigating to a specific website?
Have a look at Google’s Mission Statement:
This is what makes understanding the intention of your customer important too. Knowing this helps you answer questions, providing the right product and designing your website to make it as easy as possible to find.
I use answerthepublic.com to help understand the intention of my customer. It helps me focus on what is being asked, the searchers intention and creating the content around those questions.
Keyword research is an ongoing process.
A piece of content might have different keywords from others you prepare, even if the topic is similar.
Following the key aspects might assist you with your own keyword strategy, as it has helped my own.
- Customer Avatar Exercise
- Mission Statement
- Create List
- Research List
What are your lessons learnt from doing keyword research?