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Do you think you know what your customers are thinking? And what words they type into Google to find your product or service?

Have you given thought to the different phases of the buying cycle and ways to get in front of your prospective customers earlier by predicting that cycle?

Instead of leaving keyword research as an afterthought… consider investing in it prior to developing or optimising your website and online presence. Doing your optimisation without in-depth keyword research is like putting your socks on after you put on your shoes. Sure, you end up with both shoes and socks on your feet, but it is far from the most effective way to go about it.

If you aren’t using the words your prospects are searching for, you are potentially missing a lot of traffic and, therefore, a lot of potential sales and profits. If you are using the wrong words with search engine marketing (SEM) like Google AdWords, then you are wasting money as well.

Sometimes even a few letters can make a difference e.g. “carpenter Adelaide” vs “carpentry Adelaide”.

Keywords Link to Strategy

Your keywords are not just important for your website and online optimisation, they are important full stop.

At the strategic level, keywords have nothing to do with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Your keywords are about knowing your target market (or your ideal prospective customers).

Keywords then reveal the actual language your target customers are using day-to-day. These are the words you should be using anyway, in all your marketing. Which, of course, includes your website.

What words will grab your ideal prospect’s attention?

What will earn their trust and convince them to enquire or buy your product or service?

The other important strategic decision to make is about your customer’s needs. What are they truly looking for? Do you meet those needs? How are they going to find you in their journey through the process?

It is important that you understand your target market and customer’s needs first and foremost, before you begin your keyword research.

Research THEN Optimise

Free keyword research tools such as Google’s Keyword Research tool are a great place to start. There is a lot of data there though… We recommend that you break the words down into categories and even create a ‘mind map’ of keywords.

Some common categories of keywords that we see include:

  • Students / education (people interested in the topic for the purposes of learning more about it or pursuing it as a vocation)
  • Information Collection / Research (potential customers early in their sales process)
  • Ready to buy or enquire (potential customers later in their sales process)

Once you have categoried and prioritied your keywords, it is time to optimise (phew, finally!). Don’t forget the rules about keyword stuffing vs keyword stacking. Also, remember our lesson from last week: Improve every page of your website with these two words

Once you have optimised your static website content, you can then apply the research to your Blogging, Social Media, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) / AdWords etc. to further optimise your online marketing activities.

Persuasive Communication

Finally, once you get the traffic to your website, you need to ensure that you have some persuasive messages or ‘call-to-actions’ to get the outcomes from your investments.

Key outcomes might include:

  • Join our Community
  • Enquiry form / email
  • Buy now
  • Book now
  • Request a call back

 

Summing up, remember the correct order to go about keywords…

strategy > keyword research > optimisation > conversion / start sales conversion process

I hope this helps you with your keyword and optimisation journey… and if not, feel free to contact us for further assistance.

Intro image by throgers on Flickr (CC by 2.0).
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