Bill Hunt Speaking at SES about Keyword Research Modeling Analysis

As one of the last sessions of the first day of SES, Bill Hunt (@billhunt) spoke about ways to improve your keyword research – both how to find better keywords, and how to better use the keywords that you find. With keyword research, we as digital marketers have the opportunity to really match what the customer wants, and the better that we do that, the more likely we are to gain customers. What’s more, keyword research from SEO can inform PPC, and vice versa, and both sets of keyword research can benefit (and benefit from) Social Media, so if you do your keyword research right, all areas of your digital marketing campaign can grow.

Bill Hunt’s Tips for Better Keyword Research

Since Google is now hiding a lot of the search terms under “not provided,” there are several other ways to find out the terms that people are using.

  • Use the data from Webmaster Tools and any AdWords campaigns you might be running to get a good idea of the terms that most people are finding you for.
  • The information from your site search is also a gold mine – if people land on your website and can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll probably use the site search to try and find it.
  • If your company has a call center, start having the phone reps ask callers how they found the company. If the caller found your company through a search engine, ask them what search terms they used.
  • Add “purchase cycle phrases” such as buy, discount, sale, closeout, upgrade, in stock, refurbished, and special price to your keywords and check the search volumes for those terms.

Tips for Using Your Keyword Research Well

  • The most important reason for analyzing your keyword data is so that you can figure out what customers are looking for and what their intent is. That way you have a better chance of delivering customers what they’re looking for, which makes them more likely to convert and more likely to come back.
  • Use categories to sort your keywords – do most people search by product type (shoes, hats, pants)? By the place or event they plan to use it for (weddings, date night, yoga)? By body type? What other categories can you think of?
  • Create audience personas: What terms does an amateur or infrequent user of your product use to search for what you offer? Are they looking for different products than a professional or more experienced user? What keywords does each type of customer use in the buying cycle (which ones are more likely to search for “cheap” or “discount” as opposed to “first-class” or “professional”)?

How to Use Keyword Research Across Disciplines

  • Use PPC and Social Media data to inform your keyword research. Social Media can help you find how people feel about different keywords, the context in which people are using those keywords, and even discover new words that you didn’t know people were using with your product. Make a word cloud of most-used words associated with your brand or product.
  • Use Keyword Research to Inform PPC. Take your top 20 most expensive PPC keywords and hand them over to the SEO team. Any gains in organic rankings for those keywords save you money that can be put to good use somewhere else.
  • Use Keyword Research to Inform Social Media. Since good keyword research will help you understand what people are looking for, use social media to answer people’s questions before they even ask them.
  • Use keyword research to identify industry influencers. Take the top 1700 keywords you’re trying to rank for and see who shows up in the top 10 organic results for those keywords most often. This can help you identify social media influencers, potential linkbuilding partners, and your competition.

Keyword research can be really powerful if used in the right way. If you’re not harnessing the true power of keyword research, you’re truly missing out – no matter what aspect of digital marketing you do.