The marketing approach to keyword analysis

Wednesday, 29 June 2011 13:17 Written by  John
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The last few blog posts have been looking at the tools and science behind finding and evaluating the keywords to optimise your website around. Unfortunately search engine optimisation isn’t a science. In this blog we’ll look at how using a solid marketing approach to finding keywords will help you identify what your customers are really searching for.

The first thing you’ll need to do is ditch the analytics hat and dig out your marketing hat. In essence keyword research is a similar process to that used by marketers – you’re trying to understand the messages that attract customers. Marketing is all about delivering the right message at the right time to the right person for the lowest possible cost. What you’re trying to do with your keywords is deliver the right keyword to the right prospect when they’re in the right phase of the buying cycle. By using the natural search engine results you’ll be doing this at the lowest possible cost anyway.

So the question is how do you start to understand your customers and what they’re really looking for? Well the obvious first step is to ask them. Do you have some reliable customers that you can talk to? How did they find out about your products? Why did they choose you over your competitors? What attracted them to your company? There are hundreds of questions that will be specific to your business you can ask – what you’re trying to understand is what the triggers were that made them buy from you.

If you don’t have the customer base (or have a very large customer base) you could try some more mass market approaches to gleaning this data. You could commission a questionnaire, you could use one of the many online survey tools available or you could get out on the street and ask people. What you’re after is primary research - first hand research directly from your customers. I won’t go into detail about how to run a market research project in the post – it’s a vast subject – but there are reams of first class advice available online.

OK. So you’ve gone out and spoken to your customer base and now have a list of the reasons why they bought from you over the competition. Now what?

Well this research should become the basis of your keyword research. Did they buy from you because you were the cheapest? Was it because you offered the best service? Perhaps it was because you were local? You can see that by digging into your research you can start to find the keywords your ideal prospects are likely to be searching for. We know that one of our key selling points is the fact that we’re a local Cambridge company. This is why one of our keywords is ‘web design Cambridge’ – we stand a much stronger chance of winning business if we can play on our availability to pop out and help our customers when they need us. We also stand a much stronger chance of people clicking through to our website because it’s relevant to them and meets their needs. 

By combining traditional marketing tactics of good customer research with the keyword research tools and analysis that we’ve discussed in the previous blogs you’ll be able to build up a solid, factual list of keywords to optimise your website around. As ever this isn’t rocket science but without the primary research you’ll be guessing what your customers are really searching for. And that can be a risky strategy. 


Last modified on Wednesday, 20 July 2011 14:45


John is a co-founder of SWAYsearch.