How do you know what your customers are looking for?
Well, in case you haven’t yet, you could ask them. I know that sounds a bit snarky but it's true.
But that's not the end of the road by any means.
Start thinking of your customers and the problems they face, as well as the questions they have when deciding to buy your product or service.
Those are always the thoughts that can guide you, but you can dig deeper.
If you don’t know about keyword research yet, it may be time to learn a little about it.(I expand on this below)
It’s just a small component of SEO(Search Engine Optimization), but it’s a good place to start getting found online and can bring big returns.
It’s fairly easy to apply and there are free keyword research tools available.
It’s one of the easiest and best things you can do to help your business online until you either beef up your digital marketing skills, or hire an expert to take you further.
Whether you have something specific you want to write about or not, here’s how to find out what your customers are looking for online.
Open up a Google search page and type in words, phrases or questions you think your customers might have into google, like – “how to choose a life insurance policy”, and hit search. Notice that Google will try to finish your sentences.
It does that because Google knows what people are searching for and is trying to help you. It may not guess your exact term but just be aware of those suggestions for now.
Look at the bottom the page in the “Searches related to..” section. That is a list of terms of similar queries people have searched for previously.
That’s a very important resource. Google is giving you suggestions based on what you, and others, have been searching for.
With this as a basic setup, let’s get a little more detailed and do some keyword research.
Simple, FREE tools to help you write relevant articles and social posts
Let’s start with some basic definitions just to clarify.
A keyword is a word that describes the content on your page or post best. It's the search term that you want to rank for with a certain web page or blog.
Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they're closer to a point-of-purchase.
These are the terms we will work with most that will bring the quickest results.
With a keyword search tool you can see the volume of any term. Meaning, you can see how many people per month are actually searching for that term.
If they’re not, then your information may not be what your customers are looking for, even though you may think it is.
If you don't want to install a browser tool then try a tool like Ubersuggest. Another great free keyword tool that is indispensable when doing keyword research, it just won't be live in your search browser.
I suggest you try them all, and more, and find what works best for you.
Once installed, search for a term in Google and you will see data to the right of the search field at the top of the page, and the boxes on the right side of the page that were not there before, from Keyword Surfer.
In the screenshot above, note the keyword ideas on the rights side in the Keyword Surfer box.
These are Keyword Ideas that other people have searched for, similar to your search term.
This is a valuable list of keyword terms you may want to use as the basis for articles and other content to be found on Google.
If you look at the organic search results, you’ll find the organic search results are now numbered. (The small red box on the left)
This numbering of the organic search listing is part of the SEO Quake browser extension.
It makes it easy to identify the organic search terms from the paid listings, and makes it easier to tell what rank a search result is as you scroll through the pages.
What you first need to pay attention to is the Volume. In the case of FMO Insurance, we see that the volume is 320. Which means about 320 people search that term every month.
The higher the volume the more people are searching for it.
Every time you search for something it will tell you how many people are looking for that exact term per month.
This is Golden Information. And, did I mention it’s FREE??
Now, this doesn’t mean that when you find a term with a volume of 100,000/month you should try to write an article to try and rank for it.
With that much competition it will be way too competitive. (More on this below)
If your website isn’t already ranking #1 for a lot of key words, or you are just starting writing content for your site, you will want to start with keywords with smaller volumes.
In general, less than a thousand. You will likely see the best result from searches with less than a few hundred in volume.
There are plenty of long tail keywords with low volume that have little competition.
Start there. When you see that you are ranking for those terms you can try ranking for keywords with more volume, and continue that process.
If you see a keyword you really think is relevant but is way too competitive, just find a long tail version of that keyword with smaller volume.
It takes time for your site to build the authority needed to rank for the more competitive terms.
This is a long term game, but worth the effort.
What to look for
Search for a term in Google until you find one with a reasonable volume.
Then take a look at the top 3-5 results Google shows you.
Is the content in these articles the same as what you intended for your search?
If so, then look at the volume and the companies on the first results page.
Are they well known, influential companies?
If so, you want to keep searching similar long tail keywords until you find a comfort zone you can compete in.
By that I mean – Instead of searching for, let's say, “life insurance” - volume 246,000, search for “what is the best life insurance policy” - volume 390.
This is a long tail keyword that we discussed above and will usually have a much smaller volume, and therefore, smaller competition.
It is also much more specific. So, someone searching this term is much closer to making a buying decision than the larger volume term.
These are the ideal terms you are looking for. The “People Also Search For” box will also be helpful here.
In general, when searching keywords, look to find results from other companies similar to yours.
That’s when you know you’re in the right neighborhood.
Continue to use Google’s suggestions and trying new long tail keywords and start a list of what terms you could write about where the volume and competition is reasonable.
Bear in mind, this is a simplification of SEO and how search engines work, but if you aren’t applying these tactics already, then starting with these simple steps will get you started on the road to growing your organic traffic.
And don’t forget to have a good call to action somewhere within the article.
After you've educated your prospective clients, let them fill out a form asking for either a phone number or email, and let them know that you are there to help them with any questions they may have.
Ok, this can get a bit dry so let’s put it all together.
Doing some simple keyword research can tell you not only what people are looking for, but what google is serving up for each term and who the competition is.
The point of this exercise is, you don’t have to guess what people want to read about.
Start searching for what your customers may be interested in, and let the volume of searches and google suggestions be your guide. It’s not infallible, but it is a great start.
Take a good look at the first couple articles.
Google put them there because they have content that it thought was the best of the best.
Read through and get an understanding of what they did, and do it even better.
Add some more detail, take pieces of the top 3 or 5 articles and make a more complete article.
You’re not trying to copy, just getting an idea on what made those articles great, in Googles eyes, so you can provide even more value to your prospective clients.
It takes time for articles to rank on the first page, but when they do, they will deliver for you day after day.
If you want organic traffic and leads from search engines, and you should, then you need to know what people are searching for.
Nevertheless, that does not mean you should never write about something that has no search volume.
You know your business best. If you know that some information is important but just doesn’t have a lot of volume, according to google, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be written.
You always need to use your expertise and discernment before making a decision.
Writing and posting content is a lot like investing. The results can be slow at first, but over time it will compound and really start to add up.
Hopefully you see your business as a marathon and not a sprint.
Take the time to plant those seeds today. You'll be glad you did.