When I first learned about keyword research, the concept was described to me as, “figuring out what people are typing into google and then writing content that speaks to it.” It was vague.Digging deeper, I then started to understand that it is about determining how people articulate the problem they are having, and then writing content that answers their questions. This is a perfect example of something that is easy to think about in theory, but is much more difficult when you’re actually tasked with sitting down and figuring out what people are searching for.
To help you wrap your head around it, I wanted to share an example from a recent keyword research project our company underwent:
One of our clients creates custom made web and mobile applications. Previous to working with us, they had optimized their website for the keywords “New Orleans app development” and within a few months were successfully ranking #2 on Google for those terms.
The problem is, to get to this point, someone has to a) live in New Orleans and want to work with someone locally, and b) already understand that an app is the answer to their problem.
You see, companies do not make apps to make apps. They make apps to solve problems. The difficulty is, they may not realize that their problem can be solved by an app.
Let’s say a finance department is having trouble retrieving the necessary information from their company’s database, which is causing a lot of inefficiencies and forcing them to operate without perfect information.
What if an application was created that took the necessary info from their database and planted it onto a user-friendly interface – graphs, dashboards, and all? Just think about all of the benefits. Staff would be less frustrated with their work, the company would be making financial decisions with the information they need, and it would require fewer resources to train new employees.
Once our client can make this pitch, it’s quite compelling – but they need to have the chance to do so.
Therefore, we realized that the blog keywords needed to be designed around catching potential clients earlier on, when perhaps all they know is that they’re wasting a lot of time sifting through their database and want to figure out how to do so more efficiently.
Perhaps they're googling how to retrieve a specific piece of information from their database, because this is the immediate problem they're trying to solve.
Once we decided on this strategy, it provided a lot of focus when going through the traditional keyword research process (hint: interviews are probably the most useful on this list if you can talk to the right people.)
The important takeaway is that keyword research isn’t about typing in random word combinations, searching for difficulty level, and hoping something will stick. It is about creating a strategy that makes sense for what you’re offering, and meeting people where they are in their thought process.