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In today's digital savvy world, effective keyword research is an increasingly important skill for digital marketers. Not only do they need to know how to develop a good keyword list for Pay Per Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but highly skilled marketers need to know how to use keyword research to figure out what topics they should be writing about.
Keyword Research Defined
According to Hubspot, “Keyword research is when people use keywords to find and research actual search terms that people enter into search engines. The knowledge about these actual search terms can help inform content strategy, or marketing strategy overall.”
Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well it can be. The tricky part is when you start to get into the different stages of the buyer's journey. You’ve got to remember that your keywords will not be the same for everyone. Since your buyer personas are going to be in different stages of the funnel, they are going to be searching for different content. Different content means different keywords.
Let’s take a deeper dive into each stage of the buyer’s journey to figure out what each persona may be searching for, then we will look at a real life example to help you understand even further.
The Buyer’s Journey
When strategizing for your keyword research, you can start by following the three-stage funnel of the Buyer's Journey: The Awareness stage, the Consideration stage, and the Decision stage. Buyers in each stage of the funnel are going to be looking for different information according to their needs.
The Awareness Stage
The funnel starts at the top with the "awareness" stage. During this stage, people are looking for answers, resources, education, opinions, and some kind of insight to their problem.
You’ll want to aim to educate and provide value during this part of their search. The keywords people will be searching for are going to revolve around their pain points.
Let’s take for example, a business that provides CRM software. A buyer in the awareness stage is probably a manager at the beginning of their search, who is currently doing their customer service manually and is unable to keep up with the flow. A search phrase they may type into Google could be, “how to save time with customer service and support.”
The Consideration Stage
Once they have decided what their pain point is (saving time with customer service), they can work to correct it. Buyers will now move to the “consideration” stage of their journey. The consideration stage is the middle of the funnel and also known as the evaluation stage.
While the top of the funnel is used to educate the potential buyer, the middle of the funnel is used to nurture and build trust. This is where people are doing heavier research on whether or not your service is a good option for them.
This is the stage to provide content that shows why your service is worth purchasing. Using our example, the CRM provider would now begin talking about how much the buyer would save in lost productivity time and excess wages.
Keywords and phrases to focus on would be words that are relevant to your services and/or products such as, “How Customer Service Automation and CRM’s can save you time and money”
The Decision Stage
The “decision” stage, also known as the “purchase” stage, is at the bottom of the funnel. At this point, people have narrowed down their options to make a decision. At this final stage of the buyer’s journey, you will need terms that are specific to your brand and products.
Buyers in this stage are ready to make a purchase. Target keywords that will bring the buyer to your live demo page or free trial download page.
Keyword Research is essential to SEO
The main point of keyword research is to see which search terms are popular so that you can build your blog strategy and PPC campaigns around them. You want to select the right words, so take your time during this process. If you skip keyword research, you risk the chance of creating high-quality content on something that no one is searching for.