We can't know what people are actually Googling until we've researched it.
Or what people expect to get from search results.
But a thorough keyword analysis is your key to delivering the right content to the right people at the right time.
It's the key to being found when your potential customers are looking for you and want your help. And the key to you delivering it.
Alright, so how do you do that?
... That's the million dollar question.
Like everything else in life, you need to figure out where your focus should be. What is the most important thing for you to become more visible on?
Most often, the most obvious questions to find out are: "What do you earn the most from?" and "what do you want to sell more of?".
Once you've figured that out, you can start the keyword analysis. Now you have your "target".
You know that this is the area of your business where you want to focus on getting more sales conversions.
You can't do targeted marketing if you don't know who you're talking to.
For this reason, you should of course research who your potential customers really are.
The good news is - there are plenty of ways to get a better insight into your target audience.
Among other things, you can:
Dive into data from your website and social media
In Google Analytics, you can gain much greater insight into what content your visitors are interacting with on your site and which pages are driving the most traffic.
If you run Facebook ads, you can also use Facebook Insights to find out what content your audience is responding to - and your audience demographics.
Talk to your current and potential customers
To really understand your target audience in depth - you can interview both your sales department and your existing customers.
You can also resort to questionnaires - and reach more people in less time.
The most important thing is to try to understand what your customers' challenges, needs, and questions are - how they interact with your business - and what content they respond positively to.
To visualise your potential customers' needs, challenges and questions even better, you can create personas.
Hubspot is brilliant for that - so take my recommendation and geek out with this.
You now have a clear picture of which business areas are important to you and who your target audience is. Now you can start your keyword analysis in earnest.
Before you get impatient, however, remember that keyword analysis is not a linear process.
You find a lot of keywords, analyse their potential, replace some, prioritise and find new ones.
But you need to start your detective work somewhere - and you can do that by making a long list of potential keywords.
As a start, you can log into Google Keyword Planner and let Google "brainstorm". It's very simple.
You just plot a few words related to your business and you get a long list of keyword ideas, its average number of monthly searches and the competition.
Download the list of suggestions - and now turn your attention to your competitors ↓
It's always a good idea to look over your competitors' shoulders for inspiration. In Ahrefs you can check out what your main competitors are being found on that you are not.
These aren't necessarily keywords that make sense for your business - but they're a great way to learn what people are actually Googling - and uncover any gaps in your own online presence.
Use Ahrefs' "content gap" feature, by typing the domains of three competitors and your own ↓
Drop the words you think have potential into your keyword list, and now build on your list by...
All optimisation work must of course be based on the current status. Therefore, you need to check what your website is currently ranking at. Look at both what it ranks well on - and what it ranks embarrassingly badly on.
For example, you can use site explorer in Ahrefs or Google Search Console.
With insight into what it ranks well on, you can dive into the data in Google Analytics and see if those good rankings are actually translating into great visitor numbers and valuable conversions.
If they do, then you know it's keywords like these that are important to you - and you can start the hunt for related keywords.
You can also add the keywords you rank poorly for to your list of potential keywords, and then check for potential.
How, you ask? - Keep reading, I promise I'll get to it ↓
ALSO READ:: 15 concrete tips for writing a good landing page
So far so good. You now have a long list of keywords, which most likely contain both good and bad. But the list can get better and more targeted.
It's time to zoom in on what questions and challenges your personas may have throughout their buying process, also known as the customer journey.
Why is that a good idea, you ask?
Because most people don't just wake up one morning and think "I need to buy a ventilation system" and then google "buy ventilation system", without having noticed a problem in their everyday life before this urge to buy and not knowing the solution.
The customer journey is the key to understanding the thought processes your target audience goes through, from just starting to feel their pain point and not knowing the solution yet, to knowing what they want to buy, where and why.
At each stage of the customer journey, the seeker has different intentions and needs.
The words they plot in Google are therefore also different.
And if you want to optimise your website so that you're not just found when your potential customers need you and your knowledge - but you're also converting your visitors - then you need to deliver content that's built around the stages of the customer journey.
In short: A keyword analysis based on your target audience's customer journey is the way to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time.
Are you a little too busy? Get a free SEO-analysis from me or a colleague.
Typically, one's decision-making process starts at the "awareness stage".
Here, the Googler discovers that he has a challenge or a problem - but he is unsure of the scope and meaning of the problem - and does not know the solution to it.
The searches the Googler makes here are called informational keywords. He is looking for information - has only just started researching - and is therefore far from ready to buy anything.
But even if he's not close to pulling out the card, it's still a hugely important stage as a business to be found in.
This is where you as a company have the opportunity to plant a seed in your target audience's mind that you know a lot about the subject.
You're an expert. And you even help out and share your knowledge with landing pages, blog posts, infographics or videos.
Find keywords for the awareness stage by asking the questions:
What challenges does your company solve?
What is the best outcome of your business?
And what words does your target audience usually use about their problems and the desired outcome?
Let's say your business makes a living from speed optimising websites.
For example, searches made by your potential customers at the awareness stage could be:
In the next stage, the Googler is now aware of his challenge - and is aware that there are different solutions. It is especially now that the buyer puts on the solution-oriented glasses.
The Googler is actively exploring the terrain for a fix - and he now knows that there are companies that can speed-optimize the website for him.
Keywords at this stage will therefore be much more specific and informed.
To find keywords for the consideration stage, you can zoom in on the questions:
Examples of typical searches:
In the conversion stage, your potential customer will use transactional keywords. These are searches at the end of the buying process - and your potential customer is about to be very ready to buy your product or order your service.
Brainstorm keywords by zooming in:
Do you have any discounts or incentives?
What is the fastest way for a customer to basket your product, order your service or book an appointment with you?
Do your customers tend to have any specific practical questions just before they buy your product or service?
At the conversion stage, searches are often quite straightforward. You will see searches like:
Unfortunately, many forget the last stage. The Delight stage can be overlooked because your customer has now actually become a customer.
But don't you also want a happy customer who feels seen and heard?
This is exactly what your content and therefore your keywords should focus on at the final stage.
Think about what questions your customers often have after buying your product. Do you have any advice on how to get the best out of the product? Or avoid encountering problems?
Now, with your long list of keywords, you can usefully sort them all by customer journey stages.
Throw them into a Google Sheet. And then you'll have them ready to clean out when you get to the next (and last, don't worry) step in your analysis - analyzing the potential of each keyword ↓
Before deciding which keywords to go for, assess the potential of the words with three important questions:
Is the keyword really the right match for what you offer?
The most important thing to avoid is choosing keywords only based on the possibility of traffic.
It is equally important to choose keywords based on the possibility of converting the traffic that comes in. So that you get - relevant - traffic in.
So the question is - does the search match what you offer?
For example, when the searcher enters "plumbing", it is important for you as a plumber to find out whether the intention behind the search is to order a plumber to provide a service (such as having a blocked drain cleaned), or whether it is to find a webshop with plumbing items (such as a bath fitting or a new water pipe).
A good way to understand the intent of a keyword is to look at the page 1 results that are coming up right now for that keyword.
Do they match what you offer?
If they do, it's an indicator that the world's largest search engine has judged that the intent behind the search is to find what you offer = your chosen keyword has potential.
The next important question is - how many search for the word per month?
In my view, there is no number of monthly searches that is as such too low or too high to go for if you have infinite time in your calendar.
But most of us don't. So it pays to weigh up the monthly number of searches with what one converting customer on the chosen keyword is worth in dollars and cents.
The search query "What does renovation of bathroom cost" has (right now) 30 monthly searches in Denmark.
That's not many, by and large - but if 1 of those searches turns into a customer buying a renovation of their mansion of a bathroom - that one customer can quickly earn back all the SEO work for the keyword.
So don't be blind to search volume, but instead assess what it will give you to be number 1 for that keyword, given how much manpower it will take to get there.
... And then we come to the less fun (or really fun?) part. Of course, you have to look at the competition for the keyword.
Here's the question - how easy is it to dominate your keyword?
Search volume can often give you an overall idea. The more monthly searches, the more competition there often is.
But if you want a more specific answer - you can look at the Moz or Ahrefs difficulty score, which is based on your domain's link profile.
Remember, too, that you have to judge for yourself whether you can do as good a job SEO as those who are currently ranked highest - because that's who you have to beat.
As the cherry on top, you can look at the potential organic click through rate for the keyword - SEO guru Rand Fishkin has written a great article on this.
Okay, okay. Of course I understand.
But the work pays off! And like money - saving time costs time in the end. A half-baked analysis will only produce half-baked results.
You can let us give you a free SEO report - to help you along.
THANK YOU for reading!
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