Keywords are like a crystal ball, no, scratch that, a crystal ball tells you what’s going on in the future. Keywords are more like an X-Ray machine, telling you EXACTLY what’s going on, right now. If keywords had been around when David Ogilvie was alive, he would have flipped his lid at what you can find out about people, and more importantly, how you can sell your products to them more effectively with that knowledge in mind.
So, quick definition.
What are keywords?
The exact words you type into Google, when you’re looking for something.
It’s as simple as that, and while the back end of how it all works is incredibly complex, and changing all the time, the underlying concept remains steady, and simple.
Google tries to match what you’re looking for, with what you’re looking for.
How do keywords work?
If you’re looking for information on the ‘planets in our solar system’, for example, Google will find all the websites that actually include the words ‘planets in our solar system’.
Now some of those websites are going to be a better source of truth than others. NASA, or National Geographic might be more useful than bobsflatearthers.com, for example, and Google has a way determining each site’s ‘relevance’, to your particular search.
Finally, Google will now present all those websites to you with the most relevant up the top, and bat sh*@ crazy down the bottom of thew list. Sorry Bob. Google wants you to find the good stuff. That way you love them more!
You want your business to be at the top of that list, basically, and an $80 Billion industry has been built around that that one single goal. The most important thing to know is that keywords are the starting point and the centre of it all.
Because they can make a huge difference to your business.
So how do keywords work to make your marketing better?
Because you can now find out, beyond all reasonable doubt, what your potential customers actually want! By analysing what they type into Google when they’re looking for products or services, and you can tailor your message accordingly.
For example, we were working on a website the other day for a business that offers Spirometry Screening, which is where your lungs are tested to see if you’re suffering from any number of diseases.
The business targets corporates, none of whom probably know what Spirometry Screening is. A little research confirmed there are only 50 searches for that term every month in Australia. But when we examined the ‘Lung function test’ instead, there were 1600 searches every month!
As you can imagine, we’re going to adjust the website accordingly, and we’re going to get more traffic – without a shadow of a doubt. And we’ll adjust the language right through all our promotional activity.
Are you using any language in your business that your target customers don’t relate to? Do you know that for sure?
When you start looking into this it can be very revealing, and when you delve a little deeper you might discover hidden niches you never knew existed. This can open up new target markets, even prompt you to develop products you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. Far-reaching stuff.
Here’s a case study, to put it into perspective.
We advised a recruitment agency looking to reposition. After a bit of soul searching, they realised they’d actually been helping people change the direction of their careers more than anything else.
So the marketing strategy for the coming year is to re-orientate the business around that particular niche. Fine, now, what next?
We start by looking at the business name and brand, to see if they support our new strategic lens of targeting career-change candidates. Tick, all good. Now the website? Not so much, it’s all about headhunting. We know we need to address that to attract our revised target.
Next step, keyword research, and we experimented with all the different ways you could possibly say ‘I want to change my career’. In the end, perhaps unsurprisingly, ‘career change’ was top of the list, with 2,400 Australians typing that into Google, every single month.
Drilling down further, however, we found ‘career change at 40’ had 480 searches every month, and there were also fewer websites competing for the term.
So what did we do with this information?
Well, first of all, it triggered a revelation with the business owners, as they suddenly acknowledged – yes, indeed, those are exactly the sort of candidates we deal with more than any other kind.
So the data brought on a realisation, which made us focus more specifically on that even tighter niche. The site map was built around this persona, with a page called ‘career change at 40’, of course, and we adjusted the content and tone of voice, to talk to them specifically.
But that was just the start. The flow on effect was even bigger.
Of course, recruitment agencies also target employers, and from experience, they knew there was often resistance to career changers. Armed with the knowledge of the ‘slightly more mature’ candidates, however, we embarked on a research project that revealed the enormous benefits of employing intelligent, and talented people with plenty of broad experience. Really useful data for employers. Nice content opportunity!
All of this served to change the way they spoke to employers, as they could legitimately talk to the benefit of a career-change candidate with a ‘few more miles on the clock’.
And all of this from a little bit of keyword research, right at the beginning of the process.
So if you ever wondered what keywords actually are, how they work or how important they are – now you know.
They’re not just ‘something for the website’ or part of the mysteries of SEO. Think of keywords as highly accurate market research on your potential, future customers. And the information they can give you, well, like any information, the value isn’t in the data itself. It’s how you interpret it, and most importantly, how you make your marketing better thereafter!
As always, we’re happy to help you with any of this if you want and tell you about the tools we use for keyword research.
Just click here and drop us a message.
PS. Even this blog was built around keywords. The exact term ‘how do keywords work’ is typed into Google 70 times every month in Australia. So we put it in our headline, in our subheadings, in the URL, and we dropped it into the copy as much as possible, without making it too overbearing (six times… was it too much..?)
And if we got it all right, then over time you’ll be able to google ‘how do keywords work’, and hopefully we’ll be right there up the top, not down the bottom with Bob. Sorry Bob.