We are in business because we feel we are solving a customer’s pain point and the customer will be willing to pay us for our solution and the payment will be enough such that we will make a profit after we deduct the cost of providing the solution. We develop a website with the intention of being discovered by potential customers. Search Engine Optimization forms a key component of this discovery. But, one of the biggest challenges I have seen with a lot of companies is, they are not identifying the right terms that their potential customers are looking for. And as a result, even though they may be having the best product/service out there, they remain undiscovered. And this is detrimental to any business. After all, why do you want to be hidden away when your prospects are looking out for you? Therefore, understanding search patterns and the intent behind searches becomes very important in this process. Below, I have listed down 6 steps a business can use to identify keywords which your customers are looking for:
- Brainstorm with your team
This is the first step of the customer intent discovery process. Brainstorm with your team members about what would be the potential problems you are solving. Write them down. Discuss with your peers, friends, family, whoever you think will be relevant.
- Ask an Industry Expert
Often times, discussing with an industry expert helps understand the nuances of an industry. The industry expert can be a mentor or a practitioner or a professional who has been active in the niche you are in. He/She will help you figure the typical pain points of your prospects
- Follow Discussions on Platforms
This is a great way to follow your customers directly where they are. If they are on Facebook, follow them on Facebook; if they are on Quora, follow them on Quora; if they are on LinkedIn, follow them on LinkedIn, and so on. Follow what they are discussing about, what are their challenges, what are their concerns and address them. Their challenges can in fact form a part of your next blog topic. As a marketer, this is your holy grail. Know where your customers are!
- Use Google Keyword Planner
Google gives you a wonderful FREE tool to find keywords and their monthly search volumes for a target location. You can use this tool to find out all possible keyword combinations. The beauty of this tool is, you can find terms which you have missed out in your brainstorming phase. Google keyword planner gives a great insight into how your customers are searching on Google for products/service that you are offering. If you optimize your site keeping these keywords in mind, you will increase your chances of being discovered manifold.
- Use Google Auto Suggest and Google Related Searches
This is a goldmine which a lot of businesses fail to capitalize on. Google auto suggest (those 4 automated searches that appear as soon as you start typing something in the Google search box). These Google auto-suggests are search terms which users have been typing in the search box (according to Google). You can find lot of long tail keywords from these auto-suggests. For example, if you are in the business of selling sports shoes, one of the long tail keywords from auto suggest is “best shoes for running on treadmill india”. This can become a page in your e-commerce site. Another place to hunt for keywords is the Google Related Searches you will find at the bottom of the Google search result page. They usually give about 8-12 search terms which are related to the search term which you typed in Google search box.
- Spy on your Competitors
Sneaking on your competition is an age old technique to find customer demand. Same holds true if you are looking for keywords which your customers are searching for. Sneak on your competition and find out the keywords which they have optimized for. This will help you find a bigger subset of keywords to target. Tools such as Spyfu, SEMRush etc., help you find keywords for which your competitors have optimized.
Finding the search terms which your prospects are using is very important for your business. An understanding of their challenges, following them on social channels and analyzing tools will help you create a list of various challenges that they are facing. Now go ahead and solve those challenges.