Jill Kurtz, Owner, Kurtz Digital Strategy
Keywords are important because they help your target audience or customer to find you online. These are the words and phrases that people use to bring their questions, pain points, or interests online in hopes of finding the right resource.
Three Ways to Find the Right Keywords
Before you start, you need a deep understanding of your target audience. It’s never “everyone” or “all men.” Your target has more characteristics than that. Define them, list them. Understand your customer so well that you can start to visualize what they are doing at this very moment!
Now that you know your target audience, you can research how they look for you. Here are three ways to do that research.
Use Your People
Listen to what your target audience is talking about, online and offline. What questions are they asking? What are ‘hot topics’ or trends that have their attention? What words and phrases are they using?
You can gain this intel from face-to-face meetings, phone calls, and social media conversations. Often you can glean what you need just from listening and reading. Sometimes it helps if you ask a specific question.
You want to use the words and terms they use, ask questions in the way they ask them, etc. Often, the keywords a business thinks they should rank for or talk about are not the terms their customers actually use.
Google offers many free tools to help you identify keywords.
Google Trends: Gives you a to-the-minute inside look at Google’s databases of searches. You can look at Google searches by regions, categories, languages, and set the time and search properties (image, etc.). You can look at a single keyword, or compare multiple terms. You can determine keywords in your industry or category.
Google Autocomplete: When you start to type in the search field at Google.com, the site offers suggested finishes. Autocomplete predictions are populated reflect actual searches. Therefore, they are possible keywords.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner: You need a Google account to use this tool. Enter a keyword and Google will populate search volume (how often it is used) and the competition for that word (how many people or businesses want to rank for that word).
Most social media channels have search and other tools that give you insights into conversations and posts, which provides excellent keyword intel. Pay attention to the channels you know that your target audience uses.