A brand’s best friend.
Researching words sounds laborious, right? Well, you’d be correct, it can take a VERY long time. But putting the laboriousness aside for a minute, let’s explore what keyword research actually is and how it can be a brand’s best friend.
What is keyword research?
In simple non-SEO-geek speak, keyword research is the practice of researching relevant words, phrases and terms that your audience may use to find things that are relevant to your brand, product or service. It is essentially a way of matching your users to your brand.
This provides a real opportunity to then improve the content that you have on your website. By identifying gaps in the content of your site and creating content that fills these gaps, you can assist your user by being more helpful to them.
How can keyword research be done?
This usually involves taking thousands of words and phrases and grouping them into relevant categories and subcategories to find out how people search for things your brand does or sells. There are a few tools that are essential to this, but to understand how many people use each term, each month, you need an active Google Ads account to access Keyword Planner. Once you’re in, you can then either upload a massive list of words (if you already have data) or enter a few seed words that Google then brings back hundreds of related words and phrases for.
The skill in the task lies in identifying which sets of keywords sit in the centre of opportunity. You should ask yourself:
- Are the areas we want to cover relevant to the brand voice?
- Is there a significant opportunity in that area?
- Are we able to offer value around the topic area?
Identifying keyword gaps that fit into these three areas is where SEOs really excel, as they provide the best opportunity to improve organic performance. If we find those gaps, then we have the best chance of ranking for that area of content as we’d be:
- Super relevant to the brand
- Moving into a content space with real opportunity for real user
- Providing actual value on a subject area that is relevant to our audience needs
In order to hit these three points of criteria more often, it’s super important that the SEO strategy aligns with the overall brand strategy and experience. Knowing these two key pieces of information really allows us to spot the opportunities that hit the sweet spot on a regular basis.
How else can keyword research be used?
Keyword research doesn’t just stop at creating content for websites, oh no, at IMA-HOME we utilise this information across many different areas, such as:
User Journey Mapping
Instead of guessing what touch and pain points a user has in your industry, why not see for yourself? Search and keyword data can be used to prove or disprove hunches, theories or misconceptions about your users. We regularly overlay search keyword data over user journeys and moment mapping to allow us to make informed decisions from the data, not just our experience.
Ever thought what your shiny new brand already means to search results? I wouldn’t think to check either, but it’s always best to! Researching potential new brand terms in different markets can avoid awkward associations with existing terms, slang or even brands that are best to be avoided.
From brand positioning in a market to identifying your competitors’ marketing strategies, keyword research can give you a whole lot of insight! Understanding not only how people search in a niche, but also who ranks and with what content, can really build up a strong picture of the market opportunity and any threats to your brand.
Now I know I’m only scraping the surface of identifying keyword gaps and the topic of keyword research here, but hopefully I’ve been able to highlight how it’s not only useful to SEO strategies, but to the broader brand too.
Most agencies will carry out keyword research, tell you where the gaps are and recommend content that needs to be created based on the SEO opportunity and that’s great, we need to keep doing that. But we also need to stop for a second and really think about how that content relates to the brand, to the customer and to our position in the market.