There are many keyword research guides that outline the best way to determine keywords for your website or choose keywords for a SEO campaign. Many of these guides tell you to use both free and paid keyword tools, whose primary output is search volume – aka they find popular keywords.
Where as search volume can be beneficial, if you only base your keyword choices on that metric alone, you’ll miss the keywords that may have less search volume, but have a much higher value towards conversion and lead generation for your website.
If you need help with keyword selection, below are new and improved strategies to find the best keywords to target during your SEO campaigns. Because these strategies put the user first and search volume second, they have a much higher chance of increasing conversions, sales, and leads.
Use LSI Tools
What is LSI? LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing, and LSI keywords are simply keywords that are semantically related to the primary keyword topic of your page or article and are usually classified as long tail keywords.
Adding LSI keywords into the body text of your content can increase your odds of being found for long tail searches and add keyword diversity to your piece of content.
How do you find LSI keywords, is there a tool? To find LSI keywords, simply enter your primary key phrase into a LSI tool such as LSI Keyword Generator, and it will generate a list for you.
Make sure you’re not just grabbing any words, the content still needs to be readable and grammatically correct.
Customer Service Call Logs
People call into your customer service team and call center to ask questions all the time – and a key to excellent customer service to providing valuable answers. These questions and answers are a gold mine for finding new blog post topics and content to add to your product or services pages.
You’re probably saying to yourself, “well I don’t want to interrupt our customer service calls to gather keywords, so how do I gather the data?”. It’s simple, there are two options:
- Sit in with your customer service team once a week and listen in on calls.
- Most companies record their customer service calls for quality purposes. Get ahold of these recordings and take an afternoon and listen to some of them.
Sales Team Brainstorming
Having monthly sales team brainstorming session to exchange vocabulary keyword data is not only a great keyword strategy and a great marketing strategy to increase sales, but will help build relationships between inbound and outbound sales.
Ask to be included in the business development and sales team meetings. Ask them to jot down a few keywords they hear when they are talking to prospects, and then have them to bring the keywords to the meeting.
Then, as an SEO team member, bring your own keywords to the meeting to let the sales team know about new marketing jargon or buzz words that the industry is searching for on Google. Your sales team may be able to work these words into their conversations to increase their close rate.
Customer Emails and Sales Inquiries
User have real problems and need real solutions. So, the ultimate goal of SEO is to have your site show up when people type real search queries into Google – not necessarily the keywords you use (aka, your marketing jargon).
Going after competitive 2-3 word phrases is great, but if you really want to help your users and become a true resource and problem solver, creating content around real questions people are asking is the best way to do it.
One of the best places to find these natural keyphrases is within the sales inquiries your website receives from it’s contact forms. Sales inquiries are particularly useful because they come directly from your prospective customer base and identify their real problems.
Forums, Reviews, and Blog Comments
Industry forums, product reviews, and blog comments all make fantastic sources for mining keywords for your SEO campaigns, as they will represent real world vocabulary usage.
- Industry forums are a great place to find out exactly how people in the industry refer to various products and services you offer.
- Blog comments are a great source for keywords if you’re a B2C business targeting individual end users.
- Customer reviews usually contain a significant depth of phrasing utilizing real world vocabulary.
Your users will most likely have a less sophisticated and more real world vocabulary of industry terms, so understanding the phrasing they use can result in some big SEO wins.
Just Ask Your Users
Just ask your users when you see them, and then listen to what they have to say.
If you own a small business or a brick and mortar store, you engage with your customers on a daily basis. They come into the store and either ask for a specific item, or most times they don’t know what they are searching for, but they have a problem they need a product or service to solve.
Once they leave, jot down some of the words they used during their visit and integrate them into your product pages or blog posts.
Listen To Usability Testing
Google’s primary goal is to provide a list of websites in their search results that provide a great experience, provide user value, and include the best answer to a search query – these are similar goals that your UX team will have when building a website.
The challenge is most user data is gathered by the user experience team during user testing, and does not get shared with the SEO team.
So, if you’re redesigning your website and are going to be doing usability testing (I hope you are), sit in on these meetings with your UX team, and listen to how users talk about the new website design – there could be some great insights for keyword targets.
This is a great place to start when identifying keywords for new blog posts or identifying what content the competitors utilize on their product or service pages that may be beneficial to add to your website.
The one thing I would warn about when using your competitive set to find keywords, is that you don’t know if the keywords are converting – so use this tactic as a guide, and not an end all be all keyword identification strategy.
How to do a quick competitive analysis for keyword topics
- Use a tool like SEMrush
- Search for a keyword within the tool
- Scroll to the bottom of the results page within the tool, there will list the top 20 sites ranking for that keyword
- Look through that list to find blog post articles that Google is ranking
- Use these articles as a guide for creating new content.
The key to outranking these other blog posts or product pages, is that the new content you create needs to goes above and beyond what these other websites talk about and add more user value.
Mine Your PPC Campaign Data
This is a no brainer strategy when trying identify keywords that convert.
PPC and SEO have aways had a love hate relationship. PPC claims benefits such as conversion value and ranking quickly – yet you’re basically renting space. SEO claims benefits such as traffic generation and click through percentage – yet it takes time to earn rankings.
Where as, these two marketing strategies have always fought for budget, sharing data between them can amplify the effectiveness of both:
- PPC can be used to amplify your SEO efforts when searching for high-value keywords
- SEO can free up budget by ranking for keywords you are currently purchasing – thus allowing you to expand your paid search reach.
Get together with your PPC team weekly to talk through which keywords are driving conversions, then utilize this data to create amazing content that ranks organically.
Non-Industry Networking Events
How are people describing your services when they ask you questions? Networking events can be a great place to get face-to-face time with users who may not be in your industry, and thus may not know all the marketing jargon that you use.
For example, a business may not know about SEO, but just has the goal of increasing traffic from Google. Thus, they won’t search for “SEO” within Google, they will simply search for their challenge, “I need more website traffic from Google”.
Remember you’ll need talk less and listen more to get keyword suggestions for your SEO campaign.