SMX West recap: Using search science for keyword research

smx-west-3-1920x1080We all know how important the customer is to our business. In fact, they are the business, and the only way businesses can be successful is to ensure they give customers and potential customers what they want.

In Wednesday’s SMX West session, “Understanding Your Consumer’s Journey – Using Search Science for Keyword Research,” DreamFire Digital Marketing founder Tony Verre explained how we marketers can ensure we’re targeting customers along their buying journey using the right keyword strategy and the right tools. Following is a recap of Verre’s talk.


Tony Verre, founder of DreamFire Digital Marketing

Google Trends

Google Trends has been around for some time, but it really is an underused tool. Verre noted that Google Trends can be extremely helpful in showing you where a keyword or industry has been and where it’s going. This is especially important as consumer search trends change and terminology changes.

If you are going to use Google Trends, be sure to look not only at specific terms but also the categories surrounding the term, as top-level trends can provide important insights.

In addition, be sure to look at the following:

  • Popular Topics: Take a look at the popular topics surrounding a category to understand how consumers are talking about the category.
  • Top Queries: Top queries can show you what other terms are popular within the category.
  • Geographic Data: See where consumers are searching these terms. This can help you see where buyers are and where you may need to focus.

Google Keyword Planner

When you think of keyword research, you likely think of Google Keyword Planner within AdWords. After all, it’s one of the few keyword tools out there uses real Google search volume data.

Verre gave a very important tip: When using Google Keyword Planner, concentrate on one product/service at a time.

One of the issues with Keyword Planner is that you only get 800 terms at a time, so if you are putting in multiple keywords and categories, you are going to miss out on potential terms.

Once you have gone through all your categories and top head terms, bucket them to see how consumers are searching. While you are going to end up with thousands and thousands of keywords, don’t get overwhelmed. The goal is to look for patterns and identify search trends.

Google and Amazon Predictive Search

Want to know what people are actually looking for? Start typing a query into Google and see what comes up (Note: Tools like UberSuggest and are great for gathering this data).

Verre says that suggested search is “the doorway to understanding what unbranded terms trigger purchases.” With people spending so much time doing online research before making a purchase, research and discovery terms are now the terms that portend a purchase.

Interestingly enough (Pro tip!), he also showed how using Amazon suggested searches can help you get an even better picture of product and brand searches.

Amazon Suggested Search

Using the data to create a long-term digital strategy

Often, people spend lots of time doing the keyword research, then choose a couple of targets and go on their way.

According to Verre, keyword research should play a role in your entire digital marketing strategy. As you’re thinking about site architecture, content, semantic targeting, paid search and more, go back and take a look at how people are searching throughout their journey.

By identifying their needs, you can ensure you have the information they need, where they need it.

As Verre noted… it’s science!

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