Discover how many people are using a search term in your country or city with a search term analysis. Good keyword research is critical! Find out more.
This is part 1 of a 2-part series on search marketing & SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
This Is What Everyone Wants To Know From Us
I trust that you are doing well today!
I’m so excited to share some search marketing concepts with you.
What Everyone Wants To Know?
I feel that this is what everyone wants to know, since almost EVERY time, when a client gets a new site the first thing they ask is should they do SEO or find someone who can do SEO for them.
By now I’ve hopefully shown you that everything has it’s place and time, and there is a strategic order to online marketing.
Well now is the time! I’m going to cover a high level approach to SEO and some of the aspects leading up to this.
As always, I write these articles to target an executive decision maker who wants to have a top level understanding. There are hundreds of technical guides covering the nuts and bolts of search marketing, but most of these are outdated and simply wrong.
You’re welcome to go and read them but you’ll mainly find contradictory and outdated information. I’m not out to prove or disprove any of it, as that just wastes everyone’s time.
It’s very technical stuff, and it’s always changing, so almost as soon as it’s put into a guide, it’s often outdated.
As I said, I’m focusing on a bird’s eye view so that you can understand what’s important and what’s not. I also want to ensure you get the evergreen fundamentals correct that will last a long time.
Do NOT miss this! It looks like an old rotten tree trunk but you won’t believe it untill you see it!
Right now, I’d like you to take a couple of minutes and have a look at our
So that you have some idea what I’ll be covering.
Do You Know The MOST CRITICAL Component Of Online Success?
It all begins with words typed into a search box.
What Is Search Term Or Keyword?
A keyword is essentially any word or phrase you use when searching with a search engine. The search engine does its best to match your words with the correct websites.
The mathematics involved are complicated (it’s also kept secret and worth billions of dollars), but the first link you see in the search results should be the best match for your keyword, followed by the second best, and so on and so forth.
What Is a Search Term Analysis?
Search term analysis is the process of understanding
- WHAT keywords people in your market are typing into the search bar and
- the results they are LIKELY EXPECTING.
A search term analysis at its essence market research. It tells you what people are interested in, and in what relative numbers.
Better yet, a search term analysis reveals the actual language people are using when they think about those topics, which provides you with insight on how to converse with them via your website.
Why Do a Search Term Analysis?
When you correctly identify the best keywords for your business, and study the competition you’ll face while trying to rank your website for these terms, you can formulate an intelligent keyword and content development strategy that will accomplish your website goals.
Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the online marketing field.
This Is So Important
That’s so important that I want you to read it again.
Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high return activities in the online marketing field.
Ranking for the “right” keywords can give your site a massive boost.
Through the detective work of puzzling out your market’s keyword demand, you not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole.
It’s not always about getting visitors to your site, but about getting the right kind of visitors.
Let’s Look At An Example
If you’re a hotel in Frankfurt, Germany, you might need to decide on what keywords to target.
Are these good terms ‘Hotel Germany’? ‘Hotel Berlin’?
If a user types in ‘hotel Germany’, what is the user expecting?
- Are they looking to book a room in Germany?
- Do they want a directory of all hotels in Germany?
- Do they want detailed statistics about the tourism industry in Germany?
- Or are they an architect looking for design ideas from German hotels?
A search engine has no way to tell – unless the user tells it their intent, by getting even more descriptive with their keywords.
How Your Thinking May Be Wrong?
So while you might think that ‘Hotel Germany’ is a great keyword to use for your marketing strategy, you might find that 75% of people using this phrase are not interested in your service, since they want a directory, statistics, or design ideas by the phrase ‘Hotel Germany’.
Whereas the phrase ‘book affordable hotel Berlin’ is much more precise. If you’re a hotel in Berlin this is FAR more valuable as these visitors are much further down the buying process and more likely to convert.
What about the phrase ‘business hotel Berlin’? Maybe you find that this phrase has a MASSIVE demand and is even better than ‘book affordable hotel Berlin.’
Thus, it will make much MORE SENSE to target these visitors as they will CONVERT MUCH BETTER, than those just typing in ‘Hotel Germany’.
Extra Benefits Outside Of Online Marketing
Using our example, let’s say they discover that the BIGGEST & MOST PROFITABLE demand comes from the phrase ‘business hotel Berlin’ they might go so far as to re-brand themselves into this niche.
Without a search term analysis they would never have found out that the best and most profitable customers use this phrase.
The usefulness of this intelligence cannot be overstated – with keyword research you can predict shifts in demand, respond to changing market conditions, and produce the products, services, and content that web searchers are already actively seeking.
In the history of marketing, there has never been such a low barrier to entry in understanding the motivations of consumers in virtually every niche.
Proper keyword research offers amazing insights into your industry as is CRITICAL to your online success.
Smart People Make Stupid Mistakes. Please Avoid This One.
I want to focus a little more on search term analysis today.
What Do People Give Me
I’ve met people who’ve been in their industry for 20 years and are industry leaders. I’ve asked them what phrases are people in THEIR industry using when they are looking for a particular service.
Normally I get a list of 10 or 20 phrases.
So I ask them which 5 phrases they want to target first?
What Happens When I Ask Them Why?
They give some well thought out reason that seems to be correct, BUT before we spend a fortune on targeting these phrases they suggest, I think we need a little more empirical data.
I ask them roughly how many people are searching for each phrase each month?
They have no idea.
It’s guesswork. They are happy to spend a fortune to rank for a particular phrase based on an ‘educated guess’.
Does this seem like a wise thing to do?
What’s The Solution?
We did a search term analysis for the 10 or 20 phrases they provided and were quickly able to see how many per month where using those phrases.
Most of them had little if not any search volume. People were using other variations of those phrases that they hadn’t even suggested to us! Once we showed them the phrases it was obvious, but they were not the phrases initially expected!
What’s The Consequence?
Imagine we’d spent months optimizing their website for the phrases THEY GAVE US and then at the end of the year ranking nicely for those phrases, but they wonder why it’s not working?
Obviously it won’t work since NOBODY was using those phrases!
We just saved that client a FORTUNE and gave them some great insight into their industry.
What About Offline?
So that got me thinking about other aspects of their marketing strategy.
We know that ONLINE mirrors OFFLINE demand so how were they deciding on what OFFLINE areas to focus on?
Some of our research found some fascinating terms that people in their industry were using and they could then target these people OFFLINE as well as ONLINE!
Interesting isn’t it?
2 MAJOR Benefits Of Smart Data
(How To Uncover Promising New Markets In Your Industry)
In every industry there are many niches.
As per my previous example, I can’t tell you how many people who understand their industry don’t know what all users are looking for in that niche!
Why People Don’t Know What Their Users Want
If you think about it, the longer you are in an industry the more specialised your become.
Someone who’s been in an industry 20 years is probably more specialised than someone with 2 years experience.
After 20 years, you have all the knowledge, expertise and the acronyms to quickly describe concepts. Your industry vocabulary is bigger than a newcomers or an end users or customers.
As a silly example, while an American tour operator will assume everyone would use ‘NY’ to mean ‘New York’ they might find that a Chinese first time visitor to America would have no idea what ‘NY’ is and so there is a divide. It would be far better to target ‘New York’ than ‘NY’.
This causes a divide in the terms they use to find what they’re looking for.
People are also different. We use different phrases when searching for something, and no matter how much expertise you have, without empirical data about the search volumes, you’d be guessing.
What’s Great About a Search Term Analysis?
It offers a great overview of an industry. It REALLY shows you current trends and demands.
We’ve found one of the great benefits of search term analysis is that it
Identifies what consumers are ACTUALLY looking for, not what you THINK they’re looking for.
Thus, it’s not only critical when planning to build and grow your existing business, it can even help unearth potentially profitable new niches and market opportunities that you’ve overlooked, or even never considered before.
Two Major Benefits Of Search Term Analysis
- Understand what ONLINE terms to target.
- Understand profitable niches you never knew existed in your industry.
As I’ve said many times before, you’ve got to get some cold hard facts to look at and stop guessing.
Let’s look at a personal example.
How I Lost a Lot Of Money Which Could Have Been Avoided
Let me tell you about when I first started out online.
I had this fantastic idea. I asked various advisers and they agreed that it was good. The business plan was sound.
What I Did With a Great Idea
So we spent a year building the system and the product, and it was AWESOME.
We know that there was demand in the industry for our service since people were spending a fortune for a lesser product/service.
We then spent a fortune on optimising the website for search terms that were exactly what we thought people were searching for.
So after much work, and much cost we ranked NUMBER 1 for the handful of phrases and terms that we had targetted.
Guess What Happened?
Nothing. We had a handful of sales each month, and I mean one or two for small value items.
What a gigantic waste of time!
We’d done market research, we’d asked people in the industry. We’d carefully put together a business plan. Yet it failed.
What’s The ONE Reason Why It Failed?
We failed to do our search term analysis.
Later we discovered that at a maximum of 10 people were searching for each phrase per month and there was ZERO demand for our service using those search terms. They where looking for our product with a completely different approach!
We were lucky to make the few minor sales we did.
It Could All Have Been Avoided
If we’d done a proper search term analysis.
You’re probably wondering why we didn’t do it, but when we launched this business the tools to do a search term analysis were not available. So while it still frustrates me, I do realise the tools weren’t available then.
What’s Your Reason For Not Doing a Search Term Analysis?
Remember that it should be done regularly to stay up to date!
The Critical Aspect To Online Success
Over the last while we’ve been looking at THE MOST CRITICAL ASPECT to online success.
SEARCH TERM ANALYSIS.
Without it, you run the risk of chasing your tail for months with no success.
Here’s a brief recap.
What Is Search Term Analysis?
Search term analysis is the process of understanding WHAT keywords people in your market are typing into the search bar and the results they are LIKELY EXPECTING.
Why Do Search Term Analysis?
Firstly, when you correctly identify the best search terms you can formulate an intelligent strategy that will accomplish your website goals. Without this it’s guesswork. You could literally spend a fortune optimising a website for terms that nobody is using.
Secondly, since it identifies what consumers are ACTUALLY looking for, not what you THINK they’re looking for.
Thirdly, it can even help unearth potentially profitable new niches and market opportunities that you’ve overlooked, or even never considered before.
Fourthly, ONLINE mimicks OFFLINE demand and since search term analysis offers empirical data about your industry you can use this market insight to guide your OFFLINE marketing budget as well.
What Does It Prevent?
It prevents you guessing where you ‘FEEL’ you should be spending your time and resources.
Do Things Change Over Time?
Absolutely. Each niche progresses and has changes all the time. Niches evolve and so do the search term your users use. It doesn’t matter what niche you are in, you should be doing a yearly search term analysis to check that you’re still in line with the search term your customers are using. The cost of NOT DOING this is chasing your tail. You could be targetting ‘old terms’ that users used years ago and you’d miss the boat.
Is It Critical?
Absolutely. Without it, at best you’re doing some educated guesswork, at worst, you’re throwing darts blindfolded.
I’ve yet to find someone who’s EDUCATED GUESS matches the EMPIRICAL data. It might be close, but cold hard facts win every time.
How Do You Do a Search Term Analysis?
You don’t. It’s a very tricky process using a multitude of complex tools and then organising this data into a format that offers useful information. There’s a lot of online resources on how to do it, but you’ll have to sift through very contradictory techniques, maybe purchase some expensive tools, and then spend many hours understanding them.
The other option is to let us handle it for you. It’s a complex process that takes a little time, but we’ve been refining it for years, and as a result can offer it at a rate that most small businesses can afford.
Your Next Step
Find out what people in your niche are looking for, what phrases they use, and a rough idea of the search traffic. Sound good? Then view our,
Be Knowledgeable, It Pays Off. 5 Terms You Should Understand
This app will basically identify the most profitable search terms so that you can strategically focus your time on optimising those terms.
There are a few key terms that I need you to know about so you can understand the differences in the packages.
- Global Search Volume – the number of people internationally using that particular search term.
- Local Search Volume – the number of people in your target country using that particular search term.
- AdWords CPC – the cost for each click for a particular search term.
- # Of Results In Google – how many results does Google return for each search term.
- SEO Ranking Difficulty – how competitive and hard it is to rank for a particular term.
Read our next article in the search marketing series: