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Keyword Research: How to Use it for Your Content Marketing

Anna Francis

When you hear the words “keyword research” your brain automatically thinks about SEO and link building. After all, keyword research is only used for identifying relevant keywords that will drive traffic to your website, right? Wrong.

Historically, this is exactly why keyword research was developed. But it can now be used for so much more than that. In an ever-developing world of content marketing, keyword research can come in very useful. So how exactly can you utilize it in your next content marketing campaign? Here’s how. 

What is keyword research?

The process of keyword research involves identifying exactly which words and phrases consumers will be using when they are looking for your product or service on one of the search engines.

There are many different tools from which you can carry out keyword research, like SEMrush, of course. These tools provide you with a range of data around your keywords, including the number of searches for the term, the local search volume around the term and how much competition the term has.

By carrying out keyword research, you can easily identify which keywords you need to optimize on your site, and use them to develop your content marketing campaign.

[caption id="attachment_9401" "aligncenter" width="606"]semrush-overview Use SEMrush to identify which key phrases your own site/competitors are ranked for to determine what type of content your visitors want[/caption]


Understand consumer terminology

When you conduct keyword research for use in content marketing, the first thing you need to do is understand what it is that your consumers are looking for. You need to understand the exact terminology your consumers use – it’s all about taking a step back and looking at how the consumer sees your company in contrast to your own view, and the steps they take to find your products or services.

As you work at your company, you may know exactly how the brand name is pronounced and spelled, but are you sure your consumers know? Is your brand name the first thing that comes to mind when consumers think of your product or service, or is there actually a more popular term associated with it? Think outside the box and step into their shoes.

Discover consumer desires

Keyword research gives you a fantastic insight into what it is that your consumers desire, and this is a great starting point to build on in terms of creating calls to action and further informative elements. But how can you do more with it?

If you have two similar products, but one of the products has a much higher search volume, it is important that you don’t just look past that when it comes to creating your content marketing strategy. To develop high-quality content that results in high levels of traffic and engagement, you need to focus on what exactly it is that your consumers want to know about.

Give your consumers information and guidance that is relevant to their search terms, and hand them the things they are looking for on a plate. This will help to build up brand trust and create a good relationship with them.

Answer any questions you can

Keyword research is fantastic for uncovering the questions your target audience is asking. Once you know what your consumers need help with, you can step in and offer them the answers they need. Using this information will help you create heaps of onsite and offsite content that will give you a higher level of social engagement.

It is important to set yourself as an authoritative author and thought-leader within your industry. By answering questions and demonstrating your expertise, you will gain a loyal audience while achieving rankings on more tricky and competitive keywords.

[caption id="attachment_9403" "aligncenter" width="606"]Finding out what search terms users type to find your site is very useful to create more relevant and useful content Finding out what search terms users type to find your site is very useful to create more relevant and useful content[/caption]

The people who are asking these questions may not necessarily be your current consumers; they might not become consumers tomorrow or the next day, either. But by answering their questions and helping them out, if they ever do need your product or service, they are likely to come straight back to you as a business they already know and can trust.

Check out your competition

Once you have picked the keywords and key phrases you want to plan your content marketing strategy around, there is absolutely no harm in finding out exactly which of your competitors are currently ranking for the terms.

Make a note of the top three ranking sites for each keyword and check out their content strategy to see what is working for them. It’s a great motivator to see what competitors are doing that are working well for them – make sure that your content marketing strategy is bigger and better than theirs. Conducting a SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis from your competitors’ campaigns to improve your own content marketing campaign is vital.

Get going!

After Google Hummingbird was released, marketers were told to concentrate less on using keywords, as the update focused on the fact people communicated using phrases and conversation, not keywords.

Yet, keyword research is still essential in the world of search marketing. And as you can see above, it can be very useful when forming a content marketing strategy. It can be used outside the realms of straightforward SEO and link building, and really help your brand to demonstrate thought leadership and expertise, while building up an audience of loyal consumers ready to share and engage with your content.

Author bio:

Anna Francis is the Content Manager at My Social Agency. She has worked in the digital industry for three years as a copywriter and social media specialist. She loves writing and developing creative content and tweeting the day away.

Anna Francis

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