But if you're not using their language, they'll never find you. Here's how you can use a free tool to uncover what they're searching for, jump on emerging trends, and generate more leads for your business.
Hair replacement or restoration?
A while ago I was doing some research for a hair restoration company. They often used the terms “hair replacement” and “hair restoration,” and I was curious to find out which phrase was more likely to attract their ideal customer.
I went over to Google Trends, a free tool that lets you review search volume over time. It also allows you to compare one term with another. I plugged in hair replacement and hair restoration and discovered that restoration slightly beat out replacement.
However, I also noticed that both terms seemed to be declining over time. (One thing to keep in mind with Google Trends is that the search volume tends to be relative, so you're not getting exact numbers.)
Looking at they keywords which I had generated, I decided to throw two more into the mix to see if either of these should perform better. I included “hair loss” and “Alopecia,” a condition in women that results in early hair loss. BOOM! The results were remarkable. As you can see here, people were much more concerned with hair loss than with restoration or replacement.
The Curse of Knowledge
Hindsight being 20/20, this isn't surprising. People are much more interested in their own problems than in your so-called solutions.
At the point when they begin their search, these people were curious to know (probably) how to stop their hair loss. They didn't care if there was a drug, a shampoo, a diet, or a topical ointment, they just knew they had a problem.
The “Curse of Knowledge” is a cognitive bias that “leads better-informed parties to find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed parties.”
We spend so much time in our own business or industry, we forget that our audience doesn't know what we know. By using a tool like Google Trends, we can discover what is driving most of our customers' searches.
Now, I'm not suggesting we forgo any posts on restoration or replacement. In fact, within each blog post on hair loss, I would include a mention of restoration and/or replacement, and I'd link them to the appropriate “sales” pages on my site.
I'd do the same for Alopecia.
I'd also write some blog posts about restoration and/or replacement specifically, as some people are further along the sales process, and have already been doing their homework for quite some time. In fact, one thing I learned is that many people start their research but don't make a buying decision for months or years after that.
If your business has a similar sales cycle, it's important to create posts that talk to people all along the funnel, including reasons why they should act sooner rather than later. (In the hair restoration industry, there's a built in reason: the longer you wait, the more hair you lose and some of your options disappear.)
Another cool feature of Google Trends is further down the page. For any of the search terms you can uncover related searches categorized as “top” or “emerging.”
The top related searches will show you what are the most popular related search terms currently. The emerging search terms will show you the terms that have suddenly shot up in search volume.
This is especially important for your blog.
Anecdotally, what I've discovered is that when I write a blog post that tends to be a little ahead of its time, it performs especially well for a long time. Other bloggers will link to it and often Google “rewards” a post for being first. (I have zero hard evidence on this…it's just been my experience.)
For example, in this case I see that “hair loss shampoo” is an emerging trend.
Now, hair loss shampoo may be completely ineffectual or a direct competitor of our products and services. That's not going to stop me from blogging about it.
I might create a blog post called, “Hair Loss Shampoo: Does it Really Work?” or “Best Prices for Hair Loss Shampoo,” or even “What Your Doctor Won't Tell You About Hair Loss Shampoo.”
In the post I might explain that shampoo isn't as effective as other forms of treatment, or the best price is hanging on to your money and spending it on a hair replacement system, or what your doctor won't tell you is that there's a non-prescription solution that he won't recommend because he can't get it covered.
Takeaway and next steps
For your next THREE blog posts, use Google Trends to test out a few keywords before using them. The five to ten minutes you invest could make you thousands of dollars in the next year alone. Wouldn't that be a good investment in your time?
Also, let us know what phrases you're planning to test, and which one took home the crown.