Keyword Research: Five Ways Your Prospects Search for You


Are your prospects searching for “understanding teenagers” or “European boarding schools?”

“Marriage counselor” or “divorce lawyer?” “TV stand” or “HDTV entertainment center?”

Your prospects may use a variety of phrases at the search engines when they're in need of your products and services. Search engines strive to return relevant results based on the copy found on your (and your competitors') Web sites. While other factors are at work, the more closely your copy matches your prospects' searches, the better you will rank.

Therefore, it's important to get inside the minds of your prospects and brainstorm a wide variety of keyphrases that could deliver more interested buyers to your Web site.

These five perspectives will help you get your creative juices flowing.

Your products and services. Some prospects may search by brand names or product/service category. (Think “Kenmore,” “washer/dryer,” or “home appliance.”) Include your company name, product names and any categories they fall into. If your services are geographically limited include your town, state, nearby population centers or regional nicknames. (Think “Hartford florist” or “Connecticut floral arranger.”)

Your prospects' problems or needs. Some people are fixated on their current situation, whether it's “employee turnover” or “rotting drywall.” Generate a list of hurdles your best clients faced before they met you.

The actual or perceived benefits. Whether it's “whiter teeth” or “greener grass” many people look for a desired outcome. They're not searching for the means, they're searching for the ends. If you included “stage fright” in the previous perspective, add “speaking with confidence” now.

Your features. Although good sales people sell benefits and not features, that doesn't mean people aren't searching for “water views” or “sweatshop-free clothing.”   People who search for specifics are often ready to make a purchase. Generate a list of all the features you have to offer whether it's “family-friendly,” “8.0 megapixel,” or “bi-lingual.”

Your competition. I'm not talking about the other psychologist down the hall, and I certainly wouldn't include any competitors' trademarked names. However, there may be several ways your prospects might solve their problems, only one of which is yours. Brainstorm a list of all the ways people may overcome their current situation without engaging you.

Personal trainers may lose business to “treadmills,” costume shops “thrift stores,” and dog trainers to “invisible fences.” Whether you plan on debunking or co-opting these phrases, you want to be there when your prospects search for alternatives.

As with any brainstorming exercise, there are no wrong answers. However, just because you think someone might be searching for “ninja detective agency” or “lemonade-based alternative fuel” doesn't mean they are. You'll need to test your list with a keyword research tool and re-write your Web site copy to include your most effective keyphases in places where they will make a difference.

Next month we'll look at how to test our list to determine which phrases are mostly likely to drive qualified traffic to your site.

Want a brainstorming partner to drive more traffic to your site? Then contact flyte today.

–Rich Brooks
President, flyte new media

Filed under: SEO