Whether you love them or hate them, keywords are a fundamental part of digital marketing.
- SEO; you’re optimising your website for them
- PPC; you’re bidding on them
- Social; you’re listening for them
- Content; you’re writing about them
Unless you have limitless budget to bid on every keyword anyone might type and you rank for all the keywords, the chances are, you’ve still got room to grow. But where should you be looking?
You can’t swing a keyboard on the internet without hitting a tool or piece of software that will tell you how many people searched for a keyword, what Google will probably charge as a Cost Per Click (CPC), and how ‘difficult’ it will be.
The more you’re willing to spend, the more information these tools will give you. At the click of a button you’ll be able to see the ever changing ‘SERP features’ Google displays alongside this keyword. You’ll know whether you’ve just got ten other websites to compete with or whether you’ve also got Google’s full Piccadilly Circus of local listings, images, shopping, videos and carousels to shout over too. You can see all the associated keywords and even questions that compliment that keyword and who else is ranking.
What are the pros of using keyword research tools?
Aside from all that wonderful data listed above, they keep things simple. Most marketing people have other people they need to answer to within the business or at the very least, share reports with. Keyword research tools give a nice breakdown of keywords and their popularity – mix in a little conversion rate data and average order value and you’ve even got a jumping-off point for some forecasting.
What are the cons of using keyword research tools?
Search volume data should be taken with a pinch of salt. If you’re just trying to find out which is more popular – keyword A or keyword B – they’re fairly accurate. If you’re hanging your hat on keyword A generating X searches a month and being sure if you rank at position Y you’ll be guaranteed a CTR of Z%, then you’re going to need some pretty hefty caveats.
“Even the most well-meaning keyword research tool in the world would struggle at the moment!”
On top of this, the current marketplace is more than usually disrupted. Even the most well-meaning keyword research tool in the world would struggle at the moment! Most take historic data to work out average search volumes, but with everything that’s happened over the last few years, that data is not statically robust. Even if you cut pandemic data from the equation, you’re going so far back that the data will be too dated to be reliable.
The biggest problem with being solely dependent on any keyword research tool is that you’re starting from a point of assumption. Whatever keyword or list you start with, you could be discounting other keywords that could provide more desirable results.
How Should I Be Finding My Initial Keywords?
Whether you’re looking for paid, social, content, or any other channel of marketing, at the core of Google’s organic algorithm is the ethos that the customer should be at the heart of everything. Your website should be optimised for your customer over search engine bots, your content should be written for a human to enjoy not to a keyword density score and you should be bidding on the keywords that are going to result in a conversion, not the ones that make the CEO happy when he’s playing ‘Google my keywords’ at lunchtime.
Here at Vuzo, we excel at mining, analysing and deriving insight from customer data. One piece of work we’re seen demonstrable results from is our Customer Review Analysis. By taking all your review data, our algorithms, analysis and Data Scientists can apply sentiment and intent to extract actionable insights.
This can be taken a step further and applied to your competitors so you can know what their customers are loving (and you should therefore be taking inspiration from) and what their customers are disgruntled at (so you can swoop in with a more convenient alternative)
This means we’re extracting real keywords your customers are using which can be used for:
- Defining your tone of voice and clarifying your customer communications
- You’re no longer dependent on socioeconomic or profiling data, you’re factoring in the real words your customers are using to describe your website, your products and your customer service. If you’re using a CRM to tempt a customer back to make another purchase, you’ll see better results if you’re speaking their language. Literally!
- Keyword bidding
- This work not only highlights any keywords that might be missing from your campaigns, but it signposts where higher conversion potentials might be waiting in the longtail. If your customers are praising your speedy delivery, it highlights this is an area of importance to them and is therefore, likely to be an area of importance to potential new customers. If it transpires your competitors are having long delivery times focused on in their negative reviews, you’ve got an even better chance of boosting your conversion rate.
- Keyword optimisation
- As we’ve already mentioned, Google’s organic algorithm places huge importance on Customer Experience so this approach can have a holistically healthy impact on your entire SEO strategy. It can highlight keywords important to your customers which can be woven into your onsite content (if quick delivery is important to the high reviews, shout about it in your copy), it can highlight the language that most resonates with them to give a meta description advantage for CTR.
Why Is Customer Review Analysis Better Than Social Listening?
According to Hubspot’s State of Marketing report for 2021, social media was the marketers preferred channel in 2021, with eight in ten companies investing in it last year and plans to do so again.
“those responsible for budget and performance know how much hard work is required to make social work as a marketing channel”
Whilst some slightly more sceptical departments within your organisation might think this is simply ‘playing on Facebook or Instagram’ all day, those responsible for budget and performance know how much hard work is required to make social work as a marketing channel. The concept of social listening has been around for years, it’s important because it helps you understand what real people are saying about your brand, your products or services and your competitors.
Our Customer Review Analysis takes this a step further. Where most social media platforms are awash with anyone and everyone eager to give their opinion (or even simply express that they have no opinion!), review data offers a higher reward potential.
Our research has shown that because the majority of customers are more likely to leave a review when they’ve experienced an extreme of customer service, we’re able to extract more targeted insights to produce more tangible recommendations.
In a world of convenience, the decline of the independent high street shop, and the modern rejection of individual personal anonymity, customers who feel they’ve experienced truly exceptional customer service want to shout about it. There might be business areas you’ve taken for granted, but that resonate with your customer base. For example:
- Knowledgeable and caring customer support staff;
- The ability to select specific days or time of day for more convenient delivery;
- Free collection of returns.
Maybe your competitors offer these, maybe you thought they’d increase conversion rate, but have you quantified how much your customers appreciated them? This feedback can get lost in more traditional social media listening, or even deprioritised depending on just how much noise you’re trying to sift through.
The same insight works in reverse, by highlighting the more negative areas from those leaving lower rating reviews. Of course you can’t please everyone, but if you suddenly saw the majority of negative reviews coming from Birmingham were focused around delivery service, this puts forward the argument your Birmingham delivery service isn’t up to scratch. Perhaps your customers in Brighton have started complaining your prices are too high suggesting a new competitor has moved into that area. Maybe you’ve seen a drop in LTV from a particular age segment, again, this insight might shed some light on an easy quick fix.
With old fashioned social media listening, reporting positive vs negative sentiment is a great reporting KPI, but are you getting enough actionable insights from it that are resulting in positive, demonstrable results? Are you confident it is being segmented correctly between your products and services and your brand? Are you getting actions you can roll out across all marketing channels and multiple departments within the business?