Keyword Research To Find What’s In Your Customer’s Mind

Keyword research is one of the most powerful aspects of digital marketing, whether it is through SEO, PPC or advertising on social platforms, it is the spine of all campaigns.

This post has not been written for you as a step by step guide, there are very good guides on the web that do this (see here ). It has been written to tell you ‘why’ and the main ‘why’ to do keyword research, as those many other guides like the one linked to above, approach keyword research from a technical angle, listing any array of tools and how to best segment your keyword lists.

Okay, I must be honest, I will include technical knowledge here but it will all be with the perspective of ‘why’.

Background

The web is a very congested place, a highway of information, and just like every billboard and bus stand, advertising space on the web is highly sort after. But do people on the web remember every ad they see? Do they remember every banner ad, every text ad they saw after a search or even every website they visited after clicking on an ad? Of course not, as the mind has limited space just like the memory on your smartphone.

Being First

One way of helping yourself to be remembered in the minds of your prospect audience is to be seen first. Let’s take a comparison as an example, who was the first man to walk on the moon? Who was the first president of America? On a more personal note, I’m sure you remember your first school and your first job. In short, there is no substitute to coming first.

On search based advertising it is slightly more easier to come first as bigger budgets can secure the top position. However, on banner advertising things become more tricky. In relation to keyword research, choosing the right words to target can help you go a long wayy to being first.

Finding The Right Keywords

Now comes the technical part of this guide. I know I mentioned those other overly technical guides before, but I am going to be different by saying how and ‘why’.

To Make this easier for you I’m going to use a real world example to demonstrate how this business could be using the concepts explained in this post.

twentytwentyone (www.twentytwentyone.com) are a modern designer furniture brand based in London. They blend twentieth century classics with a modern touch to produce visually stunning pieces and the quality of their products is reflected rightfully in the valuation.

Our example company sells furniture which would mean their target market would be interested in buying furniture.

At this stage we want to focus on how to get into the mind of the prospect and understand what space our products have in the prospects mind.

Begin With The Broad  

We are now going to resort to our first keyword research tool – Google’s Keyword Planner. Keyword Planner is probably the most well known keyword research tool and it’s free.   

As we are going to implement the concepts on a furniture company let’s start with the keyword ‘furniture’.

Why ‘furniture’? Furniture is a very broad brush term and you may be thinking that it is too general for TwentyTwentyOne as they are more towards a niche furniture market. However, in the context of coming first they could have a free organic listing on a search engine, a paid search engine (PPC) advert and a display advert appear to a web user for the term ‘furniture’. There are 49,500 searches on Google UK for the search term ‘furniture’ each month and it would allow the brand name to appear and settle in the mind of the ‘would be purchaser’ as they have embarked on a journey to find information on furniture. The messaging that can be displayed in these advertisements can also help to provoke thought and action to the searcher.

A point to note, is that the searcher may not be intending to purchase the style of furniture offering that TwentyTwentyOne provide but this is where clever marketing can take a role by using smart messaging that I alluded to you above.

Now Narrow and Target

Use Google Keyword Planner to show types of searches to understand what people are searching.

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.1 above is a return of results based on the search term ‘furniture’. As can be seen above, Google returns a list of keywords with their average monthly searches in the right hand column accompanied with the graph icon.

This list is more qualified than the term ‘furniture’. From analysing the results, you can see that people search for furniture based on two prominent themes:

  1. material e.g. ‘pine’
  2. style of furniture and its location in the home e.g. ‘dining furniture’

How can TwentyTwentyOne put this data into context?

Now, the number is the clue to understand what people are searching for. We can see that there are over 90K monthly searches for bedroom furniture in the UK. TwentyTwentOne sells bedroom furniture, though at the higher end, the number of product related searches would mean they have an excellent opportunity to position their brand, ‘Position’ the most important word in this whole post.

Position  – What do I mean?

Find out in part two of this article (coming very soon).

Positioning

In an overcrowded marketplace, with product packed shelves; Positioning is the art of entering the mind of your customer first.

Here’s a question – what’s the first soft drink brand that comes to mind; Coke – right?

Another question, name me a digestive biscuit brand; McVities – right?

Name me the second brand that comes to mind for those two categories, I bet Pepsi is the second for soft drink, but for digestive biscuits nothing is coming to mind at the instance of writing, I hope you’re doing better (leave in comments below).

‘if you can enter the mind of your prospective customer first you have gone a long way to securing a long term market share majority.’

How do we apply this concept to search?

Coming top of Google is the aim of the game for search engine optimisers and marketers. Being top also means coming first which equates to ‘Positioning.’

Statistics from research conducted on user behaviour whilst on search engine results pages provides evidence that most users click what they see first.

According to data presented by CEO of Caphyon, Philip Petrescu, the first organic position on Google receives 33% click share.   

If you are able to come first then you are guaranteed to acquire the majority of the search traffic, thus, positioning your brand ahead of competition and the and acquiring that precious space in the customer’s mind.

Using Smart Messaging

I earlier mentioned that through smart marketing messages businesses can influence their prospective customers even though they may not be directly in-market for your product or brand.

So how can businesses use targeted messaging for general search terms like ‘furniture’? Let’s break this down into the two parts that we are mainly focusing on here – organic listings (SEO) and paid listings  (SEM or PPC).

SEO

Google and Bing both use the HTML title and description Meta tags to display listings on their search results pages. They also use micro data like Schema for some search results.

The Meta title that is displayed in the SERPs is typically 65 characters and the description Meta is 160 – this is your space to use smart messaging to attract and influence your prospective audience.

Now, you may ask – don’t I have to rank highly first and utilise the Meta title and description to do this before I use it for smart messaging?

The simple answer is yes. However, the term ‘furniture’ is not going to be the only term you use in the copy for these HTML tags and besides, Google is now becoming even more intelligent than it was with interpreting a user’s search query and matching it to a website with the introduction of RankBrain; an update to its core engine.

Example messaging:

The below is an image of a Google search results page for the search term ‘furniture’.

As can be seen be the first two results, Google lists stores that offer a general furniture offering. However, the third result is encouraging as Habitat is listed, who offer designer furniture and they lead with this in the title of the listing, which is the Meta title.

A closer look

Let’s have a  closer look at the the Habitat search result that Google lists for the term ‘furniture’ as it is the closest in relevance to TwentyTwentyOne – the brand of our focus for this post.

Habitat uses words like ‘designer’, ‘stylish’ and ‘remarkable design’. These words would appeal to someone looking for a more niche type of furniture but through this messaging Habitat has been able to market itself to the wider audience interested in furniture as a retailer of higher end furniture with affordable prices.

Possible messaging for TwentyTwentyOne

We are finally going to put some actions behind our words. To put create smart messaging for 2021 we first need to know the core words we want to use. I have listed words below that I believe to be the core words that need to be used:

Designer

Modern

Stylish

Decor

Now I have identified the core words I can start applying this to create a sample title that should appear in the search results. Before doing that a screen grab of their current search result snippet is below –

As can be seen in the above screenshot, 2021’s title is too long and part of it is out of view. This could possibly lead to searches not clicking on the listing as they can not fully grasp the message in the listing.

Possible Title

Furniture – Modern, Elegant Designs | TwentyTwentyOne

A second possible title

Modern, Elegant Designer Furniture by TwentTwentyOne

In this short snippet which is the Meta title tag of course, we have encapsulated the core brand identity of 2021 by using the words: modern, elegant and designer.

Tip! – Google displays a max of 65 characters in its search results for the Meta Title tag, to make sure you are always within that limit, write your titles on Microsoft Excel and use the =Len function. This will give you the character amount of the title you have written saving you time of having to re-edit due to being over 65 characters.

Possible Meta Description

Now for the Meta description. A point to note about the Meta description tag, it’s widely recognised as not being a ranking factor is Google’s extensive algorithm, however, it is a fantastic space for marketing and attracting searches to click on your listing and it gives you the opportunity to let Google know how you are different to other websites competing in the same space.

2021’s current Meta description –

“twentytwentyone are long established retailers of high quality contemporary, classic, licensed, original and vintage designer furniture, lighting and accessories. twentytwentyone have two London furniture stores, a dedicated contracts sales department and supply the rest of the UK and beyond via the website.”

As you can see, 2021 currently have a long and detailed Meta description. However, the optimal character length of a Meta description to be fully visible in search results pages is between 150 and 160 characters whilst the current one 308 characters. As it is beyond 160 characters search engines like Google and Bing will only show a portion of the description, this can have a negative effect on searchers clicking on the listing as they cannot fully engage with the message.

Description 1

Modern and elegant furniture designs by 2021. We have been crafting high quality, original furniture and home accessories since 1996 explore more.

Description 2

Furniture of the modern and elegant style. 2021 have been crafting high quality furniture and home accessories since 1996 – learn more

With these two Meta descriptions I have been able to include the core values of the brand; modern, elegant, established and high quality whilst staying within a 160 character limit. Another point to note, is that the keyword ‘furniture’ is also contained within the Meta description.

By achieving a top organic position in search results, 2021 has the ability to position itself as the leading brand for furniture. Now in these two elements; the Meta title and description 2021 can include price offers or challenge barriers if it wanted to appeal to a wider audience.

PPC

Although paid search comes with costs it provides more flexibility than organic search results. Our focus here will be Google’s AdWords platform.

Anatomy of paid search ad

A paid search comes in different forms, for this post I will stick to a standard text ad. A standard text ad on Google for example consists of:

Headline – 25 character limit

Description Line One – 35 character limit

Description Line Two – 35 character limit

Display URL Line – 35 character limit

Now, one of the main differences between SEO and PPC is that it is possible to have multiple ad messages for one keyword or a group of keywords as opposed to the one Meta title and Meta description that is used on a HTML page. Obviously, this is very flexible as it allows marketers to use multiple ad copy and test what works best.

So how can we use a paid search ad on Google to target the keywords like ‘furniture’ and ‘dining furniture’?

I will not dive into the details how to create and run a paid search campaign on Google but a brief overview would be; set your budget, keywords, location and write your ad copy then let the campaign begin.

By having ‘furniture’ as a keyword to target, this would trigger an ad to appear to a searcher on Google. A sample ad that can be used to appear first for these searchers and display messaging to attract them could be –

Furniture by 2021

Modern, elegant designs

of the highest quality for your home

twentytwentyone/modern-elegant-furniture

The image below demonstrates how it would appear on a Google search page –

One of the beauties of AdWords is that an ad can be displayed for multiple keywords, meaning the ad above can also be triggered if a searcher typed in ‘dining furniture’ in the search bar providing the ad and landing page are relevant to the search term which in this case it would be.

One of the good effects of this is that the 2021 brand can be in front and position themselves in the mind of people interested in furniture, which I evidenced already in this post, stands at 10s of thousands a month in the UK.

 Another point to note, is that more than on ad can be displayed for a set of keywords, this would allow 2021 and to try different messages to qualify an audience that may not have been qualified when they started their search!

So there you have it, by using organic and paid search a brand can position itself in the minds of its prospective audience and beyond first, before all other competitors. Being first and winning the battle for the mind of your prospects is the most important aspect of marketing in an overcrowded space which is what the online world is.

Let’s engage, do you agree, have you got better ideas? Leave your comments below.