How to find your target market using keyword research…
One of the most important tasks you’ll face in creating your web site is whom to invite to the party, so to speak. In other words, who are your visitors and your buyers? Keyword research is the key to a well designed website, being comparable in its effect on your business’ success to the location, layout and design of a brick and mortar store.
As Jakob Krug so aptly put it in his must-have book about the precepts of web design – Don’t Make me Think – pretend you’re a member of a ski patrol who is looking for lost skiers your job is to find people who are looking for you! Except in this case, the tools of your search are words rather than things. The big question here is: which method(s) can be employed to make this search into something pother than a futile attempt to find a needle in a haystack.
Read on for Mark Nunney’s finely tuned program for finding those keywords that will give you a fighting chance or more at attracting qualified traffic and ready customers to your web site.
Find your website’s target markets
by Mark Nunney
In an extract from his new book, Wordtracker Masterclass: Keyword Research – how to deliver visits, response and profits to your website, Mark Nunney shows how to start your keyword research for a new site by first finding and then prioritizing your target markets and the keywords associated with them. Keyword research for a new site can start with a process called the Keyword Research Funnel that goes through the following five stages:
1) Find target markets
2) Prioritize target keyword niches
3) Create first content
4) PPC to verify target keywords
5) SEO for verified keywords
Then when your website has organic non-paid search engine traffic, you can move on to the Keyword Research Circle of Response.
In this article we’ll look at step 1: Find target markets. You can learn the details of the full process of keyword research for new and established sites in Wordtracker Masterclass: Keyword Research.
Finding your target markets for search marketing involves finding their associated keywords – the words and phrases used to search Google, Yahoo and Bing.
You are looking for big markets at the start of your keyword research process. So if you are selling cars, the markets might include cars, family cars, sports cars and ford cars. Later you’ll move from target markets to target keywords. Those will come from within your target markets’ keyword niches like family cars. Eg, cool family cars or big family cars. You’ll find those later in step 2.
Keyword research starts with seed keywords
Seed keywords are the core of a market or keyword niche. Eg, the seed keyword of the donuts keyword niche is donuts.The donuts keyword niche is all keywords containing donut, including glazed donuts and chocolate donuts..You might sell chocolate and start with, well, chocolate. Start with chocolate. You might expand and find more seed keywords like gourmet chocolate, chocolate desserts and organic chocolate. These keywords are all markets (as well as keyword niches) that you might target and build content for on your site. But always follow this rule:
Only create site content you would want whether or not it brings traffic or response. So no work you do is wasted. Think about this when you are considering a possible target market. Do you want the content required to target that market on your site? Let’s explore some different ways of finding possible seed keywords
What are you selling again?
Ask yourself what you are selling and write down relevant products and markets. Perhaps you and I together are launching a gourmet tea site that sells tea, including:
Always ask yourself how these subjects might relate to the keywords customers search with. No detailed research is required yet. I just want you to keep reminding yourself that you will be looking for the keywords your customers use. Save all these potential target keywords in a file called Potential Target Markets.
What do you and your employees and colleagues think?
Think beyond the products you sell. Consider problems you solve and related subjects that people talk about and want to know about….You are an expert in your field. Write down relevant words, subjects, products, etc.Imagine you are an osteopath – you might write down some possible seed keywords like these:
Add the ideas you like to your Potential Target Markets file.
Listen to your customers
Listen to the words your customers use. Read their emails. Look at forums, Facebook and other social media sites. The words people use are the words they will search with. Your potential customers might say physio, physician, doctor or back doctor. Back to tea: customers might be asking for zhu ye qing green tea or porcelain tea sets that do justice to their gourmet tea.
Add the ideas you like to your Potential Target Markets file.
Read the best and most popular relevant websites Search Google with a seed keyword you like. Eg, osteopath or chocolates or tea (I’m running three examples here side by side – you can handle that, can’t you?). Also make searches like these:
Read the resulting websites that most impress you and take notes about the subjects they cover and the relevant words they use.
For a chocolate site you might find:
hand made chocolate
Or for the osteopathy website:
lower back pain
And for tea:
green tea benefits
Always be looking for subjects and words that are relevant to your business. Add the ideas you like to your Potential Target Markets file. Always be asking yourself if you can use possible seed keywords in content that you’re happy to have on your website. Eg, articles, blog posts, news stories, videos, photo collections, product pages, etc.
For example, perhaps you find the market niche strawberry chocolates but don’t sell strawberry chocolates. You might still write about strawberry chocolates in the hope of selling something different to those searching for them. But chances are you have something more relevant to write about. And is our gourmet tea site going to write about cream teas?
Create a new Project and a Potential Target Markets List in Wordtracker
You’ve been saving all your possible target keywords in your Potential Target Markets file.You’re now going to put them into a Wordtracker List inside a new Wordtracker Project like this: Create a project in Wordtracker from the dashboard. Enter your Potential Target Markets keywords into the Keywords Tool as seed keywords.Look for your target markets in your results and save them to a new List (Potential Target Markets). Select those you want to add (with the check box.)
Use Wordtracker Keywords Tool’s Related Keywords Tool
I like all the methods given so far but Wordtracker Keywords Tool’s Related Keywords Tool is my favorite. I’ll call it the Orange Tool because, er, it’s orange and ‘Wordtracker Keywords Tool’s Related Keywords Tool’ is a bit long. To use the Orange Tool, you simply enter a single seed word (or phrase) and get up to 300 related keywords back. The image on the following page shows the first 21 results for separate searches with chocolate, osteopath and tea.
… if you dig down then you’ll always find plenty of interesting keywords. Plenty of keywords to consider there. If any look like a potential market then …click ‘search’ next to any keywords you want to add to your Potential Target Markets List. Then click ‘Search & Save’. The results will be a search in the Keywords (Blue) Tool from which you can add wanted keywords to your Potential Target Markets List as described above. The Orange Related Keywords Tool is a simple thing but it found the following potential target markets for our tea site:
oolong tea bags
herbal flavored tea
rooibos tea pots
loose leaf tea
Keywords for content ideas
Whilst researching, you may see keywords that give you ideas for content on your sites but don’t fit into your chosen target markets. Save them to a new list called, eg, Tea Content Ideas. For example, I’ve just seen the keyword strip teas – a misspelling of striptease. I don’t know how yet but I think I can find a way of using the resulting pun in the headline of an amusing blog post. If that post works well and other sites link to it using the title then our tea site will get inbound links containing tea in their link text (which is a good thing for our SEO). Similarly, I found honest tea and proper tea. And honest tea, everyone knows that all proper tea is theft, don’t they?
Choose your target markets
You can spend forever adding keywords to your Potential Target Markets List. Much better to push on. Make adding to this list a permanent process but for now – get to the party. (If you later find any other keywords you like then you add them to your list and put them through this same process.)
Time to review your Potential Target Markets List. You may have got carried away and added keywords that aren’t relevant enough. If so, delete them.
All remaining keywords should be relevant to your products and services and worth targeting. But you can’t do everything at once. You must prioritize. You must pick a list of markets to target. To do so, work in a duplicate (copy) of your Potential Target Markets List.In Potential Target Markets (copy), select 5-15 keywords (the specific amount isn’t important) for a new Target Markets List. Move your selected keywords to a new list and call it ‘Target Markets List’. Use just two criteria to choose your Target Markets List:
1) Appropriateness. How likely do you think it is you can sell your products to those searching with keywords in the potential market’s keyword niche? Eg, can you sell iced tea, organic tea, Japanese tea, cream tea?
2) Size (number of searches). The size of a market is of interest because inside big markets (big keyword niches) we are likely to find smaller keyword niches that we can compete for. These will contain the actual keywords you target.
Our tea site example now has 10 target markets. Those search figures are Google’s estimates of the number of monthly searches with keywords containing those shown. Google uses a sample of real searches to make its estimates.
In step 2 of the Keyword Research Funnel – prioritize target keyword niches – you look at the same keywords using Wordtracker’s database and the figures will be quite different. Wordtracker also uses a database of real searches but the search numbers shown are the actual number of searches in the database (no extrapolations or estimates are made). The specific numbers are of little interest. All we want at the moment are some clues that there are searches being made and rough ideas of relative size.
This is just the start. Next …
In step 2 – prioritize target keyword niches – you’ll find perhaps 5-10 target keyword niches within each of your target markets. Eg, you might choose green tea benefits from within the green tea keyword niche. You can learn how to do that and the rest of the keyword research process in Wordtracker Masterclass: Keyword Research – how to deliver visits, response and profits to you website.
Introducing a real-world guide to turning keywords into traffic, sales and revenue for your business: In Wordtracker’s new e-book, Wordtracker Masterclass: Keyword Research – How to deliver visits, response and profits to your website, you’ll discover how to:
• Build an effective keyword research strategy for SEO and PPC
• Use keyword research tools to minimize costs and maximize results
• Multiply your existing traffic and response
• Uncover profitable, yet undiscovered, niche markets
• Pinpoint those keywords that will bring you the greatest return
• Build on existing successes by exploiting the long tail of keyword research
…read more expert articles on SEO by Mark Nunney at http://www.wordtracker.com/authors/mark-nunney