Posted by randfish

Depending on your industry, the more obvious and conversion-focused keywords you might target could be few and far between. With Google continuing to evolve, though, there’s a whole host of other areas you might look: interest-based keywords. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand shows you how to find them.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

Hacking Keyword Targeting whiteboard

Video transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re chatting about keyword targeting and specifically some of the challenges that happen when your keyword targeting list is rather small or hyper competitive and you need to broaden out. One of the great ways you can do that is actually by hacking the interests of the people who are performing those searches, or might perform those searches in the future, or might never perform those searches, but are actually interested in the product or service that you have to offer.

Classic, traditional keyword research is all about focusing on the product or service’s purchase intent. Meaning, here’s let’s say Charles over here. Charles needs to better track his fitness. He knows that what he’d like to able to do is get some tools to track his fitness. Maybe he’s looking at a Fitbit or something like that.

When we, doing marketing to Charles, have a fitness tracking product or a piece of software or a piece of hardware to offer him, we’re thinking about terms like fitness tracking software, track weight loss, workout measurement, and monitor workout progress, very direct, very obvious kinds of search terms that are clearly going to lead Charles from his intent right over to our website.

This is perfect keyword targeting keyword research if you’re doing paid search, because with paid search you need a return on that investment right away. You don’t want to be bidding on keywords, generally speaking, that are not going to directly bring you sign-ups, conversions, potential costumers.

This is not so true, however, when it comes to SEO. A lot of times when folks look at their SEO campaigns, they go, “Man, the list of keywords that I could target that really say expressly I want a fitness tracking piece of software or a fitness tracking piece of hardware is not that long. Therefore, what else should I create? What other terms could I potentially go after?” That’s where you want to do a little bit more of what social display and retargeting does, which is to think about reaching people based on their interests, their attributes, and the actions that they’ve taken.

If you go to Facebook and you do some ad targeting there, it’s not based on, hey, Charles expressly did a search for fitness tracking software. But you can go and find all the people who’ve labeled fitness as an interest of theirs. You can then further refine by demographics and psychographics, job, location, income, and all these other attributes.

This is what you can do in, for example, Google’s Display Planner as well. You can look at I want all the people who’ve read articles on MensHealth.com. Or you can get even more specific with some kinds of advertising and say, “I only want to advertise in front of people who looked at articles specifically on cross training, because we happen to know that maybe that’s that best target group for us.”

This is a very cool process too. But in SEO we can actually merge these two things. We can put them together, and a lot of smart SEOs do this. They combine these two practices in their keyword research and targeting. They find people who like fitness, and then they talk to them. They ask them questions. This can be implicit, explicit. This can be through surveys. This can be through interviews. You kind of sit down, and you’re like, “Okay, that’s really awesome. Can you tell me more about what inspired your love for fitness? Tell me about the content that you looked at prior to this. Tell me about books that you read, people that influenced you, all those kinds of things.”

You’re trying to gather that information, those subjects of interest. Not just fitness, but other things that they touch on. Content that they may have found or liked before learning that they wanted to track their fitness progress. Websites that they frequently visit. People and brands or accounts that they follow on social media. Who are their influencers?

We learn all this, and now we have kind of this topic set for pre-interest keyword research. Pre-interest, meaning, before the party is actually interested in the product or service or solution that we provide, what are they interested in? We can do keyword research and targeting based on those things.

What’s awesome about this is it’s like potentially much lower competition, earlier brand exposure, which means that all of our others efforts that are targeting them further down the funnel are likely to be more effective because they’ve already been exposed to our brand. They know us. Hopefully, they like us already.

This is huge for content marketing. Very rich content opportunities. Usually, content marketing opportunities and content creation opportunities that aren’t just purely self-promotional either. You go and create content about this and you’re a fitness tracking company, well, that’s pretty typical. That’s to be expected. It’s going to be self-promotional whether it’s explicitly promotional or not.

But this type of content is very different. This type of content is all about promoting a movement or promoting information about a topic that you know potentially your subjects will have interest in, in the future, and because of that it’s much easier to promote and share without being perceived as prideful and self-promotional, which tamps down a lot of the sharing that you could get.

Instead of things like fitness tracking software, I’m going to get running trails, comparison of cross trainer sneakers, strength training exercises, healthy meals for muscle growth. Awesome.

This is really cool. This process is what you want to use in that keyword research and brainstorming. Start before you get bogged down into, hey, these are the only terms and phrases that we can target because these are the only things that express intent.

Sometimes this might cross over into PPC. Most of the time this is really useful for SEO and content creation.

All right, everyone, I look forward to seeing some tools, tactics, and tips from all of you in the comments. We’ll catch you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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