Google, and other search engines, like to switch things up a bit to keep us from getting too comfortable. Keywords can be difficult to keep up with so what do we do about it? This weeks Whiteboard Friday from SEOmoz discusses this very issue; how to predict keyword volume – before that data is even in AdWords. They show us how to do this with our available resources to perform predictive keyword research.
“Howdy SEOmoz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to talk a little bit about keyword research, but predictive keyword research, keyword research that you can do before data even appears inside AdWords or Bing, wherever you are pulling your keyword data from.
It’s a big challenging project. It’s hard to do. It’s hard to execute on. It’s certainly what I’d call more of an advanced SEO technique. So, if you haven’t got the basics set yet, I’d do those before tackling this. But it can be extremely powerful for two big reasons. Number one, trending keyword volume, keyword volume that happens in big spikes around events or around news items or around topic matter, is very exciting and interesting because it can produce a lot of volume, and it can turn what has been a content marketing strategy into a thought leadership strategy. And second, your competitors don’t know about it. They don’t know that these things are coming out. Now if you are, you know, political news or in headline type of news areas, yeah, everybody is writing about the same stories. Those things make headlines and they’re sort of follow-up. So there’s always going to be lots of competition. But in lots of business areas, especially local areas or industry niche areas, there’s a lot of news that only gets covered briefly, doesn’t get covered particularly well from a keyword targeting standpoint, and therefore you can do it very powerfully and very well.
Let me show you the process here. I’ll start with an example actually. SEOmoz, years ago, I think it was 2006, 2005 maybe even, probably ’06six, and Danny Sullivan on Search Engine Land started writing about social media marketing. I saw this article from him. He was talking about it, about how, with the emergence of Twitter and with Facebook opening up to not just college students, and MySpace was still popular at the time, Digg was still popular at the time, Reddit was still growing in popularity, StumbleUpon was popular. Twitter I think had just started emerging or was just about to emerge. And so he wrote about this topic of social media marketing, and I thought, “Wow. Yeah, that’s a really interesting one. I think social media marketing is going to be big.” So we’re going to do two things. We’re going to write a guide to social media marketing, and before I even do that, I am going to write a blog post about social media marketing.
There’s no search volume for it at the time. You know, if you went into Google AdWords at the time and you typed in “social media marketing,” you’re not going to see more than, say, 30 to 50 searches a month. It’s just not a popular topic yet, but it’s about to become one. What happened is I wrote this blog post, and that actually made it to number two in the search results for social media marketing for a long time in Google search results, which sent over the course of a few years – now it was both this article and the larger article that we eventually wrote – that was 20,000 plus visits to the SEOmoz site over about 2 or 3 years.
That’s a lot of traffic. That’s a lot of new people to capture. And, of course, since we are trying to make tools for SEOs and social media marketers, a little more social media marketers since last November when we released some of that in the Followerwonk acquisition and all that kind of stuff, now we can sort of say, “Wow. You know, this is a great channel for us. This has been a really valuable keyword. I’m really glad we got that thought leadership out there early, before it was even in the keyword tools.”
Now, here’s the process that you can use to do this repeatedly. So step 1, you’ve got to be on top of things. You have to be on top of what’s happening in your industry, and I suggest three sources, these are unique sources. First off is news, so you could go to, for example, Google news or set up a news alert or those kinds of things. Or if you’re in the technology industry, it might be Techmeme. If you’re in a specific blogging field, maybe you’re going to the Alltop section for that. You want to follow some social sources, who are the leading folks usually on Twitter and Facebook, Google+ can also be useful for this, and seeing what they’re talking about and writing about, what’s interesting to them.
And then, probably the best one that you can do here is verify that there’s actually interest and questions around this by checking out Q&A sites. So, if I see that someone is talking about . . . I’ll give a good example. There’s a trend to start using the word “growth hacker” to describe marketers in Silicon Valley. So Silicon Valley has historically not particularly liked marketers, and so now they’re embracing marketing and the practice of getting actual customers on their startups by calling it growth hacking. That’s what they have chosen to call it. That’s fine. Now, news sources are writing about this only a tiny bit. Social sources are talking about this a little bit more, and you can see plenty of activity on Q&A sites in the technology field, like on Quora, like on Formspring.
So what does this indicate to you? Well, it says to me, “Hey. This means there’s an opportunity there.” If I can rank well for growth hacker, get into these things, especially if I could do this, say, six or nine months ago, when the term first started becoming popular, that could be a lead to a lot of great traffic, especially if I’m, for example, let’s say like many of you probably, an SEO consultant or an SEO agency or an in-house SEO who’s trying to get well known in thought leadership on the topic of growth hacker, maybe to get new customers, maybe to help your reputation internally, those kinds of things.
Step two, once you’ve identified these things, is you need to make a decision. Are you going longtail, or are you going fat head? Are you going to write about growth hacker plus X and Y and Z and all these other keywords that you think might be attached to them? What about growth hacker for e-commerce sites? What about growth hacker for social communities? What about growth hacking for news sites or for mobile apps? Those things will probably all be in there, or you could go after and write the fat head, which is just going to be growth hacking and growth hacker.
Then you need to obviously create the content, and we talk about that in a lot of other Whiteboard Fridays and a lot of other blog posts on SEOmoz. So I’ll skim over that. But it has to do two things. It’s got to be relevant, hyper relevant to both the topic and the audience, both of these, simultaneously. The reason being that getting rankings for the topic is of no use to you unless you are also attracting and creating a reason for the audience to care about you and your brand and want to come back, take action, subscribe to you, follow you, maybe even take a free trial of whatever you’ve got, call you up, etc. So, attractive to the topic, attractive to the audience.
And in step three, you’re going to obviously publish and promote the content itself. Check that off, and then you’re going to need to make this a repeatable process, that turns into something you do consistently for SEO to get traffic. You’ve got to analyze the successes and the failures, meaning what worked, what didn’t work. What was over here in the news sources, and it’s like, , oh, that didn’t really turn into something. Was that because there wasn’t a lot of Q&A volume afterwards? Or maybe we did see a lot of Q&A volume, but there weren’t any people talking about it on the social network. Whatever the trends and the patterns are that work well for you, you’ve got to identify those so that you can repeat the things that work again and again.
If you use this as part of your content marketing process, as part of a blog or of articles you issue or of guides you do, white papers, research, videos, whatever kind of content you’re producing, this can lead to the same type of thing that we saw, which is taking over search results before anybody knows that it’s going to become a popularly searched term. This is a wonderful way to jumpstart your keyword targeting, jumpstart your content marketing.
All right everyone, hope you have enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday, and we will see you again next time. Take care.”