In many ways, the quality of content, graphics, backlinks, indexed pages, website structure, landing pages, site performance, CTAs, and analytics—all the things that go into a successful inbound marketing campaign built on content marketing—hinge upon a single point: thorough keyword research. Content marketing without the backing of thorough and regular keyword research simply cannot hope to live up to its potential in terms of traffic, relevance, and efficiency in generating leads. Today, we’re going to cover five aspects of keyword research and their relationship with your content’s search performance.
1. Understanding Your Buyers
Good keyword research requires a solid understanding about who your target audience is and what they’re interested in, but it also informs you about the terms and phrases buyers are actually searching to solve. Rather than guess and make absolute wrong assumptions, keyword tools can help identify and validate terms related to your business and which ones receive higher search frequency. If you see crossover with other markets, you might also uncover entire segments you were never aware of within your target market.
2. Enticing New Segments
Sometimes, the most interesting results from keyword research are completely unexpected. Uncovering those segments you didn’t know about within your existing target audience is good, discovering segments you’ve not yet touched is even better. Minor differences in search phrasing, emphasis on different aspects of your industry or product, these things can add up to untouched potential customers.
3. Relevant Tangents
Every aspect of a content marketing campaign needs to be laser-focused on a tight niche, or even a particular industry. Sometimes, figuring out what else your customers would be interested in is an excellent away to enhance your marketing efforts—keyword research can work wonders. Remember, content marketing is about creating content that will entice potential customers and pull them into your net long enough for you to close a sale, so creating content based on tangentially related subjects uncovered by your keyword research makes perfect sense.
4. Traffic vs. Leads
This gets into more advanced applications of keyword research and other content marketing metrics to increase your rank in Google. With thorough analysis of inbound traffic’s search terms and the rate at which you generate leads from those terms, you can tighten or broaden your net to achieve the ratio of leads to traffic you desire. Especially savvy content marketing campaigns might go a step further, emphasizing high value leads and ‘sure fit buyers’ over attracting visitors that are likely to waste your time because they don't fit your buyer profile. Search terms mean a lot in making sure you get the 'right' traffic, not just ‘traffic’.
5. Keeping up With Trends
Regular keyword research can give content marketing campaigns a lead on developing trends, as new terms pop up and rise/fall in popularity over time. Being the first in your market to seize upon a rising term can be excellent for your campaign, so keep up with your keyword research. If a term gets trivial traffic one week, near-trivial traffic the next, and moderate traffic after that, you know it’s worth attention—even if it’s not yet at a point where you would normally invest effort into it. But this is only possible if you do your research and pay attention.
Ultimately, all content marketing exists to respond to customer inquiries; keyword research helps inform and validate the questions they’re asking and increase your rank in Google. With that in mind, the role of keyword research in boosting content marketing search performance follows as simple common sense—you can’t answer questions you don’t know exist!