The Unconventional 5-Step Keyword Research Plan

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Snooping On ...ahem... Researching Personas For Keywords

Your target demographic is likely online a lot. Despite this, even if they’re researching how to fix problems that your product or service can address, most of this time is not spent looking at how to buy from you.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see how they’re discussing these problems? Wouldn’t it be helpful to see what kind of language they’re using to express their needs? (Puts on best as-seen-on-TV ad voice) Well, now you can!

A good deal of people who fit your target demographic is looking for answers from online discussion groups, forums, and social media. While you could reach out to these people directly to remedy their problems with your product or service, these pages also serve as a rich resource for something else — raw, unfiltered keyword research.

Scrolling through question after question, forums sites, and discussion groups are untapped keyword research goldmines. Where forums and discussion groups shine is by allowing you to study the psyche of your target demographic like never before.

What words they’re using to describe their problems, what they feel may be wrong, how they think they should fix it — all of this information is served up to you, the marketer, on a silver platter. Spotting trends in speech and even erroneous lingo give you a unique opportunity to craft content that guides them in your direction. Let’s look at the steps to take for this keyword research to become effective.

1. Develop your persona.
Using the information you know about your target demographic, create a persona. A helpful tool is to pretend that the Marketing Genie has just visited you. Your wish is to be able to go into the future and interview your most valuable customer. Who is this person? What is their name, their life story, and what made them need your product? Write up as thorough a description as you can with the information you have now.

2. Closely study your persona. 
Hopping into the mind of your persona, think of how they solve their problems. What are these problems? Where are they asking questions? Go to the forum sites and discussion groups they frequent. Some places to start include Quora, Reddit, and Yahoo Answers. There, you should be able to learn what their problems are and even how they describe them.

3. Spot trends in their questions.
Take note of the phrasing and lingo your persona uses to ask questions. Are they looking for a home alarm or a house alarm? Are they looking for car insurance or vehicle insurance? Do they need new pants or new trousers? Even the smallest details in speech matter.

4. Use a keyword tool or keyword planner to gauge keyword values. Once you have made a list of potential keywords to use from your research, plug them into Google’s Keyword Planner or a third-party keyword tool. These keyword tools will tell you how much advertisers are winning to pay for one click to their website from someone using these keywords. While traffic to your site is nice, it’s pointless if it is used by someone who is not going to become a customer.

5. Gauge the future use of these keywords.
While a keyword you find today be all the rage, it may be on its way out of use. Plug a few similar keyword ideas into Google Trends to get a look at the keyword’s past usage and its future trajectory. If the keyword is on its way out, instead go with a form of the keyword that has a more upward trajectory.

Getting the drop on your competition with uncommon, yet lucrative keywords can help you gain valuable traffic. Keeping your ear to the ground can help you keep your finger on the pulse of your target demographic for years to come.