This week, we’ve been talking about our own internal SEO strategy and where we’re running into roadblocks. We’ve exhausted our keyword lists and we’re written about the same topics over and over. What are the alternative options for keyword research?
I can’t be alone when I think, “Oh shit, now what?”
Like me, you probably turn to your SEO tools and Search Console to see what to do next. You likely also look at your social listening tools to find out what conversations taking place. This is a good place to start, however, these systems have limitations. They are reactive. To give you data about keywords, topics, and clicks, the audience needs to have taken an action and it needs to have happened online where these tools can see it. They are dependent on the right conversations happening in the right places at the right times to pick up the data.
So, how do you get better intel about what your audience cares about? How do you find alternative options for keyword research?
This probably seems obvious but it’s easier said than done. Back to the limitations of social listening tools. They can only see what people are comfortable talking about publicly. They are also limited to the volume of conversation around topics that you care about. If people aren’t talking about you, there is no data to analyze.
How do you resolve this?
You need to ditch the technology and talk to people. Make connections. Ask questions. You’re not going in for a hard sell of anything. You’re listening. Just listening. Here are some places to start.
Ask your community
We run a free slack group, Analytics for Marketers. It’s open to anyone interested in analytics and marketing. If you don’t have your own community, join one. Join ours. There is no shortage of hubs where people gather to talk about their shared interests. Many of these communities exist on platforms that social listening and other monitoring tools can’t reach.
I’ve learned that there are two kinds of members. First, there are lurkers. These are the people who see and read everything and rarely or never interact. Second, there are participants. These are members who respond and ask questions. Both types of members are important. You should have no problem gathering feedback from the active participants. The challenge is getting information out of those that don’t often engage. You can try creating smaller focus groups, create an online survey, or set up some one-on-one time. Create a safe space and give them an opportunity to share their opinions without fear of judgment from other members.
Talk to your current and former customers
These are people who already know (and hopefully) like you. They know your business and they know your expertise. Ask them what other information they would like to learn from you. Ask them what content they wish existed to help them solve their problems. Remember, you’re not selling anything. You’re trying to find out what pain points you’re not currently addressing with your content. You may find that you have expertise that you haven’t thought to share and protips that could help others.
Using technology to plan out your SEO strategy is always a good start. But don’t stop there. Tools will always have limitations to what data they can gather. The next time you’re stumped, ask around and see what other people are thinking about.
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