You think you know, but do you truly know what your customers are searching for when they hop onto the internet? If you sell dog-care products, it could be easy to fall into the trap of thinking customers are searching for “dog care products” or “dog shampoo” as keywords.
What they’re actually using to search for products/services is probably significantly different. Some of the keywords they use could include “shampoo that gets my dog really clean” or “dog shampoo fragrance that lasts.”
If you don’t conduct thorough SEO research before crafting web pages, you’re likely missing the mark.
Go back to the beginning
Marketing Sherpa conducted a study to answer this exact question, and determine how customers use online information searches in order to better drive search engine optimization. After asking participants three questions, they came to a few significant conclusions.
The three questions the study asked were:
- “Imagine you wake up one morning and find that your coffee maker no longer turns on. In the box below, enter the phrase exactly as you would type into Google to find a solution.”
- “Imagine you wake up one morning and find that your ankle has swollen up to twice its normal size. In the box below, enter the phrase exactly as you would type into Google to find a solution.”
- “Imagine you are in the market for a new laptop but have not yet decided on a manufacturer or model. In the box below, enter the phrase exactly as you would type into Google to research a new laptop.”
The results of the study hold significant insights for SEO. Your business can improve its SEO outcomes by carefully evaluating what works.
The 5 W’s
Customer responses included many mentions of the 5 W’s. Here’s how the breakdown of customer usage adds up:
- How – 38 percent
- Why – 24 percent
- Where – 15 percent
- Which – 12 percent
- What – 11 percent
It’s interesting that “how” turns up as the most-used question. What does this discovering mean? It means that customers are search for answers to problems, such as “how to fix my swollen ankle” or “how to find the perfect laptop.”
As a business, you should be combing your web pages to see if they solve problems. Don’t just showcase the wonderful benefits of your services or products, because that’s not what customers are looking for. They want to know “how” to solve their problems and they’re looking for businesses that provide solutions.
Learn how customers think
Search terms reveal the various stages of the customer buying cycle. Not everyone is ready to buy when they go on a search. But they’re all looking for information to help them at some point in their problem experience.
As a result, your website content should help customers at each stage of the buying cycle. Some people may want to know how to fix the coffeemaker, so show them how. But also provide information about buying a new coffeemaker, what features to look for that drive a better coffee-making experience, and so forth. The customers looking to fix their coffeemakers will come back to you when they’re ready to replace the broken unit.
Consider your industry
The “how” question is the most-used search term for some industries, namely healthcare, consumer goods and electronics. That’s not true for every industry, however.
In other industries, different search terms l prevailed. In the news industry, “what” was the most popular type of content, while in the lifestyle industry, “why” posts were most prevalent.
Get to know your industry’s consumers and know how they search — and for what they search. Then, craft your content to answer these questions. Meet consumers where they’re at in the buying stages, and they’ll be sure to come to you when they’re ready to buy.