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Clues for Deciphering Keywords

Now here’s a question that so many philosophers, politicians, scientists and marketers have been trying for ages to find the answer to: “what do people want?”. Thanks to the Internet and a few smart programmers, we now have the tools and ability to not only figure out what people want, but also do it on a mass scale.

Creating websites. Developing content. Trying to figure out if what a company has to sell or offer is what the general public is interested in. That’s a tough dish to find a recipe for, and it’s one that can also be quite expensive as companies and organizations go through iteration after iteration of their web designs or marketing campaigns, adding a pinch of this or a dash of that, trying to understand what pleases the most palates.

Tools like Web Analytics and Voice of Customer (VOC) Surveys are available to help understand what people want but those tools only help once you’ve already gotten people to visit your website.

Thankfully, there are also some other ways to really identify what people want without those people ever having to visit your website or requiring your organization talking directly to them.

First, WHY should you want to know what people want?

Simply put: When you understand what people want, you’ll be able to communicate more effectively and persuasively with your audience. You’ll become more efficient at marketing to that audience, which in turn means a higher return on your investment.

So what tools are available to us that can help us understand what people want? Search engines and social media. For the purposes of this segment I’m going to write about search engines, but future instalments will focus on how social media can shed some light on what people are looking for.

Search engines are actually a pretty simple concept. People enter keywords into a search engine and, in return, the search engine returns a set of results based on the keywords entered. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing together will generally receive over 100 billion searches per month. This means that every month, 100 billion sets of keywords are entered into a search engine every month. Keywords hold intent. They tell us what people are interested in and with enough specificity they can even sometimes give us valuable demographic information about the user conducting the search.

Example: “baby medication”

In this example someone is either looking for information about made specifically for babies, information about how to give medicine to babies or they’re actually looking for the medicine itself. Already we’re understanding and uncovering a certain level of intent and interest. Next, the fact that it’s baby medication they’re interested in provides some clues that perhaps the person performing the search is a parent or other caregiver, maybe even a pre-school teacher, day-care worker or even a pediatrician.

Another example: “what is cyber crime”

From this example we don’t really get a sense of understanding about the person conducting the search. We can, however, tell that this individual is curious about what cyber crime actually is.

Based on these two examples, how can an we use this information? One immediately apparent way is to determine what sort of content we should be developing for websites. By knowing WHAT people are searching for you can better position your information and tailor your site architecture to capitalize on the demand for a particular bit of information.

If you are a member of a health organization, perhaps you want to reach parents to talk to them about various baby medications, perhaps to make them aware of the side effects they may cause or the risks inherent in giving the child such medication.

If you are a computer security firm, perhaps you want to help people understand what they need to do to protect themselves from cyber crime and make them aware of the threats they face.

There are many ways in which keyword research data can be used to empower the decision making process. In the case of an organization which has a broad content focus, but very few and limited resources, keyword research can be very useful in finding and prioritizing areas where the greatest demand exists, and thus where those limited resources can be used most effectively.

Use the tools available to make better and more fully informed decisions by taking the time to understand what people want. You’ll never go wrong by listening to the people.

PublicInsite Web Analytics Inc.

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