Step-by-step guide to keyword research for any business: 3 minute read

“One should be able to control and manipulate experiences with an informed and intelligent mind” – Sylvia Plath 

This quote should be every content marketer’s motto and it surely fits well in the context of this article. Research (which is often considered the lackluster part of marketing) is the key for businesses to make informed and intelligent content for their target audience. with the advent of SEO, we can now peep into the minds of consumers and see what they are searching for in your niche. And it is exciting times for businesses, to say the least, to stay informed and develop content that will definitely NOT go unnoticed.

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I believe this subject is agreeable to most, but a recent discussion on an online forum made me realize that Keyword research is not always an easy actionable in the to-do list. The breaking point could lie anywhere between How to begin? to what to select? from the inundating excel sheets.

While there is no cookie cutter approach to keyword research but here is simple step-by-step guide for beginners to help ramp-up your content.

Case in Point – Zeina who is a budding interior designer has a slightly neglected blog. She wants to know what the potential customers  are searching online regarding interior designing services and use the keywords and phrases in her website content for better search engine ranking.

 

This is how she would do it…

1. Choose possible keywords to start with 

While Zeina doesn’t know what exact terms people are searching online, she can take a a guess what the searches might be like. So she decided to start with the following:

  • Interior decoration service
  • Home interior tips
  • Latest interior decoration trends
  • Office interior designing

Putting the starting keywords in a spreadsheet will help maintain the clarity and organization of the proceeding steps. With the initial step done, Zeina is good to go to the next step.

2. Determine the score of your keywords

She can use Google Keyword Tool to search about her selected keywords first. She will now evaluate her keyword choices basis the following parameters:

  • Average monthly searches – shows the average number of searches for this keyword and its close variants based on the targeting settings and date ranges that you’ve selected. You can use this information to see how popular your keywords are during different times of the year
  • Competition – shows how competitive ad placement is for a keyword, specific to the location and Search Network targeting options that you’ve selected. The level of competition – low, medium or high – is determined by the number of advertisers bidding on each keyword relative to all keywords across Google

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As you can see,three of her keywords fall in different categories of avg. monthly sales and competition. For global market topics it is essential that the average monthly search should be at least 100,000 which  means that particular topic is in high demand.Therefore she can cross off the first two keywords as they are low-volume ones. The third underlined topic is a widely searched one but is also is high competition type which means there is already a lot of content available for this and it  will be a challenge to highlight hers.

So, she should be looking for High average monthly search & low/medium competition keywords in the next step.

3. Discover other related keywords

The best part of using Google keyword planner is that it will suggest a whole of related keywords similar to your search. a thorough research of related keywords and their score is critical and is the step 3 of the process.

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After multiple words pairing, mix and matching Zeina could research 5 keywords that had high average monthly searches as well as low competition. She entered the following streamlined keywords in the spreadsheet along with the competition and search scores;

  • house decoration
  • room design
  • interior design
  • house designs
  • interior

4. Check the trending data on your keywords

Now that Zeina has shortlisted the most preferred keywords for her blog basis keyword research she can now check what the projected outlook of the shortlisted terms.

Google Trends is a free tool to research the projection. she started with “room design” and “interior design” to start comparison in Google Trends:

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clearly, interior design is a more trending search term in comparison to room design and therefore will get a better weightage. Similar comparisons of two or more keywords will provide a relative comparison of keyword importance for Zeina’s blog.

5. Keyword research in social media environment

Zeina knows that researching social media networks for the keywords is an equally important exercise to know how, when and in what context are people using these keywords in their social media conversations.

she uses twitter to search first. In her search for the keyword “house design, she realized that this term was used mostly in architectural context and involved architecture expertise rather than interior designing!

She then runs the same test in Google+ and Facebook to see more such trends on the keywords while she is noting her findings in the spreadsheet.

After these 5 simple steps, Zeina is left with a detailed research of keywords that will allow her to filter out the best ones to start with. Including a similar research on competitors can give her an added advantage to make her keyword selection competitive.

Again, keyword research is NOT a one time thing that guarantees life long success for your content. A continuous addition of relevant keywords and  keyword performance review is required to sustain the performance of Zeina’s blog.

 

Like Zeina, I hope you can also get cracking on some engaging content for your business using keyword research!

 

Chatbot Content Strategy: #5 tips to nail your chatbot content

Brands need to speak to their customers…I mean literally. And chatbots have made this requirement a necessity for  brands to be a human-like part of their customer’s social circle. I have read it more that often – chatbots are the new marketing trend! agree (to some extent) but the complete statement would be something like this – chatbot is the new channel to continue the trend of personalized/customized marketing . I feel its very important to differentiate the channel and source to be sure of the cause and effect. 

I am uber excited as we (read our company) are joining the bandwagon and it is my part to develop kick ass content for the chatbot. And as I am in the process of doing that, this blog could not have come at a better time than this. So, here’s my take on the #5 essentials to create great chatbot content.

#1 What a chatbot is NOT?

Are you still stuck with the following definition of a chatbot?

“A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.”

Come out of it already! Step 1 of awesome chatbot content is to forget the mechanism behind it. Because if we are trying to humanize a machine language here, it will be almost like a human but not it. It is rather important for the chatbot content creator to take time and absorb the fact that he/she is not just providing mannered one liners to please the customer but is actually driving the conversation! when you realize that it changes the whole game. One very good example of this is Adidas Women UK – https://www.messenger.com/t/adidasWomenUK

This chatbot leads the conversation by giving you all possible options and does not really wait for you to punch in the request. As a result the conversations are not redundant, the experience is not a typical service desk one and you look forward to keep in touch.

#2 Show your Personality 

Not yours, your manager’s or the CEO’s personality….But your brand’s personality. If you are or were a marketing student, you’d remember the exercise of giving human attributes to brands like Coca Cola (happy/friendly), J&J (caring), BMW (perfectionist) and so on. Like me if you asked yourself why on earth are we doing this?!…behold, we finally have an answer (eeehhhaaaaaa). For noobs, read here about Brand Personality – https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/brand-personality.asp 

It is very important to take into consideration your brand personality when developing the chatbot content. Break out of the hackneyed tones of being overly friendly and pleasing (does not mean you be displeasing) but try out other befitting personality types like funny, witty, well informed, playful and spunky to name a few. JWOWW or Jenni from the reality show series Jersey Shores has infused her vivacious personality in the bot – https://www.messenger.com/t/JWoww  and its a superb way to connect.

#3 Don’t drag, put your best foot forward

People in services industry will relate to this. There are multiple services, for multiple requests, at multiple locations, during multiple times…you get the picture? It can be very tedious to frame all possible conversation scenarios and then make fitting content for each of them. For such cases, be sure not to overload the bot with content and make the conversation a long series of clicks for the customer. It is a must to streamline your offerings and areas of expertise for chatbot as a channel like you do it for other digital or traditional channels.

Also, try to add value to your customer’s life by focusing on what they are really looking for. Case in point, if you are a retailer with 50 branches in a city don’t make your bot a location finder for obvious reasons!

#4 Complete the circle

Don’t just market, also sell.

Scenario 1

customer – tell me about the current offer

bot – Our current offer is 30% direct discount on all beauty brands. you can avail the offer at all our branches and online, valid till end of the month. 

Hope I have answered your question, would you like to go back to the main menu?

Scenario 2

customer – tell me about the current offer

bot – Our current offer is 30% direct discount on all beauty brands. you can avail the offer at all our branches and online, valid till end of the month. 

Follow us/ Subscribe to never miss an offer update

Make the most of this offer now and get shopping online on www…

See the subtle but huge difference in the possible outcome of the two conversations?! Make sure the content is not just an information center but a resource that will benefit both the customer and the company.

Also, here are some amazing statistics to support the business profitability aspects:

Learn how chatbots can help your business be more profitable

  • 47% of consumers would buy items from a chatbot. (HubSpot, 2017)
  • 26-36 year olds are willing to spend up to £481.15 with a business via a chatbot interaction. (ubisend, 2017)
  • 37% of consumers would rather buy items via a company’s Facebook page than their website. (HubSpot, 2017)
  • Chatbots are expected to save banks between $0.50 and $0.70 per interaction. (Foye, 2017)
  • 45.8% of consumers would rather communicate with a business through a messaging app than email. (ubisend, 2016)
  • Chatbots could save businesses up to £6 billion per year cross industries. (Juniper Research, 2017)
  • 34% of executives say the time they freed up using chatbots allows them to focus on deep thinking and creating. (PwC, 2017)

source: https://blog.ubisend.com/optimise-chatbots/chatbot-statistics 

#5 Visuals before words

A debate on Human Vs Bots, bots will get a point for having visual content which (in today’s times) speaks louder than words…much louder. Here are some eye opening stats that prove visual content is the way to go;

  • An estimated 84 percent of communications will be visual by 2018.
  • An estimated 79 percent of internet traffic will be video content by 2018.
  • Posts that include images produce 650 percent higher engagement than text-only posts.
  • People are 85 percent more likely to buy a product after viewing a product video.
  • Posts with videos attract 3X more links than text-only posts.
  • Tumblr’s active user base has grown by 120 percent.
  • Pinterest’s active user base has grown by 111 percent.
  • Instagram’s active user base has grown by 64 percent.

source: https://medium.com/marketing-and-entrepreneurship/16-visual-content-marketing-statistics-that-will-wake-you-up-59c4c0b80465

This blog and my chatbot content exercise took a lot of dedicated effort and research. I am keen to know if this is helpful and you thoughts for further discussion.

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Who Would The Avengers Be In The World Of Digital Marketing? — The Comic Vault

2018 is looking to be a busy year for digital marketing, with brands searching for new ways to reach their customers and drive engagement. 2018 is also set to be a great year for superheroes and a film I’m looking forward to seeing is Avengers: Infinity War. Before I let my inner fanboy take over, […]

via Who Would The Avengers Be In The World Of Digital Marketing? — The Comic Vault

#5 Things Your New Website Should have and #5 Things It Shouldn’t

This post should begin like a horror movie….

BASED ON TRUE EVENTS

That’s all the effort i’m going to make to jazz up the post intro because i have used most of my time on the title 😛

OK, cut to chase! lately I have been directly, indirectly, passively and aggressively involved in building content for some websites. So, I can safely say that this post is based on my experience and thorough study of what a good website should and should not contain in terms of CONTENT. Now to lay the foundation correct, in this post I’m talking only about the content components which includes written, pictorial and visual form of information on your website. A website though contains many other factors like being device adaptive, SEO friendly and responsive but I will refrain from including these factors in this post. So here we go…

Your Website SHOULD Have:

#1 YOUR STORY

Now why would you say things like “to know more about us check our website www…” It’s not just a catch phrase. If you want people to know about you on your website, please tell them! I strongly feel that sections like About US, Our Story, Vision, Mission don’t get much attention (content wise) and end up being a drab part of the website that only has innovative adjectives to describe the business, company and leadership. But if you think of it, this part of your website is like a whiteboard where you can tell your story to the world in the most engaging way possible!

So don’t just use words…use keywords (all relevant ones), include real images ( not models) that prove your story and walk them through your journey using videos.

#2 CLARITY & FRESHNESS 

At times there could be a lot of things that you might want to tell your visitors like how you are different, what special offering you have, latest promotions, the new mobile app you just launched and so on… Having all details inside your world wide web identity does make sense but a clear distribution of content is a must so that your consumer is not lost in the clutter. Always include a site map that charts out the website’s contents for clear and easy navigation for the user.

Using fresh content in a variety of formats like a mix of text, infographic, image transitions and videos can cut the redundancy and monotone of content heavy websites making it an easy experience for the visitors.

#3 CALL TO ACTION

Loading your website with data and no proper call to action will end up making it an online repository of information that people can at best refer to. If you want people to use your website and use it regularly then add one click actions that they can take to get what they want! start by providing different means to contact you like phone, email, instant chat, contact form, etc. Invite them to join you social media community to be up to date with your offerings. Be proactive and lead them to the next actions by giving reminders, directions, multiple options and support services.

This obvious component of a website is not always obvious for developers who are masters of the subject. If possible, know from a sample of your target audience if the call to actions are clear, simple to understand and not misleading before going live.

#4  VISITOR’S FEEDBACK

The process of developing and finalizing a website can be overwhelming and so its completion might seem like a good riddance at first. But no! do not consider your website as a state-of-the-art creation that does not have a scope for improvement. The best part of websites with friendly content management systems is that you can change the content, images, videos, articles as seem fit even after your website is live. So why not change it basis your visitors’ feedback?! It is highly advisable to take a quick feedback from your users before they exit the website to be sure of their experience. It is also an effective way of making an otherwise static website more interactive and engaging.

#5 ORIGINALITY

This definitely does not deserve the last position here but I want this point to remain out there for us to ponder. There is no substitute to original content on your website! because you can only add value with original, authentic and helpful content that your users can rely on and look forward to. If they welcome your content…then you have arrived. Even in this context, content takes into account not only what you write but what everything that else that supports your writing like visuals. Include pictures from your life, work, pass time depending on the theme and purpose of the website to connect with people.

Refrain from using stock images with models who reside on multiple websites representing different things. Such attempts hamper the trust of your users even if the rest of your content is original. Use of videos to make your content personal and provide a gateway for users to know you better and relate.

 

Your Website SHOULD NOT Have:

#1 DEAD LINKS

This is borderline offensive you know…alluring someone successfully to take interest in your content and promising them a lot more at a click of the mouse only to show them – THE PAGE DOES NOT EXIST – really? Make sure your links exist and lead somewhere helpful. Having dead links can be frustrating for your users and can leave them with a bad experience on your website.

#2 DISTRACTIONS

There is text loaded….there is cluttered information and then there are distractions on website. Imagine sliding banners, flash screens, pop up screens, auto chats, audio offers, auto-play  videos all happening at the same time on your website. It will surely scare your user and the instant reaction will be to close the tab and move on. It is OK to have a variety of content on your website but try to emphasize on one or two at most at one time.

#3 DATED INFORMATION

Always be sure that the information being shared on your website is correct and up to date including the contact details, address, team members and news updates. Correct information is the cornerstone of authentic content on your website which the users can not only believe in but also rely on. Not updating the correct contact number or office address will not only reduce the users trust factor but can also hamper the business significantly.

#4 NO CAPTION IMAGES

Highly recommend including captions to the images that go on your website. This does not just make it easy for the visitors to related the images to the text but also believe in those images as real and conveying a message. When using pictures to tell a story with timeline always add the year and date if possible to showcase the legacy of your business or company.

#5 REPEAT CONTENT

This happens all the time and I’ve figured out why! The latest website templates and designs are more like an assembly of placeholders for your content. It definitely makes it easier for us to chose the right slot for the right information but then the situation comes when you are out of content and the slots are empty. And we commit the crime of repeating the same content to fill the empty spaces and justify it as repeat “visibility”.

2 things though – repeat content is more likely to spoil user experience and you can get rid of the extra spaces! customized templates allow enough moderation to use only what you want and remove the rest.

Hope this article is helpful. Let me know your thoughts and happy to learn more about websites 😀

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