This interview with Digital Marketing Strategist, Jake Jordan, is part of the Convirza Webinar Series. The following is the Q&A portion of the interview.
McKay: Awesome, Jake. That was really great information. We really appreciate that. There are a few questions coming in, so I just want to start to ask a few of these, if that’s OK with you, sir?
McKay: Let’s break into the questions, Jake.
First question: You used a lot of different tools to really gather research. You mentioned the tools at the end, but you also advocate going into LinkedIn groups, asking questions. If someone is going to … if someone’s just getting started, I guess is the best way to put it, maybe starting their research; they’ve maybe got a website but they don’t really know where to go next, what would you advocate doing? Is it a matter of just starting with those sites you recommend and starting the research process from there, or how does someone just get started from the ground level of this keyword research stuff?
Jake: I think that’s a good way to think about it. I think a lot of people, like I said, complicate the process. I think simple is the best way for most everybody. That means starting with … like I said, LinkedIn is really one of my favorite places to go jump into your market and find out what people are talking about. The key there is to make sure you’re thinking about ancillary businesses, businesses that aren’t your own, but that are the target of your demographic, the people you’re trying to reach.
I would recommend the Google Keyword tool; it’s free. It’s a great place to start research. LinkedIn as a very basic market thermometer to see what’s going on, and then taking the subjects and things that you find in there, along with whatever you brainstorm on your whiteboard; going into the keyword tool and just seeing what it gives you. What we’re looking for to start is subject to areas that we can cover or that we may already even have content for, that we can go out and optimize our site for and look for keywords around those subjects.
I think the other thing that I might mention would be the … sorry, I’m going on a side thing here, is just to make sure that you are spending time in traditional market research before you use any tool. When you get out into the internet, into the specialist, gosh, the social atmosphere, it’s really easy to get lost just because there’s so much going on. Just knowing what you’re looking for, who your target is, and then just going real simple and in finding what do people want to know about my industry that I’m trying to sell to?
McKay: That’s great. That’s good information. In terms of how content plays a role in all of this; obviously, one of the tactical moves after doing keyword research, or maybe even as a part of it, would be content production around SEO How does content marketing play a role in this whole keyword research idea; before, after, during, etc.?
Jake: Content strategy is the big buzz phrase; it’s all over the place. I think the reason that is, is because the internet has made it extremely simple for anyone to become a publisher and anyone to become a photographer or journalist with all the social tools that we have out there. If you’re looking at things from a top-down perspective; if you’re an owner of a business, if you’re a C-level, if you’re someone who is dealing in a lot of that, I think it’s important to have a content strategy in mind after you’ve done your first research. It’s easy to get pulled off in directions based on what you think you should be sharing instead of listening to what your customer is telling you they want to know. After that initial market research phase is done, yeah, that gets very important.
As I was streaming through the insurance stuff this morning on keyword research, I saw several blog topics that were good fits for our clients. Just because you’re in keyword research doesn’t mean you can’t be thinking about content strategy. Once you get done with keyword research and you know the subject areas, to me, it’s just a handshake to whoever’s running that content, because here’s what people are looking for, here’s some keywords and some subjects that were being talked about. Let’s hand it off and let them attack those different subject areas. We can obviously get very, very wide in content strategy and all different things. If you can promote all sorts of different types of content, but the important part is, number one, are you covering something that people want to hear about, and number two, are you doing it in a manner that is valuable to them?
McKay: That’s great. A couple more questions, and then we’ll let everybody get back to the rest of their day.
In terms of keyword research, what are the biggest mistakes you see people make? Is it a lack of research? Is it research in the wrong places or deriving the wrong conclusions from the research? Where are the mistakes with keyword research that you see other agencies or maybe clients make?
Jake: The soapbox I’m on today is about research. Without beating a dead horse here, that’s the big thing. You’ve got to know who you’re looking for; you’ve got to know what they need. The only way to do that is to ask and find out. Past that, I would say probably more from a tactical perspective; I think a lot of people get lost in the forest because of the trees. They just see all these different avenues that they can pursue.
Honestly, you get better at it with practice, which is a horrible thing to say. Just go out there and do some. There are tons, and tons, and tons of good, good blog information about how to tactically do keyword research out there. Like I mentioned, Moz.com has a lot of information around that.
I would say is the biggest mistake is not doing enough research, so they don’t know what they’re looking for. Not doing extensive enough research. Don’t just stop at the first group; don’t just stop at the first set of people. Probably number two is testing. In the long-run, we do initial keyword research for clients. When we’re done, we theme the pages out and we start developing content and social around it.
You’ve got to see what’s working and what’s not working, and be willing to go back and adjust the keywords, and maybe even adjust the subjects because you just had it wrong or it was something trendy and it went away. You’ve got to be willing to test and look at analytics, and go, “OK. The user intent, I thought, was not the same.” It’s that whole listening piece; adjusting when you see what’s working and what’s not working. I think a lot of people set it and forget it. With the technology we have, we have tools that do all that for us and spoon-feed us the information. All we have to do is take the time to break it down a little bit.
McKay: That’s great.
Jake: The final point I want to make is that we’re using tracking numbers to go all the way back to the find the keywords that they type, to the web pages they landed on, to the phone number that they used that we can track that and even connect it on the backend with our point of sale. Later, we find out what’s going on from keyword research through a tool like Convirza, which has been really valuable on an analytics standpoint.
McKay: That’s awesome. Thanks for that, too, Jake. We appreciate it.