You know what you’re doing on the back end of a blog. You’ve got meta and featured images, links and alt tags. And you don’t let a post leave your dashboard without a strong keyword focus. But is that enough?
Not if your aim is to attract your ideal customers. Because real people, like you and me, aren’t seduced by a second page Google listing. And we know a generic keyword phrase when we scroll through results. Because we are smart and savvy and really, really good looking.
That’s why today we’re going to look at how you can better use keywords to attract customers and clients to your company’s site.
Let’s start with our motivation.
Why do we search?
We search to find:
- Answers to questions
- Solutions to problems
- Resolutions to dilemmas
What does that mean for us company bloggers?
That we need to start with the problem.
Instead of using keywords you think people use in their searches (maybe you’re using a list of the things you sell), think about what problems your customers or clients are trying to solve - and how you can solve them.
Their problem is your anchor and your whole blog ship needs to hang on it.
Let’s use a dilemma from own personal diy life, which I wrote about extensively last week.
In our new perennially under construction home we have a basement floor to finish and we’ve gone around and around on how finish it. One of the options we considered was a poured concrete floor, but we also looked at laminate and tile. Here’s what I found when I searched “concrete flooring vs laminate.”
Well look at that.
I thought a concrete floor would be good a basement with a history of wetness. I didn’t even consider that it could be pretty too. The blog above (which is really a simple chart I excerpted) focused on my dilemma in the headline, the lede and the body of the comparison chart with targeted longtail keyword phrases like:
- concrete versus other flooring materials
- compare stained concrete
- what colors are available
They also included individual keywords like:
- wall-to-wall carpet
- ceramic tile
(If you work in design and build, say you make decorative concrete tiles, you’re not going to attract customers with only those single keywords like “tile.” The monster box stores will crush you in search. We’ll explain in a future blog how to tell if a word is too difficult to rank for.)
These individual words like “laminate” help to support the keyword focus of your blog, but they are not your center. Your customer’s problem is.
To show you that this applies to all industries, here’s bit I love from Steve Woodruff, who does a lot of work in pharma, where he offers a service called Clarity Therapy to executives and brands that need to focus their strategy and messaging.
“What is your customer’s pain? Can you articulate it? Here's why it matters - because pain and an open wallet go hand-in-hand!
“What business pain are you addressing? Cash flow? Ineffective marketing? Hiring talent? Supply chain woes? Let's be sure we speak to our clients in terms of the difficulty they are feeling, not just the advantages we feel are important.”’
The focus of your blog should be your customers’ problems and your customers’ problems should be your keywords.
Take this example from one of our clients, Polycor, a North American natural stone quarrier. Last year the company rolled out their ultra-thin reinforced slabs of natural stone, only 1 cm thick and yet 10x the flexural strength of regular slabs of stone. We knew from speaking to fabricators that any new material is met by skepticism. So we generated a list of 10 questions a fabricator would have when a designer asks him or her to cut a new material.
What’s the difference in fabrication of natural thin stone and manufactured materials like porcelain?
Does Thin Stone require special handling?
What tools do I need to fabricate it with?
This was a vehicle to harness anyone searching the answer to their dilemma (porcelain vs stone), their questions (can I carry it on edge?) and their problems (porcelain required me to get new tools, will this?). It also gave designers something to take with them to fabricators who might say, “You can’t clad drawers in stone.” Because, in fact, now you can.
Removing obstacles fabricators might face in working with the material, and obstacles designers might have in getting their fabricators on board with the material, was more effective than blasting our audience with new products news, which we knew they would tune out. Or even mistrust. Because we, searchers of the internet, don’t want to be sold to. We just want answers and solutions. We want to know how our lives will be better when we make our choice to purchase.
Today’s takeaway is simple: You’re clear about who your customer is, now be clear about her pain.