Square Social on How Much Business Are You Missing Out On?

James Thomas, Square Social

In today’s economy, no method of generating sales should be looked down upon or ignored. Search Engine Optimisation is tried and tested, it’s been around since the dawn of time, well not literally – but you get my drift. What’s still very common however is a lack of understanding about all the moving pieces there are behind a successful search campaign.

Some of the tools and tricks employed by SEO Companies, are very simple, and can be learned by anyone. One of these tools in particular, the Google Keyword Tool (now Keyword Planner), is probably a tool that most of you are familiar with, or have at least heard of.

In this article I’m going to be showing you how you can use the Google Keyword Planner tool to determine how many of your customers are using Google to find and buy your product or service. By the end of this article, you’ll have a good idea of how much potential business you’re currently missing out on, if you aren’t currently using an SEO Agency or using a professional search consultant in house to run your SEO campaign.

Who Are Your Customers?

It might sound trivial, but this is the first question you need to ask yourself. It’s surprising how many businesses out there don’t have a clear picture of who their customers actually are. Figuring out exactly who your buyer is, is not only essential to SEO success, but ultimately your overall business success. This involves asking a lot of questions. If you’re a B2B provider for example, what does a lead look like to you? How big would that company be? What would they turnover? Who would your specific buyer be? All of these are questions that need to be answered before jumping into the big, bad SEO pond.

You might be asking why at this point. The answer is simple. If you know who your buyer is, you can cater to that buyer. The difference in buyer types can have a huge impact on the type of keywords you might optimise your SEO campaign for. For example, the nuances in how you might label a company. To take SEO services as an example, something we provide, a buyer typing in – ‘SEO Norwich’ is likely either a qualified prospect looking to purchase an SEO service local to Norwich, or perhaps another SEO company conducting research or checking rankings.

Alternatively, a high level marketing manager at a blue chip company might use different terminology. They are likely to type something like ‘SEO Agency’ into Google, because they know the term ‘agency’ is synonymous with the ‘type’ of provider they are likely to purchase from, they are also less likely to localize their search as this will hold less importance in their decision making process.

Once you’ve determined who your buyer is, you can start putting some thought into the type of language they would use and what they might type into Google to begin a search for your product or service.

What Are You Selling?

This is ultimately the most important question to be asked, and could also be phrased as – what is your objective? Many small businesses fall into the trap of rushing out and assuming that they need to be on Google, they need to do SEO and they need to do it now. This is effectively the same as setting up shop without a business plan or strategy in mind. Search engine optimisation might not be for everyone. Granted there are benefits for every business, but a full blown search campaign might not hold the same benefit to a local café that it would to a large accountancy firm. The local café probably generates the majority of its business from footfall, and word of mouth referrals, as such they would be better off investing their marketing spend in a social media campaign, or experiential marketing events.

Accountancy on the other hand, is a reactive purchase. At Square Social we define a reactive purchase as: “A purchase initiated by a spontaneous need or desire for a product or service”. The best example I can provide is – you’ve just come to the end of the first financial year for your start-up business and have no idea how to file your annual return, so you need to employ the services of an accountant as soon as possible. On that note, I never miss the opportunity to promote our accountants who are fantastic, so I'll save you the trouble of running an accountants Norwich search and just send you over to Murrells Accountants from this article!

This is in contrast to a meditated, analytical buying process, the type of process you go through when buying a house, or picking a health care plan for example. If you would class your product or service as reactive, you need to running an SEO campaign.

So that’s why it’s important to figure out what it is exactly that you are selling. You’ll want to ask yourself a series of questions before proceeding any further with this. What are our best performing products? What are we trying to accomplish with our SEO campaign? Do we want to drive traffic or make sales? Once you’ve figured out what your objectives is, as with figuring out your buyer type, you need to put yourself in the mind of your buyer and decide on the type of terminology or wording they would use to run a search for your product or service.

Do Your Research

After you’ve figured out who your customer is and what your product or service is, the next step is to head over to the Google Keyword Planner and begin some preliminary research.

As my colleague David discussed in his article Square Social on The New Keyword Planner, there are a number of ways you can begin your research.

I like to get straight to the point and I like things kept simple, so naturally my preference is to just begin typing in keywords and looking at the lay of the land so to speak. This would be option 2, enter a keyword to see how it performs. If you’ve got a basic idea already of whom your customer is and what they might be searching for, you can begin typing in keywords and looking at the traffic they receive. Many SEO’s advocate many different things, my advice is to always use an exact match search. This means you’ll get an absolutely accurate picture of the amount of traffic that keyword receives, rather than having your perception skewed by a broad match figure which might completely throw your sales projections.

When checking the search volumes for your keywords, you can even now see how the keyword has performed over a 12 month period by hovering your mouse over the little graph symbol, illustrated below.

By using the Keyword Planner tool you can begin to get a basic overview of how much potential business there is for the taking out there on Google and if an SEO campaign is something you should be seriously considering investing in.

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