SEO can seem like a battle of wits between the content creator and a faceless, malevolent algorithm. It doesn’t have to be that way. Smart use of social media tools and metrics can make your SEO strategy about getting the clicks that count from the people who buy.
Keyword-based SEO: blending in with the crowd
Keyword research is the traditional starting point when creating SEO-friendly content. Keywords can predict the potential relevance and resonance of content, but they only tell part of the story. Social listening completes the story by revealing the intent behind the searched keywords. An ideal content strategy utilizes both keyword and social listening tools.
Tools like (Adwords) Keyword Planner offer only quantitative data about what goes into the search engine, not how the people who use it are thinking.
Let’s say you sell organic dog food. Normally, you would start by researching traffic for terms like “organic,” “dog food,” and, as it may not shock you, “organic dog food.” The marketplace is crowded. There is only so much you can do to get your share of that traffic. Keyword research may turn up related search terms, but they all share the same problem: everyone sees the same list you do. Automatically. How do you stand out in a crowd with a strategy like that?
Not only are you stuck duking it out with the rest of your industry over those clicks, you risk not connecting with your audience if you create a campaign based on assumptions rather than on customer sentiment. You know people are searching for organic dog food, now you need to figure out how people are talking about organic dog food.
Social listening can break the keyword logjam
Qualitative information about your customers can let you know what they are looking for. It can uncover who is finding your website – and who you missed. Your goal should be to know what your customers want before they come to your website. That way, when potential customers arrive, they find exactly what they’re looking for.
Social Listening tools can give you a broader picture of what drives people to switch dog food brands by uncovering the casual conversations that real consumers have about you, your competition, and the factors that sway their decision-making. A broad social listening approach can identify the common experiences and sentiments that you can then in turn cater to. Consumers are out there making public statements about exactly about what they want and how they feel. Listen to them!
Catering to the pain points
In our dog food example, social listening might discover that many consumers have been talking about pet foods that contain unhealthy and unnatural ingredients.
Knowing that customer pain point, go deeper and research its origins. You find that a popular YouTube vlogger has been doing a weekly series called “Doggie Delight or Pooch Poison?” in which she discusses unpronounceable ingredients and their supposed health effects to pets. Every week, hundreds of thousands of people check the labels to see whether their beloved pup is eating something that sounds like it was invented in a lab.
With this information, you can find new keyword clusters that reach the right audiences with less competition. Instead of looking for keywords about your product, focus on keywords around the ingredients this vlogger is getting pet owners in a tizzy over. Create content which speaks to the benefits of dog food with wholesome, natural ingredients. Assure customers that your product does not have the controversial additives.
Unilever’s “All Things Hair” campaign is a testament to the benefits of using social listening in keyword research. Data analysis revealed there are close to one billion monthly searches related to hair care. Recognizing the enormous need for information, Unilever hired influential vloggers to respond to questions about hair in real time based on rising search queries.