Although Google keeps changing its algorithm now and then, one thing that has remained consistent for inbound marketers looking to optimise their websites is keyword research.
Keywords are the foundation of SEO, and without them, your marketing efforts will be futile. So, how do you find the right keywords for your content? In this blog post, we will be sharing with you our comprehensive guide on how to do keyword research for SEO.
Or, watch the video here:
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the process of finding, analyzing, and comparing search terms that customers enter into search engines.
The data collected from this exercise helps marketers understand the language that their customers use when searching for products, services, or content. It also helps uncover queries to target their popularity and their ranking.
How to research keywords for your SEO strategy
To establish and execute a strong keyword strategy, here is a three-step process that you can use.
1. Think about your prospects and customers
Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer personas and think about the type of topics that they would search for to find your business. For example, if your company sells marketing software, then your prospective clients most probably search for topics like SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, blogging, lead generation, etc. These topics are the foundation of your keyword research process, and they are important in defining your niche.
Next, write down a list of problems and challenges that your target customer is trying to solve and how your products and services can be of use to them. This will help you come up with keyword phrases that people are most likely to use when searching for your products.
2. Run a keyword search
Once you’ve established your seed keywords, you’ll need to run a keyword search to further refine your search terms. This will help you get a wider perspective for your content without getting too bogged down with keywords. The best way to do this is by using keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and SEM Rush.
Google Keyword Planner is the most popular research tool in the market. It is free to use, and it is also smart enough to show you keyword ideas that don’t necessarily contain your seed keywords. All you have to do is type in a seed keyword into the search box and it will generate a list of alternative keywords, including those containing questions and prepositions.
3. Sort through the results and choose your keywords
Keyword research tools generate hundreds of keywords at a time, so you must sort through the results to find the most suitable ones for your SEO strategy. To do this, you need to understand how user intent affects keyword research and analyze it accordingly.
Keywords have different meanings, so you need to be very careful how you interpret the keywords you target. For example, the keyword ‘blog’ can refer to a blog post or the website itself. Therefore, when writing an article about how to start a blog, understanding the searcher’s intent will influence the direction of your content. If you are unsure what a user’s intent is in a keyword, enter the keyword into a search engine to see what type of results come up.
One of the other things you have to consider when picking your keywords is the metrics. Look for keywords with decent volume and low to medium competition, especially if your business is new and you are just getting started with SEO. If you plan on using other marketing methods such as CPC, it is worth considering the CPC bid price of a keyword before settling on it.
Speak to an SEO consultant
Challis Marketing provides B2B companies with SEO marketing services that help companies achieve traffic growth and their lead generation objectives. For more information about our services, please get in touch with us today.
To answer the question ‘What does an SEO consultant do?’ we look at details of the SEO consultant role and what results you should expect.
To compete effectively you must have a firm grip on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) theories and practices. This is why you should consider hiring SEO experts, leading to the question ‘What does an SEO consultant do?’.
This article answers that but also shows the advantages of bringing in SEO help. As well as providing you with important tips on what to look for when hiring an SEO consultant.
What is an SEO Consultant?
To find information on products, services and locations, users rely heavily on getting help from search engines; primarily Google.
There’s a site to show how many Google searches there have been today. Seeing that figure rocket to the millions each day gives context to why SEO is so important to businesses.
To get your products high in search results you need to build the three pillars of SEO which are Authority, Relevance, and Trust.
A freelance SEO consultant is a professional well versed in the science behind search engines. They are also a digital marketing expert who’s not part of a large agency.
How does an SEO Consultant Organise Their Work?
What does an SEO consultant do with their advanced insights and abilities? They apply them brilliantly to your individual business goals and needs.
Every organisation is different, and each has its own ‘ideal customer’ who searches for relevant products or services. The right SEO consultant for you will connect the dots; making sure your digital marketing reaches the right audience via search engines, in a way that compels users to click on your links.
An SEO consultant generally organising their activities into four categories:
1. Strategy and Planning 2. Technical SEO 3. Content and On-Page SEO 4. Off-Page SEO
SEO Strategy and Planning
SEO is not something you ‘do’ once. It’s a continuous process. That includes keeping up to date on the way internet users and Google assess the authority of search answers. As well as the often-varying ways people frame search questions.
Search behaviours can also differ across devices. For example, voice searches are become more common, using the ever-growing range of handsfree technology.
This means an SEO Consultant would start off by creating an individualised strategy and plan for your organisation. One that drills down on the behaviours and decision-making processes of your specific target audience.
What does an SEO consultant do with this plan? They can either provide your organisation with the skills to action it or deliver its activities themselves. What is vital, is that this SEO plan is continuously evaluated and updated. Including how well you’re performing against the primary SEO methods outlined below.
Your website architecture (the way it’s designed and built) has a role to play in creating strong SEO. There are multiple tasks you can perform within your website’s layout to give search engines’ complex algorithms the right markers to find, read, and measure your pages’ topicality.
Content and On-Page SEO
The most fundamental of all SEO assets is relevant and unique content. This builds your ‘authority’ when Google ranks pages.
At one time you could ‘stuff’ website pages with keywords to artificially inflate your position in search results. Now, your SEO consultant helps you to create trustworthy product descriptions, articles, blogs and other content that boost your on-page SEO.
This is possibly one of the least understood methods of building strong SEO. It involves the creation of links on third-party websites. However, these days this must involve an authentic relationship and value-added content exchange.
What does an SEO consultant do to build off-page SEO? It can include a range of activities, including placement of guests blogs and articles, and mutually beneficial joint ventures with third parties that help drive traffic to your site and support good SEO.
Off-page SEO also looks carefully at the ways your pages appear in search results, ensuring what searchers see is compelling enough to make them click on your site.
What Does an SEO Consultant do for Businesses?
An SEO consultant’s role often starts with firming up and possibly developing your brand and your product portfolio, in terms of what consumers may search for.
They would then develop a strategy and plan that revolves around your business aims and the products you sell. Including activities from the list outlined above.
However, the ultimate goal would be to ensure that your products or services are consistently high in search results – at least in the top 5 but preferably top spot. Not temporarily, but always!
This increases leads – from the users most likely to buy your products and services – and grows your business.
What Results Can You Expect from an SEO Consultant?
From gaining greater insights into how SEO works you can start to appreciate the best ways to measure how effective your SEO consultant is. Make sure that they:
Establish a strategy and a plan
This must be totally attuned to your products, brand, and business goals. As well as any budget restraints on paid-for SEO activities.
Improve overall website metrics
What does an SEO consultant do in terms of monitoring your plan’s success? You can evaluate SEO against a series of values, including website authority over time, click-through rates, domain rating and your URL rating. Traffic analytics highlight what is working best, and what needs to be improved.
Increase organic search traffic to the website
This is the core way to measure SEO success. How well your pages perform in organic searches and therefore in lead generation.
Increase the number of leads and newsletter subscribers from organic search
Each organisation has a different concept of ‘leads’, so you may want SEO to create more potential purchasers or more subscribers to your newsletter for example.
Improve visibility of the website across chosen topics
This comes down to whether your consultant is making your website easier to find, by your target audiences.
Improve rankings of chosen keywords
This measure of a consultant’s effectiveness comes down to evaluating success against aims in your digital marketing plan. Are you now higher in search results connected to your products?
To get the sort of results you need, our tiered charges for SEO are:
£1,000 p/month for a basic service – where perhaps you only need one or two elements of a full SEO service, including that essential bespoke SEO strategy and plan.
£2,000 p/month for a comprehensive SEO service, suitable for most SME’s, which includes extensive help in developing SEO-rich content, vital backlinks and ongoing assessment.
£3,5000 p/month for an enterprise, fast growth or an e-commerce service, which focuses on both SEO best practice for organic website traffic but also carefully managed paid search activities.
Should I work with an SEO Consultant, an SEO Agency or an in-house SEO employee?
You have a choice of ways to add more SEO expertise to your organisation.
The benefits of working with an SEO Consultant
These tend to be highly experienced professionals with in-depth knowledge of the hundreds of factors Google uses to rank page authority. They can tailor SEO solutions to the individual goals of clients, and introduce ways to continuously evaluate and build SEO success.
They are often more cost-effective and less of a time burden than recruiting an SEO specialist. There is no training requirement, and they grow and enhance their skills in their own time!
Plus, using SEO consultants gives you a degree of flexibility, and you can vary the level of involvement/cost over time.
The benefits of working with an SEO Agency
For larger and more complex organisations, buying in the services of an SEO agency can make sense. For example, you may need multiple SEO practitioners to work with different Product Managers or to craft major campaigns.
You also have the benefit of a whole SEO account team to support your digital marketing year-round.
The benefits of hiring an SEO Employee
Having an employee dedicated to SEO activities is a luxury few organisations can afford. If your pockets are deep enough, it enables you to totally immerse your SEO executive in your brand, goals and integrated digital campaigns.
What does an SEO consultant do? Find out
To discuss your business aims and the ways an SEO consultant can help you to develop your digital marketing and lead generation, please contact Challis Marketing.
An Engineering Marketing Strategy Built On Foundations To Last
So, you’re in charge of marketing for an engineering company – good for you! By now, you’re probably familiar with the love/hate relationship that engineering leaders have with marketing. They know it’s crucial to the success of the business but it seems too ‘fluffy’ (we know it isn’t) and it can be difficult to get the answers you need from the top.
Instead of investing your time and resources into one-off activities, the best marketers have a solid engineering marketing strategy that engages specific technical target audiences, delivers a consistent flow of high-quality leads to help fuel new sales opportunities.
We’ve got you covered, with a 10-step engineering marketing strategy. Find out what steps you need to take to build a comprehensive marketing plan.
1. Craft a Positioning Statement
In technical markets, a generalist approach is never sufficient if you want your business to grow. When your target audience is primarily engineers who work on specialised projects and critical applications, they need expert advice and proven solutions – not a general direction.
Establishing your business as one that can be trusted, starts with having a clear position and message. Crafting a strong positioning statement shows customers how your service or solution fills a need in a way that your competition doesn’t.
When developing your positioning statement, consider the following elements:
Who are your potential engineering and scientific customers? (Think beyond your current customers and projects).
Where will you find their industries and types of organisations?
Why do they need a solution or expert advice? What are their application pain points?
What is your solution to the problem they face?
How will you successfully create and execute those solutions?
Unlike – What are the drawbacks of competitor solutions?
Differentiation – What distinctively and uniquely sets your company apart from others?
A clear positioning statement allows you to strengthen your position within the market, differentiate, and build trust with your technical audiences seeking expertise.
2. Know your Business and Marketing Goals
To create goals that have a chance of succeeding, make them SMART. SMART goals are:
Specific – Be specific about what you want to accomplish
Measurable – Include metrics that are measurable
Achievable – Do you have the skills and resources needed to achieve your goal?
Relevant – Make sure your marketing goals are relevant to the overall business goals
Time-Specific – Choose a target date for achieving the goal
With clearly defined business goals and objectives in place, you’ll have a greater insight when building a marketing strategy and measuring your results. Having a sound marketing strategy aligned with your business goals will help you to:
Create awareness for your company, including the products and services you offer.
Drive website traffic and leads.
Generate new sales opportunities that match your company’s target audience profile.
3. Develop Your Customer Personas
Customer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers including insights, such as:
Regardless of whether your business is a small startup or a large corporate, breaking down your pool of potential customers into distinct segments ensures your marketing and brand messaging resonates with your prospects.
When developing your personas for your engineering marketing strategy consider:
The types of companies you want to reach
The industries they are in
Their geographic locations
Any specific pain points
Having a clear representation of your ideal customer persona allows you to develop a deeper understanding of your prospective customers.
4. Think Inbound
With the power of Google, gaining exposure and driving traffic towards your site and securing coverage on technical web publications shouldn’t be underestimated.
Inbound marketing – or “pull” marketing involved harnesses the power of content marketing, social media marketing and SEO to draw customers to your products and services. According to TREW Marketing, 76% of engineers claimed that a Google search was the method they used often or most often to find content related to their work or industry online.
For that reason alone, it’s critical that engineers and technical specialists find your content when searching online. By committing to providing high-quality content, inbound marketing allows you to drive a consistent and long-term flow of leads at a fraction of the cost of any outbound engineering marketing strategy.
5. Work Out the Most Effective Channels
It’s important to look at all channels with an open mind when creating your engineering marketing strategy. You don’t have to leverage every channel to see results. Look closely at your personas and identify the places where they’re most active so your content can reach them directly.
Here are a few marketing channels for ideas when planning your strategy:
Content– Free or gated content such as blog posts, white papers, case studies, video, and landing pages designed to attract visitors to your website and generate leads.
Web – Enhance existing or create new web content, including feature graphics, new landing pages, and cross-promotion on other relevant pages on your website.
SEO – Continuously implement SEO keywords into your web copy and content.
Email Marketing – Create targeted email campaigns and e-newsletters to follow-up on leads.
Social Media – Share your content and amplify your engagement with your target audience on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.
Public Relations – Deliver news releases, interviews and media outreach.
Advertising – Consider using online paid search (such as Google AdWords) and print advertisements.
Events – Attend trade shows, industry-specific conferences and speaking engagements.
To help you pinpoint the best channels that will allow you to meet your goals, identify where your marketing campaign falls on the sales funnel. For example, if your campaign focuses on growing brand awareness, ‘top of the funnel’ activities such as blogging, SEO and social media are your best bet to achieve the greatest results and highest return.
6. Audit your Website
From a marketing point of view, your website is the hub of all of your business’ activities and is the main source for generating leads and establishing your online-brand message. Conducting a website audit allows you to examine the performance of each web page based on SEO and design and how you can improve to boost its effectiveness.
As an engineering company, your website must effectively engage other engineers. A visually outdated website with complicated or unfriendly user-navigation will turn visitors away.
A site that doesn’t offer regularly updated information or has low quality content that isn’t useful to the needs of the target audience will have a similarly negative effect in hurting your brand and your business.
Performing a thorough site audit can help you properly serve the different visitor groups that come to your website, from existing customers, prospective buyers, partners, even down to prospective employees.
When auditing your company website, consider:
The quality of your content. Does the content on your site leave your visitors satisfied?
Your website speed. Are there long loading waits and slow server response times?
Your site design. Does your website convey your unique value to prospects?
Your conversion rate. How effective is your site at converting visitors into sales?
7. Create a Content Plan
The reality for many technical business leaders is that they are too busy to stop, focus, discuss, debate and then agree on a comprehensive marketing strategy. But, without planning and having a sound engineering marketing strategy, how can you know where you are going and what you need to do to get there?
Acting reactively and taking a risky leap will only lead to mediocre results and higher costs in time, money, stress and frustration for everyone on your team involved. Taking the time to precisely define your marketing goals, the results you want to measure, and a plan of execution will pay off in a way that delivers the ROI that you need and expect from your efforts.
Turn your marketing strategy into an execution plan by using a well-planned campaign structure. This approach will give you and your team the big picture when it comes to the content that will be created and distributed.
This approach allows you to organise your content into themes and topics that your target market will find most valuable. With a content plan, you can also create efficiencies that allow you to align your media channels, publish content at the best times and help you determine which content can be reused for the greatest impact.
8. Align Sales & Marketing
Sales and marketing alignment is a long-term strategy. Digital marketing has transformed the way that businesses can gather insights from the rate at which visitors convert to leads to how often leads become sales opportunities. Despite that, many marketers still have difficulty defining expected outcomes from their marketing and ROI.
According to results from a survey conducted in May 2014 by MIT Sloan Management Review, marketing professionals are being pressured to become more data driven and analytical in order to better determine their ROI. Regardless whether your business is technical or not, aligning your sales and marketing is crucial.
To do this effectively, you must coordinate your sales process with your marketing campaigns. Promoting new offers and content can be an excellent tool for marketers, so it’s always essential that the communication between the marketing and sales teams are clear and transparent. Consider having the two teams attend respective meetings and facilitate alignment training if needed.
The benefits of doing this are that through customer feedback, your buyer persona, and a well-defined marketing strategy you will have a clear map of the customer journey and a much better understanding of how your business can best serve the needs of your customers.
9. Automate your Processes
Today, most buying processes now occur online and companies are starting to transition their marketing efforts online more and more.
Marketing automation is the term given to the software platform that enables greater efficiency and effectiveness of reporting, lead nurturing, and overall campaign execution. As a web-hosted platform, marketing automation includes email marketing, SEO, content publication, contacts database hosting and CRM integration.
There are 3 main ways that marketing automation can be put into practice:
Gathering and maintaining intelligence through a marketing contact database.
Increasing conversion rates with lead forms.
Nurturing to qualify contacts through automated and batch email marketing.
At its core, marketing automation is all about nurturing rather than selling. It promotes an approach that favours quality, valuable, personalised content that squarely aligns with what your target audience are looking for. Implementing marketing automation is bound to make this process simpler and more efficient.
10. Measure and Evaluate
Whether you’re a new technical SME or a large scale engineering organisation measuring and evaluating your marketing performance is the best way to ensure that you are meeting your performance goals.
As part of your performance evaluation it’s important to reflect on your marketing strategy as a whole. Revisit your business goals on a quarterly basis and ask yourself if you’ve met them or if you’re still on track to meet them.
Calculating the quality of your leads and sales readiness through lead scoring can allow you to prioritise the contacts within your database based on the level of their engagement with your content. Having learned information will allow you to understand how well, and to what extent, they align with your customer personas.
By measuring and evaluating if a contact is a strong match for your business goals and your persona you have a chance to reach out and convert that lead into a sale. To best implement lead scoring, establish a robust criteria that examines explicit profile data, such as industry, job title, and company size.
On top of that, measuring your marketing ROI through integrated analytics grants you access to database contacts, the number of marketing qualified leads, leads generated by month, blog traffic and backlink traffic. Integrated analytics and marketing automation platforms simplify marketing measurement to make sure your engineering marketing strategy is always focused on your business goals and objectives.
Create your Engineering Marketing Strategy with Challis Marketing
You need a marketing strategy that successfully engages your specific technical target audiences while simultaneously delivering a consistent flow of high-quality leads to help fuel any new sales opportunities that may appear.
Now that you have a solid understanding of how to create a killer engineering marketing strategy, it’s time to leave the days of poor planning behind. Get in touch with Challis Marketing today to find out how we can help you promote your business online, generate high-quality leads, and automate your sales and marketing processes.
Have you tried inbound tactics but failed to produce results? Perhaps you published blogs, SEO optimized your website or emailed your existing list of clients with little to no effect..?
You’re not alone. Most companies hear good stories about inbound marketing tactics but when it comes to actually implementing the practice, they find that nothing comes of it. It’s usually either down to the strategy not being properly aligned to the businesses, or the results not being tracked through the marketing and sales funnel to prove the ROI.
The inbound marketing process
Why is inbound marketing effective for technical companies?
Before we dive into our inbound marketing best practice for technical companies, let’s take it back to basics.
Inbound marketing generates high quality leads by providing valuable content that assists potential customers through the buyer’s journey.
Some examples of typical inbound activities are; content downloads e.g. ebooks, blogs, email marketing including nurturing leads and social media.
By providing informative content that reflects your innovative products or services, you can help your business to stand out in the industry:
Effective blogs can teach and explain complicated concepts or features in an easy to digest format. This helps to improve product understanding.
Buyer personas can help you to specifically target the right audience with the right messages and information to meet their needs
Workflows guide people through the sales funnel and makes less work for your sales team.
Lead nurturing reduces the need for outbound outreach. You will save money on unnecessary ad campaigns!
Here are the top 5 inbound marketing best practices for technical companies
1. Develop buyer personas
Are you confident that you really know who your customers are? Identifying and knowing your audience and using this information to create buyer personas is essential to any successful inbound marketing strategy.
Buyer personas are generalised representations of your ideal customers and should be developed using insight from your customer database and market research. By understanding who your ideal customer is, you can then tailor the content and messaging that you create to appeal directly to your target audience. When creating your buyer persona, it is key that you make sure your ideal buyer persona provides answers the following:
Who are they? Think about their demographics
Do they currently use your technology?
How tech savvy are they?
What features are important when purchasing a technology product?
What are the common objections to purchasing a new technology?
How often do they upgrade/replace their current technology?
2. Create valuable content
Creating valuable content and creating it frequently is a golden opportunity for technical companies to really connect with their audience and show off their expertise.
The engineering and technologies industries can often be a minefield of complex terms and acronyms. Keep in mind that your audience may have varying degrees of knowledge. Therefore, creating content is the perfect time to lose the unnecessary jargon and make the complex simple.
Developing content that discuss the latest technology trends or webinars that demonstrates how to use fascinating technology is a great way to create audience awareness. However, as you move further down the sales funnel content that provides the answers to the what, how and why of a technology product can add value and help to convince potential customers.
3. SEO optimize your content for search
Your customers are definitely searching for solutions to their problems on Google.
Put yourself into their shoes and think about what questions they’d ask. You can use use various online tools to find commonly searched keywords in your industry. For example, they might ask:
How does X new technology work?
What is the difference between (your competitor) and (you)?
How do I xxxx? (your business is the answer!)
Once you’ve decided to the right keyphrase for your content, you need to optimize the content by adding the keyphrase into prominent areas of the website including the title, url and headers.
4. Use well thought-out calls to actions
For a technical company, a call to action (CTA) provides the perfect opportunity to provide higher-value downloadable content that demonstrates how your product can solve a potential customers problem. By using a CTA to provide the content, you can successfully generate quality leads for your business.
Example offers that you could use as CTAs:
Your CTA should be the first thing a visitor sees when the click on your page so make it obvious! By using a contrasting or bright colour and making it big enough to stand out you can catch the visitors attention. Additionally, action-orientated words that clearly indicate what the CTA is offering should be used.
5. Nurture your leads
In technical industries, the purchase value is often higher, and this can mean a longer sales cycle. Therefore nurturing leads through to conversion is essential. Not all leads will be ready to buy straightaway, and some may take longer to nurture than others.
To nurture your leads the ‘inbound way’ you should work with your prospects rather than push them to purchase. Using an email workflow automation is an effective way for tech companies to nurture their leads that will keep your business in the customers minds. When carrying out an email workflow automation you should:
Tailor your content– educational and solution orientated for top of funnel and solution orientated for middle of funnel
Establish a personal connection by nurturing person to person not company to company. What are they looking for in your technology?
Don’t over promise. Don’t overestimate what your technology can provide
Use specific language that clearly explains what the benefit of your product. Now is the time to introduce more technical aspects.
Let’s imagine you’re starting a business from scratch and you want to find customers. You need to know where they go, what they talk about and who they talk to in order to promote your business.
One of the best places to start is social media. Why? Because your customers are already there. Now all you need to do is lead them from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn onto your website.
The benefits of using social media are:
Better brand awareness – Your following sharing your content is a great way to get your brands message out there
Higher website rank on search engines – Google takes performance on social media into account when calculating where to show users results
Improved customer service – Be more personal with your customers and speak to them directly
Cost-effectiveness – Social media is free if you post yourself, of course, it takes time, but that’s the balance you will need to make
Better customer insights – Social media has great analytics, use them to understand your customer
So, how do you go about using social media to promote your business? Use our step-by-step guide to guide you into promoting your business via social media.
Choose the channel that fits your target market. It’s important to define your own target market and then choose the social media channel that makes sense for you.
Make sure you take into account the time you have, you can post on Facebook twice a week and still build a following but, if you post on Twitter at the same rate, you’ll never get there. Similarly, think about which channel fits in with your brand and the content you can provide. Are you likely to get loads of great photos? Look at Instagram or Pinterest or if you want to appear more corporate and appeal to a B2B audience, choose LinkedIn.
Post compelling content. It’s no good just having an account and posting some sales promotions plus the good old ‘visit our website’ tweet.
If you’re stuck on what your customers will relate to, think about who else your target audience follow and go and look at their pages and feeds. Look, not just at what their posting but what gets the most engagement. That means the shares, likes and retweets. I’ll give you a hint, it’s usually the non-sales related stuff unless it’s some very cool new technology or an exciting new product.
Link back to your site. If you are looking for customers, the chance is that you can find them on at least one social media channel. Now, you just need to direct them to your website, this is done by simply adding a link to the compelling content you just created.
The Content Creator Awards showcase companies that go above and beyond to create great content. From marketing agencies, web designers, and bloggers to those creating images and videos for the web, the 2019 Content Creator Awards give credit where it is deserved.
The voting received a tremendous response with submissions from all across the globe!
As we continue through the 21st century, the trend of people turning to content creation as a means of making a living continues to grow. From YouTubers to Bloggers, companies and individuals are continuing to monetize their skills to make a successful living with some of the top content creators making over a million dollars year in year out.