Live from SMX East 2015: Content, Keyword Research & The Art of Audience Engagement

September 29, 2015 | 4 min read
By Ivy Lustig

In this session, Casie Gillete, Bill Hunt, and Grant Simmons cover how truly effective keyword research can actually go beyond the numbers game of targeting frequently searched terms. Instead, brilliant keyword research attempts to get into the minds of prospects and customers to uncover needs and desires and yield insights that can help you create more meaningful, compelling content.

Keyword Research

Casie Gillete, director of online marketing at KoMarketing, started off the session with these telling stats about how people are actually searching now:

  • 50% of search queries are four keywords or longer
  • 27% of search queries are questions
  • 70% of growth in YouTube how-to searches
  • Avg voice search query 5-6 keywords

Overall, people are asking tons of questions online.

Where Do You Find the Queries?

It’s not just about AdWords Keyword Planner anymore — Casie says to start with your own data to identify where your referrals are coming in. How are those referral sources talking about you? What keyword phrases are they using? Also, she suggests to make use of review sites to see how people are talk about you and the phrases they use. Similar to review sites, forums are another way to see how people talk about you because people are asking questions and using specific phrases. By looking at social media sites, you can check out the hashtags and terms people use. The main thing to do is to look at the overall picture and get a real-time view of how people are talking about you.

Additional Tools for Finding Queries:

  • FAQ Fox
  • SerpStat
  • KeyHole

Then Build Your Content Strategy

Casie stressed how you need to know your customer and what it is they want. It’s also important to take a look at search results and see what’s showing and what you’re competing with. Again, look at your own data and see what’s already working on your site.

Use tools like Buzzsumo to find your or your competitors’ top content pieces and figure out the types of content your audience is most interested in sharing.

You want to ensure that you are giving people the answers to their questions. Build your content around the questions people are asking and answer the questions for them. Because if you don’t, someone else will.

Keyword research

Bill Hunt, CEO of Back Azimuth Consulting, spoke next about the importance of understanding the voice of the consumer and what searchers really want. He showed interesting results from a client ranked in the second position of Google search results. This client, however, wasn’t getting the traffic expected. What he discovered was that their page wasn’t matching how people were actually searching for the product. Thus, high ranking does not guarantee clicks if you don’t match the intent and the desire.

Instead, he stressed the importance of aligning your site with your audience. People search with problems they are trying to solve with their searches. Thus, you need to solve their problems with your site. Look at your keywords to locate where the content opportunity lies. What are people asking? Sometimes, companies don’t have any content on their site to answer the questions people are asking, so they are missing a huge opportunity.

Keyword Research

Grant Simmons, VP of search marketing for Homes.com, finished up the session and spoke on how to “tickle” your customers. He started with triggers, which he defined as needs that need to be addressed. For example, someone gets married and wants to buy a house — that’s their trigger — and then they search online to find out information on buying a house. So, as marketers, we have to research these triggers to understand how people are searching.

What Do We Need to Do?

Next, you need to connect the triggers. Understand the who, what, why, when, where and how and then answer the questions that people are asking. Grant’s team built a homebuyer’s guide with 47 pages that answer every single question that people ask when they are buying a house.

Keyword Research

He then moved onto what he call “tickles.” Essentially, this is creating a desire. Tickles act as stimuli that inspire need and desire. You can make people aware of something they didn’t know they needed before.

3 I’s of Stimuli

  • Inspiration
  • Influence
  • Information

You can then use these tickles to get people to your site. He ended with this inspirational statement: “Good content connects, great content inspires.”

All speakers gave great tips on improving keyword research to really understand your target audience and then create content to draw that audience into your site.

Want more information from SMX? I’ll be live blogging for the rest of the conference, so follow me on Twitter: @ivy_lustig.


Live From SMX East 2015: Getting Creative with Ad Copy & Testing
How Dynamic Ads Can Supercharge Your SEM Campaigns: SMX East 2015
Subscribe to the Digital Marketing Tip!
Get the latest insights and time-tested wisdom from veterans of the digital marketing industry.

Live from SMX East 2015: Content, Keyword Research & The Art of Audience Engagement

September 29, 2015 | 4 min read
By Ivy Lustig

In this session, Casie Gillete, Bill Hunt, and Grant Simmons cover how truly effective keyword research can actually go beyond the numbers game of targeting frequently searched terms. Instead, brilliant keyword research attempts to get into the minds of prospects and customers to uncover needs and desires and yield insights that can help you create more meaningful, compelling content.

Keyword Research

Casie Gillete, director of online marketing at KoMarketing, started off the session with these telling stats about how people are actually searching now:

  • 50% of search queries are four keywords or longer
  • 27% of search queries are questions
  • 70% of growth in YouTube how-to searches
  • Avg voice search query 5-6 keywords

Overall, people are asking tons of questions online.

Where Do You Find the Queries?

It’s not just about AdWords Keyword Planner anymore — Casie says to start with your own data to identify where your referrals are coming in. How are those referral sources talking about you? What keyword phrases are they using? Also, she suggests to make use of review sites to see how people are talk about you and the phrases they use. Similar to review sites, forums are another way to see how people talk about you because people are asking questions and using specific phrases. By looking at social media sites, you can check out the hashtags and terms people use. The main thing to do is to look at the overall picture and get a real-time view of how people are talking about you.

Additional Tools for Finding Queries:

  • FAQ Fox
  • SerpStat
  • KeyHole

Then Build Your Content Strategy

Casie stressed how you need to know your customer and what it is they want. It’s also important to take a look at search results and see what’s showing and what you’re competing with. Again, look at your own data and see what’s already working on your site.

Use tools like Buzzsumo to find your or your competitors’ top content pieces and figure out the types of content your audience is most interested in sharing.

You want to ensure that you are giving people the answers to their questions. Build your content around the questions people are asking and answer the questions for them. Because if you don’t, someone else will.

Keyword research

Bill Hunt, CEO of Back Azimuth Consulting, spoke next about the importance of understanding the voice of the consumer and what searchers really want. He showed interesting results from a client ranked in the second position of Google search results. This client, however, wasn’t getting the traffic expected. What he discovered was that their page wasn’t matching how people were actually searching for the product. Thus, high ranking does not guarantee clicks if you don’t match the intent and the desire.

Instead, he stressed the importance of aligning your site with your audience. People search with problems they are trying to solve with their searches. Thus, you need to solve their problems with your site. Look at your keywords to locate where the content opportunity lies. What are people asking? Sometimes, companies don’t have any content on their site to answer the questions people are asking, so they are missing a huge opportunity.

Keyword Research

Grant Simmons, VP of search marketing for Homes.com, finished up the session and spoke on how to “tickle” your customers. He started with triggers, which he defined as needs that need to be addressed. For example, someone gets married and wants to buy a house — that’s their trigger — and then they search online to find out information on buying a house. So, as marketers, we have to research these triggers to understand how people are searching.

What Do We Need to Do?

Next, you need to connect the triggers. Understand the who, what, why, when, where and how and then answer the questions that people are asking. Grant’s team built a homebuyer’s guide with 47 pages that answer every single question that people ask when they are buying a house.

Keyword Research

He then moved onto what he call “tickles.” Essentially, this is creating a desire. Tickles act as stimuli that inspire need and desire. You can make people aware of something they didn’t know they needed before.

3 I’s of Stimuli

  • Inspiration
  • Influence
  • Information

You can then use these tickles to get people to your site. He ended with this inspirational statement: “Good content connects, great content inspires.”

All speakers gave great tips on improving keyword research to really understand your target audience and then create content to draw that audience into your site.

Want more information from SMX? I’ll be live blogging for the rest of the conference, so follow me on Twitter: @ivy_lustig.

Share This Post
PREVIOUS POST

Live From SMX East 2015: Getting Creative with Ad Copy & Testing
NEXT POST

How Dynamic Ads Can Supercharge Your SEM Campaigns: SMX East 2015
Subscribe to the Digital Marketing Tip!
Get the latest insights and time-tested wisdom from veterans of the digital marketing industry.