The secret superpowers of SEO – clever keyword research for content marketing

Paul McIntyre

Please meet Paul McIntyre of Searchhigh. Paul is a search consultant with business acumen. We’re delighted to give him a platform on the Valuable Content blog.

Paul explains why keyword research plays such a crucial role in any successful B2B content marketing strategy, and shares some of the lesser-known super benefits of getting SEO savvy. Content creators take note!

Do your keyword research if you want your content to be found

“Content rules on the web, no doubt about it. But how do you get the valuable content you work so hard to create into the right hands? You have several options:

  • You can print it out and post it to them
  • You can email it to your personal networks
  • You can hire a PR expert to get your articles in the specialist press
  • You can share it with your social networks using social media

All of these methods will get your content some exposure. But there’s one method that’s missing from this list that will have the greatest impact of all. And that’s SEO.

Research from Hinge Marketing found that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the most effective online lead generation technique for both average-growth and high-growth professional firms (see Hinge’s Professional Services Online Marketing Study).

SEO has various definitions, but here’s one I think sums it up best:

“SEO is the heart of a content marketing strategy that makes use of highly converting keywords and phrases that your target audience is searching for.”

The foundation of any effective SEO strategy is in-depth keyword research.”

The secret superpowers of keyword research

“Knowing the right keywords and key phrases to base your content around is crucial if you want that content to be found by the people you want to read it. Get these keywords wrong, and you may be writing content that your target audience will never find. Solid keyword research is fundamental if you want to achieve maximum success with content marketing.

Here are six lesser-known reasons why investing in keyword research supercharges your content marketing.

  1. Keyword research is great market research. It lets you find the language that your audience is using. Keyword research tells you the words they choose and the expressions that hold sway with them. Detailed online research of your market will help you a) Gain an in-depth understanding of keyword demand for your niche; b) Learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO; c) Learn more about your customers and your competitors.
  2. Keyword research uncovers untapped content opportunities. The best keyword research is about finding what people are really searching for at a time when they are getting ready to buy, then finding opportunities where online competition is relatively low in comparison to the number of searches made. It enables you to find where your competitors have weaknesses, and to find niches where you can use content marketing to exploit untapped demand.
  3. You’ll gain competitive advantage as not many people do it well. Keyword research is not as sexy as writing great headlines, but because it’s so hard and so intensive, many of your competitors won’t be doing it or doing it well.
  4. Keyword research helps you overcome writer’s block! Don’t always know what to write about or how to get started with writing content? You will do with the results of great keyword research. Your output will tell you what you need to be writing about, the words you need to include, and stacks of information about your audience. You’ll have a list of subjects to write about, using words that appeal to the individuals that make up your target audience.
  5. Keyword research attracts the right visitors. Successful online content marketing is not just about getting more visitors to your site, but about getting the right kind of visitors and guiding them through the conversion process. The usefulness of this intelligence gained cannot be overstated. With great keyword research you can predict shifts in demand, respond to changing market conditions, and anticipate the products, services, and content that your customers need. The visitors to your site will be looking for exactly what you’re selling, and when they find you, you’ll be speaking their language, not expecting them to speak yours.
  6. Keyword research reassures you that you are on the right track. When you’re writing content, the results of keyword research give you the reassurance of knowing that you’re writing about subjects others want to read, using precise words and phrases that will resonate with them and trigger an emotional response when you want them to.”

Content marketing and SEO need each other

“Great SEO can get you more relevant traffic and more conversions, but it needs great content to turn visitors into customers. Terrific keyword research is not only an essential foundation of successful SEO, it also gives you the knowledge you need to make your content marketing far more successful.

Content Marketing and SEO need each other. Neither can truly reach their potential without the other.”

Paul is here to answer your questions on keyword research and SEO. Drop him a comment if you’d like to know more.

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