MAT MARTIN | Keyword Research and the Language of your Brand
10 April, 2017, 16:00
In an increasingly online marketplace businesses can consider branding from a perspective of visibility and/or searchability. When deciding what language to use to describe your business, it may be very useful to do some keyword research into using a word or words which link directly to the USP or Vision Statement of your intended brand. This can apply to anything from choosing a name to deciding how to title your latest blog post.
The Importance of a Consistent Business Language Style
Branding is about personality. The Kapferer Prism shows us that in large part the reality of a brand is defined not by the intentions behind it but the way in which it is received by the public. As such, the tone of voice and style you employ in language can be as important as your logo, the choice of fonts and colours or the shape of the packaging your product comes in. A consistent style will help with this, and is also likely to create a more pointed message that may be more likely to reach your core demographic.
When considering how to approach this it is important to balance the tone and style of your message with keyword research about the way that language is performing in searches within your sector. This kind of information costs only time to gather, and can make a huge difference to your ability to reach the audience who are interested in what you are doing.
These considerations are not only about making the big decisions associated with defining and creating a brand – established businesses can benefit hugely from this practice, and it is one which can be entered into to an almost infinite level of detail. SEO is a huge and complex beast, and there are highly qualified experts out there who can help you refine your targets, keywords and optimisation in highly targeted ways, but even some broad strokes can be very useful.
Keyword Research – Identifying Useful Search Terms
Be aware that search terms evolve and that you will find it hard to maintain brand recognition if the static language of your business (business name, mission and vision statements etc.) evolves with them too specifically or too quickly. For these aspects of your business try to be broad enough to overcome this whilst still keeping your research in mind – just being aware of the relationship between what you are putting out there and what people are looking for can be a very powerful position to start from.
There are a few simple things you can do right away:
- Open a Google window and begin typing everything you can think of to do with your product/service. As you type, Google will offer suggestions – these are based on most common searches and thus actually offer you some very valuable information on keywords and search behaviours.
- Make a note of all the Google search term suggestions which seem relevant. Once you have these you can research them a little, and try to come up with some key terms which people are likely to use to find services like yours.
- Try to find out/predict the keywords (and -phrases) your potential clients are likely to use to find you online. Google offers tools for this, and it is possible to leverage the analytics of social media, too – see this article, and the resources below.
In this way you should be able to create an initial list of words and search terms associated with your business’ proposition(s), and perhaps even a sense of which of them are most used by the demographic which best fits your ideal client profile (see Brand Questions Sheet). There are several services available to help with keyword research, both free and paid – it is possible to get very specific indeed. This article by Nischay Jain gives a very thorough overview of what’s available and how the various tools compare with one another.
Online Tools for Keyword Research
N/B. [Added 01/10/2017]: Gael at Authority Hacker recently contacted me after reading this post and pointed me at their analysis of available Keyword Research Tools as of 2017, which is vast, insightful and quite authoritative. It also comes wrapped in an article which goes well beyond the scope I’ve allowed myself here. If you are at all interested in really getting to grips with Keyword Research for SEO it is absolutely worth a read.
- Google Trends Tool – https://trends.google.com/trends/
- Google Keyword Planner – https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner
- Don’t underestimate simply typing into http://google.com and paying attention to the autofill.
- Facebook Graph Search (intro video) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3k1USQbq80
- Twitter Trend Search – https://twitter.com/search-home
- Google+ Trending – https://plus.google.com/explore/Trending
- YouTube Trending – https://www.youtube.com/feed/trending
It may be useful to compare these keywords to the language you have used in the first drafts of your Vision and Mission Statements, to see to what extent you are already speaking in the language of your potential clients.
When you have a shortlist of options it’s a good idea to use these tools again, to see what associations each has in search trends. You may find that some of them are ‘cleaner’ in this respect than others.
Finally, keep a note of your key search terms – they will be invaluable when writing copy for your website and print documents.