Keyword Research to Match the Buyer’s Journey on Your Dental Practice Website
From there, Google offered a tool that enabled businesses to see how many searches occurred for any keyword, eventually giving way to keyword research. This tool is indispensable for business because it came from Google itself and offers additional insights to gain leverage over the competition.
As businesses began using more data for marketing, however, it showed that keywords are useful, but may not always be completely accurate. More software tools emerged to provide additional keyword insights, giving marketers more opportunities than ever to use keywords to their advantage.
Unfortunately, historical keyword research has a few problems:
These two issues are being addressed as marketers focus on topics more than keywords, but that’s only part of the whole picture. Optimising keywords to align with each stage of the buyer’s journey is the key, which we’ll cover here.
What Is the Buyer’s Journey?
The buyer’s journey refers to a framework that acknowledges the buyer’s progression through the research and decision process, which ultimately ends in a purchase. This concept isn’t new, but it’s evolved over the years with new technology and marketing insights.
There are three stages to the buyer’s journey:
Most marketers focus only on the decision stage, but there are opportunities at each stage of this process.
A map of your ideal buyer is vital since it’s the only way to truly understand your buyer’s journey. You should understand their needs and problems, which will ultimately drive them toward your solution.
This can be done a number of ways:
This information allows you to connect the dots and create accurate buyer personas and mapping of the buyer’s journey.
Shifting From Keywords to Topics
Much of the SEO community has begun shifting from keywords to topics already. This comes in the form of long-form content that connects to other content across sections, providing a comprehensive overview of the broad topic. This approach addresses the new way that search engines are interpreting content.
For the purposes of this discussion, these long-form content pages typically target the short-tail keywords that have a higher search volume, ultimately addressing the awareness or consideration stages. Key decision-stage pages are narrow content.
These can be further sub-categorised into pillar, target, and cluster pages:
Putting It Together
The process to put all these pages together is simple. It begins like any other keyword research task, which is based on the keywords that a business is looking to rank for, and provides a starting point for what a prospective customer will search.
From there, you can begin to consider keywords outside of the obvious, such as synonyms and colloquial terms. This is the time to use keyword research tools, such as Google Ads or consult customers about terms they may use to find a product.
Once this list is expanded, it can be narrowed down for better targeting. Irrelevant keywords can be filtered out, then relevant keywords can be sorted by topic and buying intent. For this part, be sure to put yourself in the shoes of the customer and consider what they would search to address a problem, as well as what keywords show intent to purchase.
This is when the stages of the buyer’s journey come in. Keywords should be categorised to each stage, using your judgement about what you believe the buyer is looking for. Categorising is important because it provides you with a framework for what type of content is appropriate for certain phrases or keywords.
You’ll often distinguish patterns in the keywords along the buyer’s journey. Words like “cost” or “price” are usually found in the decision stage, whereas “how to” will be the awareness stage. These patterns will help you streamline your content planning.
Keyword Samples for Different Stages
Once this is complete, you can group your keywords into pillar page, target page, and cluster page. This gives you insight into what type of content should be used, based on how competitive a term is, what the search volume is, what stage the buyer is in, and how profitable a keyword might be.
This information not only informs your current content, but it also helps you fill gaps in existing content. Check that the topics haven’t been covered before, and look for gaps resulting from keyword searches that aren’t currently being targeted.
Traditional keyword research isn’t successful because most marketers only consider volume and competition. They tend to go for the terms with the highest traffic, but traffic doesn’t necessarily indicate buyers. In many cases, traffic indicates users looking for information about their problem, but are still weeks or months away from searching for a specific solution to that problem.
Because of this, current keyword research is a nuanced process that considers the needs of the buyer above all else. Used properly, keyword research can drive your content strategy to generate