I hate keyword research
I’m going to let you in on a little secret…
You might think that as a “professional blogger” (some might call me), that I have a bunch of fancy-pants SEO tools that I do some “ninja” keyword research with before I create these carefully crafted blog posts to just NAIL the search results pages.
Well, no. Because, truth is that I personally hate keyword research. I freakin’ despise it. Too much detail. Too much data. Too confusing.
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It isn’t that I’m not capable of it, but I don’t like it one bit. I tend to be a “big picture” guy and it works well for me. It goes against my grain to dive into a ton of spreadsheets and metrics and keyword phrase lists. It’s just tedious.
But, has this been hurting me in my business?
Well, truth be told, if I was a lover of keyword research, I don’t doubt I could be pulling in more traffic than I do now. I mean, I’m not gonna BS ya about it. But, at the same time, my business has been going JUST FINE.
So, clearly, keyword research is a thing. But, is it the MAIN thing? No. Which is good news for the both of us. 🙂
But, yes, it is still relevant. However, you know the kind of keyword research I do?
I LISTEN TO YOU.
That’s right, I get you guys to talk back. I listen to what you say. Whether it is in a blog comment, an email to support, comments in the Lab Community forums, social media…. wherever my peeps are talking, I’m listening. I observe what you guys are asking me. I observe the phraseology you use to ask me about it. I observe how often the same thing comes up.
And it is that which often shapes the content I create.
I keep my ear to the ground. I ask questions. And I LISTEN.
And this goes right to the heart of what I said yesterday…
Today, we don’t really need to optimize for the search engines as much as we need to optimize for human beings.
If I optimize for humans by addressing the very things they’re asking for, then I’m optimizing for keywords naturally.
So, let’s translate this into some action items to apply.
At the core, you need to set up a regular TWO-WAY interaction with the readers of your blog and your email subscribers. This means blog comments (potentially), social media engagement, replies back on any emails you send out to your list, etc.
Obviously, all bloggers WANT that kind of feedback, but many don’t get it. You need to work to engineer things that prompt a response because they’re not likely to just reply back to you willy-nilly.
Best bet is to ask them questions and then tell them to reply. Be the conversation starter. Ask and you shall receive, right? So, ask!
On Monday, I talked about the 7-word question. That there is a simple, quick and easy example of asking question and inviting them to reply. Do that a lot and you’ll get more interaction with your peeps.
Now, on top of that, I encourage you to have some kind of collection mechanism for this stuff. You need a memory. You need to take some time to analyze the data you have.
Perhaps keep a document where you are constantly tallying actionable responses from your audience. Record those things there. Record the LANGUAGE they use when they talk about it. You might even categorize responses. For instance, if I was getting various inputs from readers all having to do with challenges on getting more traffic, I might put them all into that one category.
I don’t actively do that now. I have in the past. What I do now is periodically run open-response surveys. I then go back and read all the response in their own words. I look for commonalities. But, that open response is important.
OK, so yeah…. I hate keyword research. Doesn’t mean I think it is a waste of time, but I am sayin’ that I don’t think you need to go out and spend a bunch of money on fancy keyword tools.
Instead, listen to your market directly. Hang out with them. Start conversations. You’re going to learn a lot about how to best help them with content they’ll WANT by talking to them directly than through some robot spitting keyword research volume reports at ya.