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How do you perform Market Research for an SEO Campaign?

Market research is a critical component of a good business strategy. Competition within every industry has never been higher which is why gaining even the slightest edge is important. When it comes to SEO, you need to identify what your customers want so you can then meet those needs. As a top digital agency, we wanted to share how we perform market research for an SEO campaign.

For the most part, we will be discussing researching for content, as that is a primary method of search engine optimization. By taking the time to perform research, you will gain a better understanding of what target customers want or need. A business can then target the proper keywords and generate relevant content that fits those needs and helps the customers.

Performing Market Research for an SEO Campaign

There are quite a few methods for obtaining data. In some cases, that information obtained will be current and taken directly from customers. In other cases, information is gathered based on published reports and compiled information. The best approach is to blend current and historical data to more fully understand the marketplace and customer mindset.

The primary methods of market research that should be used for an SEO campaign will be a combination of:

  • Interviews – Interviewing customers or experts in an area can take many forms such as calls or emails and are a valuable source of fresh, unique data.
  • Online Surveys – Online surveys are one of the more popular research methods as there are numerous tools available to allow a business to quickly obtain timely information.
  • Focus Groups – Similar to surveys, focus groups can provide a lot of timely information with the opportunity for give-and-take and to dive deeper into areas that you might not develop survey questions for.
  • Customer Observation – Observing customer behavior is a long-standing method of research and can be done online by using web analytics to better understand customer actions and movements. Heatmaps are extremely important in understanding where customers click and what they look at the most.
  • Customer Data – Customer data is often considered a secondary source as a business will compile information to find historical trends such as primary shopping times.
  • Industry Data – Industry reports are useful for understanding the industry as a whole with broad reports and information. Research reports from Forrester or Gartner are popular information sources.
  • Competitor Data – Similar to customer data, this can provide insights into your specific niche area of industry. The websites of top competitors should be reviewed to better understand what the companies above you are doing.

A common mistake is to either utilize only one source of data when performing market research or relying too much on data that seems to fit pre-determined ideas. Data has no opinions; it just is. The more data the better as conclusions that are drawn after analyzing multiple sources are more complete.

Now What?

What do you do after collecting information during market research? The next step is analyzing the information and then putting it to use.

  • Create buyer personas – Buyer personas are a very useful tool for marketing. They should be created based on current research into customers and segmented by age, gender, location, and purchasing habits. These personas are each going to have different goals, needs, and motivations. A key to creating great content that resonates is first establishing who the content is for.
  • Research keywords – There are quite a few tools out there to find keywords that potential customers are using for search queries. Options such as Keyword Tool, Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest, or SERPs Keyword Database are all useful in finding popular keywords that help better define the interests of buyers. It is important to use research to answer core questions to help shape the SEO campaign such as:
    • Which keywords are your competitors targeting?
    • Which keywords are potential customers using?
    • Are keywords related to specific events or times of the year?
  • Select keywords – A potential list of keywords should be created and then assigned a category based on user intent such as providing information, navigating to a particular site/location, or transactional.
  • Consider pain points – When collecting data via customer surveys and other direct-customer interaction methods, always note the pain points. These are critical nuggets of information that can then be turned into content in the form of solutions to those problems. Make sure to use similar language as the customers as that is often how they will be searched for.
  • Create content – Using the buyer personas and keywords, create very specific content to meet the needs of customers. For example, if you operate a bicycle shop and people are searching for good riding routes, you would create content that highlights various unique rides in your locale.
  • Think outside the box – During the content creation process always strive to differentiate your content. Think, “how can I present this in the best way to a customer?” In our above example, you could include maps of the rides with distance markers, bathroom locations, and favorite places to stop for a bite to eat. Or create a short video that highlights the natural beauty of the areas being biked through. Always look to add as much value as possible based on the user persona being targeted with the content.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that any good digital agency will tell you about the importance of market research when it comes to launching successful campaigns. But we are willing to also tell you how to perform market research for an SEO campaign. While some businesses prefer to hire outside help, others like to do for themselves and we respect both choices.


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