One of the easiest and simplest, and yet overlooked, ways to learn SEO and discover niche keywords is by listening to your existing clients. They will give you gold without even knowing it.
Since client’s aren’t professionally versed in search engine marketing (SEM), they will use words and phrases within their vernacular that they’re naturally comfortable with. Words that make perfect sense to them but may not be the technical terminology SEM professionals use.
So when you’re speaking with clients, listen to what they say and how they describe things. Many times you will hear a client say something like…
I’m not sure how to describe it but I want…
This is the primer your ears should be tuned into because the next words they speak can be a gold mine in learning about new search keywords and phrases that can be bring you more traffic and customers.
Because clients don’t know search industry specific vernacular, they’ll use common words/phrases (some of them quite strange to describe their needs). These will also be the same keywords and phrases they’ll use when doing an Internet search. Because people search the way the talk.
You might be thinking that since your client is already just that, a client, why would this matter now — after the fact. It’s important because if one person has said it, then others will have also said it — and searched for it (or they will in the future). A quote I like to keep in mind is;
To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men–that is genius. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Meaning, no one is an island. If one person thinks something, then more than likely others will think it too.
As an example, during a preliminary interview with a potential client, the client kept repeating the same phrase.
We already have a website, but it needs refreshed. We would like a refreshed design.
In the world of web-design, when the majority of programmers hear the word “refresh”, they immediately think “page refresh” (the time it takes a full page to reload into the browser) which has nothing to do with updating a website design.
But as I mentioned earlier, the majority of clients aren’t immersed in our world of web design so they will use words that make sense to them. In this case, the client did a search using the phrase “refreshed website design“.
A quick search for “refresh website” will display a ton of results for “automated refresh scripts” and “how to refresh website with templates” which wasn’t what the client wanted. Using the search phrase “refresh website design” displayed results more closer to their goal but still require more digging because by page three, the results turned to websites offering “website templates” or web design service companies with the word “Refresh” in their name.
If you take this one step further and conduct a search using “refreshed website” you will discover about 1.27 million results. The first page are from businesses who have posted stories or forum comments announcing their “refreshed website design” or asking other users to look at their “refreshed website”. Yet, not one of the top ten results were from a company offering “Refreshed website design services”. Gold I tell you, GOLD!
By the time you read this, however, we will have posted our own targeted web page for the following keyword phrases;
Results as of this posting: December 2006
- “refreshed website” (listed #1 out of 1.27 million)
- “refreshed website design” (listed #1 out of 1.65 million)
- “refresh web design” (listed #4 out of 3 million)
Updated Results: January 2009
- “refreshed website” (#4 out of 22.4 million)
- “refreshed website design” (#4 out of 1.68 million)
- “refresh web design” (#4 out of 1.8 million)
- “refresh website” (#8 out of 20.3 million)
Updated Results: April 2010
- “refreshed website” (#2 out of 2.6 million)
- “refreshed website design” (#2 out of 15.1 million)
- “refresh web design” (#7 out of 12 million)
- “refresh website” (#2 out of 40.7 million)
After all, I see nothing wrong with taking advantage of of our own learning. See screen shots below.
Results for “refreshed web design”
Results for “refreshed website design”
Results for “refreshed website”
The above keyword phrases are only a few of the niche keywords we’ve discovered by actually listening to our clients. Not just in what they say, but how they say it. And there have been many, many more that has already increased traffic to our website and, even more importantly, has resulted in converting that traffic into new projects.
Take a listen, your clients are worth more than the money they’re paying you for your current projects. They’re also an invaluable resource for discovering new niche keywords for targeting new traffic and clients.
Now go get ‘em.