Keyword Research – The Problem Is You

by Megan Slick May 27th, 2009 

Don't take keywords searchers use at face value.

They're not looking for the information they express in their search; they're looking to solve a problem, fix an issue, scratch an itch.

Woman Scratching Her Nose

Recently I was doing keyword research for a client of mine that makes awesome pie. I've tasted it, it really is that good (and no, I'm not getting paid for this post).

Not surprisingly, many of the keyword phrases had to do with recipes. Now, because I'm me, I automatically thought searching for a recipe means they actually want a recipe. So I wasn't going to suggest to my client that we write anything about pie recipes.

A week or so later, I found myself at a coffee shop talking to my friends who have a tech business. We started talking shop and the keyword research for my pie client came up.

I mentioned the number of people searching for pie recipes. My friend says, “Why wouldn't you write a page using the keyword phrase pie recipes?” I retorted that my client, it's Martha Stewart, he doesn't sell his recipes – he sells PIE. My friend then rubbed it in my face that I was thinking like myself.

It hurts when your friends are right. I was thinking like myself – or maybe I wasn't.

Kids Eating Pie

I have been known to buy desserts when my good intentions to bake fall through and I have to bring something to a gathering. This was the point my friend was making.

According to him, if he searched for pie recipes, he would be much happier if Google returned a website that allowed him to purchase a pie online and have it shipped to him.

Point taken.

All your ideas about life and what you would do, need to go out the window when you're doing keyword research.

Your ultimate goal has to be to find every way for your client to reach their potential clients—even the ones who think they want recipes.

They really don't want recipes, they just want pie.

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6 Responses to “Keyword Research – The Problem Is You”

  1. Keesjan "SEO" Deelstra says:

    Great post, There is a little tool online, sorry I forgot what and where, but what it does, is invite people to comment on a question like: what keywords would you type in Google if you where searching for…applepie" This helps ypu also to think out of the box.

  2. Agent SEO says:

    Well said. Trying to determine what a searcher's potential intent is when they make a query should be at the heart of every SEO's keyword research.

  3. Neostead says:

    While I take his point, this is a particular instance: people looking for recipes usually just want recipes. Just like people looking for lyrics aren't looking to buy that CD. Of course, it's good to have this content to bring people in, but I think keyphrases like "healthy cooking" – or something else more general would be more effective. But that's me.

  4. Ken Lyons says:

    Funny, had this very same episode but for a gourmet dog biscuit company a year ago. Majority of the searches were for dog biscuit recipes. Go figure.

    Like your friend, I suggested we create a dog biscuit recipe section. The site owner's reaction was confusion. She said she didn't want to give her recipes away. I said we would just post recipes from a book she had, not hers, strictly for link bait and traffic.

    To date, the page gets a bunch of traffic and links and roughly 7% of visitors searching for "recipes" convert from the recipes pages and buy pre-made biscuits.

    Sometimes you gotta make lemonade out of lemons.


  5. burak says:

    good post and also there are some free keyword tools for making better searchs.

  6. art says:

    Here is a interesting keyword tool from wordtracker labs

    Great insight…those are great categories of search phrases to use for pay per click campaigns first. Once they show conversions, roll out content rich pages for SEO.