Your competitors face the same problem, and unless you are very lucky, they are also probably resourceful and creative. You can likely count on their having invested in learning how their customers think and the best ways to appeal to them. So, add these steps to the process:
1. Review your competitors’ websites and see what keywords and phrases they use for their products and services that compete with yours. Look also for unique variations and synonyms they incorporate into their language, and see if these indicate shifting trends in vernacular in your industry.
2. Record what non-brand terms they use for their business.
3. Read any articles they have written that are published on sites other than their own.
4. Observe what the media may have had to say about them.
Add these ideas into the mix and you will have a wonderfully robust set of keywords to use as a starting point.
You may ask why you should go through all this trouble. Don’t the keyword tools take care of all this for you? There are two reasons why the extra effort is critical:
• Your internal team has a rich array of knowledge that the keyword tools do not: they know where to start. Keyword tools require the initial input of information, and the quality of the data they provide is only as good as the quality of the “seeds” you give them.
• The upfront brainstorming helps your organization’s stakeholders better understand the market and the opportunities. It also helps them “buy into” the eventual prioritization of keywords. Once you have completed these steps you will have in hand a rich set of terms of interest. The next step is to expand those terms of interest using keyword research tools.