What is proactive keyword research?
Proactive keyword research is anticipating the keywords people will be searching with in the near future and targeting them in order to acquire that forthcoming traffic.
Let’s delve into this…
The traditional way of carrying out keyword research is to use a tool like Keyword Planner, SEMRush, or something else.
This method of keyword research is effective. It works. However, it is limited.
This is a very reactive way of carrying out keyword research.
And while, yes, SEO is a reactive channel, it doesn’t have to be.
You see, the data of keywords you get from tools is, indeed, lagging data.
What do I mean by this…?
Keyword data, regardless of the tool used, is aggregated.
In order for Google, on Keyword Planner, to gather data, they first have to have had the datapoint occurred, actioned.
How is keyword data actioned?
By people searching for it in the first place, right?
Google doesn’t know what people are searching for until after they’ve searched for it.
In order for Keyword Planner to have data to aggregate, in order to present to you, they first have to have had people search with the keywords – queried it.
It’s after a keyword has been queried that Google knows the demand of it, and is able to provide the search volume – relevant alternatives, likely subsequent queries, and many more information.
After they have this information, they can then present it to you upon research.
Well, what if you’re carrying out keyword research for terms that Google doesn’t have the data for, yet?
Does it mean people are not searching for this information?
It simply means Google, SEMRush, or whatever else tool you use, doesn’t have enough data-points about the keyword to provide to you.
The keyword may very well be new to them.
A while ago, several years ago, Google revealed that around 40% of the keywords queried are new to them.
You can extrapolate that a large portion of terms, when searched for, are new to Google.
They do not have any dataset for the terms – yet. Not until more people search for them, i.e. they have more data-points on the keywords.
So, when you carry out keyword research, in the traditional way, you’re doing so for terms that Google already have data for.
In other words, you’re researching from their dataset – a dataset that is extensively large but, indeed, limited to what they are aware of.
What if you wanted to research keywords that they are not aware of, yet…?
How do you go about researching these terms in order to target them?
You carry out keyword research, proactively.
What does proactive keyword research look like?
It looks like research around the audience you seek to target, carried out with multiple sources, other than with traditional research tools, such as Keyword Planner and others.
This type of keyword research involves you anticipating what people will be searching for.
What does this require…?
It requires you to know the people you aim to attract.
It requires you to know their interests.
It requires you to know the current and upcoming landscape of the industry you’re in.
For example, let’s say you have a website that sells costumes. You target people seeking to buy costumes.
Summer’s coming up. What type of costumes do you think people will be interested in?
As we get closer to halloween, what types of costumes do you think people will be interested in?
When winter comes, what types of costumes are people likely to be interested in?
In order to search for something, people first have to know what to search for.
The demand comes from somewhere.
It’s typically driven by an event of some sort, an event that triggers a searcher to carry out their search.
In many cases, a searcher will be searching with a term they are familiar with.
Using traditional keyword research, you’ll have data for this type of searcher.
There are however, times where a searcher will search for something without being aware of the keywords to use to search for the information they seek.
There are times where a searcher will search with a term that is new to Google so there’ll be no data for the term – yet.
How would you go-about gathering intel for this type of term in order to target it?
You carry out keyword research, proactively.
You don’t always have to wait until you seek data from keyword research tools, in order to be aware of high demand terms that people will be searching for.
This is data, but lagging data.
A better set of data, a much richer set, is uncovered with proactive keyword research.
This is, by far, a more enriching set of data to use for your marketing.
This is data that sees you using a ‘blue ocean strategy’ for your marketing.
Rather than competing for visibility for high-value, yet, well-known keywords, you could instead seek to attract people using keywords that even Google are not yet aware of.
This is the value of carrying out proactive keyword research.
You’ll be able to find and target terms that are not yet seen in keyword research tools.
What does this require?
It requires you to know of the people you aim to attract – your audience.
It requires you to be a master of your industry
The more you know of your industry, the more you’ll be able to anticipate what people will be searching for in the near future, thereby creating content around it to attract this audience.