How to Figure Out What Search Terms Customers Are Using

7 February 2020
By Astrid Sucipto, Chief Pixie

I'd like to start by reminding you that if your customers can't find you, you don't exist! So, where are your customers finding you anyway? Could be Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social channels, but don't forget the biggest avenue to find something online these days. Google! And yes, Bing as well.

I've had people ask me why their websites don't come up on Google. Afterall, they had just finally finished creating their site.

Well, my friend, it isn't that easy. The first page of Google is prime real estate. You don't just put up a website and expect to be found on a search engine. Businesses pay thousands of dollars a month to get on the first page of Google. It takes effort, time and sometimes money!

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I'm not going to go into the details of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) here. But I do want to talk to you about Search Queries. What are search queries anyway? Well, they are the search terms that people actually put into Google. For examples, "Quick and easy healthy meals", "Best productivity planner", "Non-toxic susncreen for kids", "How to make your own granola bars", etc.

I don't know about you, but I'm constanty typing "search terms in Google". The other day, my 6-year daughter asked Google, "what colour is mauve?".

These are called search queries. And knowing what they are in relation to your business is gold. Think about it. If your customers' search terms match the content on your website, the likelihood of your website being shown is higher. Google sees the exact terms on your site and says, hey, that's what this customer is looking for, let me show this website to them.

So...How do you know what people are searching for?

Lucky for us, there are a few tools you can use to get some insight:

  1. The auto suggest feature on Google. Have you ever noticed that when you type something in, a suggestion (or several) comes up? As you type you are presented with an aggregated view of the questions that people could possible search for based on their emotions and motivations.
  2. Google Search Console. Taken from the horse's mouth, "Search Console tools and reports help you measure your site's Search traffic and performance, fix issues, and make your site shine in Google Search results." In search console, there's a section for search queries and this gives you a list of search terms that people are actually using to find websites like yours. Your website may or may not have been shown. This information should be used in your SEO activities to better optimize your presence. When you start to analyze the information, you'll discover two things: a) search terms or words that you are ranking for but don't want to be ranked for, and b) search terms that you want to rank for but aren't. Use this information to your advantage!
  3. Quora is a Q&A site. People ask questions and people answer questions. You can type in a specific keyword or term and see what type of questions come up.
  4. AnswerThePublic is a really cool tool! It provides visualization for keywords and categorizes them in the 5 Ws, plus 'how', 'can', 'are', 'which' and 'will'. It has a free option where you can perform up to 3 searches in a day. If you need more, you can sign up for their paid plan which also gives you a whole slew of other cool features that super useful for SEO.
  5. Ubersuggest is a free tool that was developed by Neil Patel. You can use it to find hundreds of long tail keywords in a few minutes. It aggregates data from Google Auto Suggest which provides related keyword ideas from Google searches. It also analyzes your competitors' websites for keywords.

A look at AnswerThePublic

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What do you use Search Queries for?

This is the FUN part! When you know exactly what and how your customers are searching for, you can optimize your site so that Google can show your website to your customers. In short, use this information to write your content! If you're a blogger, don't just write any headline for your blog. Write a headline that can be picked up as a search term in search engines. When you do this, the likelihood of Google bringing your site up the ranks is higher.

But this isn't just good for bloggers or businesses with blogs. You can also utilize this to figure out how to optimize the H-tags (headings) on your site's pages. It's basically good for any content on your website. Use it for your title tags and meta descriptions as well!

Is that all I need to do for SEO?

Absolutely not! As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, SEO takes effort, time and sometimes money. There are over 200 algorithms that Google uses to rank you on the first page. But this is a good start. The one thing that we do know is that Google loves fresh content. Google also appreciates relevant content. The more fresh content that you add to your website, the better. The more relevant your content is to real life search queries, the better.

The next time you need to write content for your website, check out one of tools I mentioned in this article to optimize it for search engines. My first go-to is usually AnswerThePublic but I often use a combination of tools.