When it comes to attracting leads online via organic search, your content strategy determines what kind of leads end up visiting your website. If you produce content that’s highly targeted to a specific audience, you’ll likely attract a highly qualified set of visitors. If your content has broad appeal, then Google will produce visitors of many different backgrounds and mindsets.
As a marketer, you must ask yourself, would your prefer to attract ten thousand people with only a small group of qualified prospects in the mix, or do you want 500 visitors, all of whom have a moderate-to-high potential of being a qualified lead?
We ask our clients this question all the time. And one dimension that’s particularly important for content strategy is the size of business that’s attracted via organic search. Does a visitor represent a small company of 21-50 employees or is he/she a member of a large enterprise-level corporation?
Solving for size is a very important part of effective inbound marketing and SEO, and it really gets at the core of effective keyword-targeting in content creation.
Finding keywords that larger company reps are searching for requires really knowing your target personas’ businesses. If you want Boeing to buy from you, you need to understand the pain points and issues that people in an enterprise-level company go through on a daily basis.
If you’re a services company that targets manufacturers or distributors, only larger companies tend to think seriously about enterprise resource planning (ERP). While smaller companies might think about ERP from time-to-time, the complexity and challenges of ERP implementation really come with scale. Even if you aren’t selling ERP, consider how your work ties into challenges that your targets have with ERP usage.
Similarly, consider the relationship between manufacturers and distributors. Distributors of a larger size tend to rely on a complex network of suppliers/manufacturers. Keywords like “omni-channel” and “competitive sourcing" only tend to get searched if distributors are of a larger size and dealing with a greater degree of complexity than their smaller counterparts.
Creating clear target personas requires a great deal of research and analysis. In order for personas to be useful, you want to understand how much complexity there really is to each one.
When you’ve crafted detailed, well-researched persona descriptions, their value really comes when marketers use personas to help them discern the issues and challenges a persona target faces. A good inbound marketer is able to reflect on a persona and discern how content can be used to appeal to the persona’s pains or challenges.
Therefore, you need to define your personas with very detailed and specific profiles. Each persona description should have a well-articulated description of their specific language, industry, geography, challenges and thought processes.
You can’t think of a persona as static. Your targets go through a buyer journey and ask different questions along the way. In order to solve for size in organic SEO, you must understand how the questions they ask change based on their size.
If search queries normally occur while a lead is gaining awareness or in consideration of potential solutions, then you should try to discern the difference between awareness-level questions for larger companies versus small companies.
To establish buyer-journey questions based on size, you can follow this basic process:
Ideally, you want to organize your list of long-term keywords so that they are very specific and have as much search traffic and opportunity as possible.
Segmentation is going to help you put the right information in the right box. It’s absolutely critical for understanding success and failure in your organic search strategy.
When you generate leads, you should organize contacts and segments by size, then analyze how they found you. What unencrypted keywords did they search for? What content did they land on? What nurturing content have they found appealing? If you can gain insights by analyzing the right-sized leads you want, then you can refine your target keyword list over time.
In analyzing keywords based on size, you should also prioritize your best opportunities. For that, you need robust keyword analysis.
Typically, for understanding monthly search volume and opportunity, we recommend Storybase, Moz Pro and Google Adwords Keyword Planner.
These tools will assist you in analyzing keywords that have the most potential of giving you strong results and variations that might be worth targeting.
All of these tools work generally the same. You enter a keyword you would have extracted from your research, and the platform will analyze it in terms of traffic volume, difficulty and opportunity. It will also offer suggestions related to your search that would be equally or more adapted than the one you typed in.
If you are moving upstream in your size of customer, then you need to focus on learning more and more about their needs and adapting your content strategy and keyword list to focus on those needs.
To be honest, that only comes from an experienced understanding of your buyer. Make sure to engage the veterans on your team—the sales and customer service people who have an intimate knowledge of who your target customers are. Also, make sure you know how to tap into the daily life of customers at larger, more complex organizations. You may be underestimating some of what they go through on a day-to-day basis.
Like most everything in inbound marketing, size-based keyword targeting is a process; there’s no one-stop, turnkey solution. But by learning and adapting overtime, you can and should refine your content to match the buyer profile you’re looking for.