Then it’s time to shake Google until the keywords fall out.
What do customers want? It’s the million pound question whether you’re selling ice creams or delivering business support. I’ve been answering that question about our customers by shaking Google’s search bar until all of its keywords have fallen out.
How have I been doing that? With two awesome, free tools. The first is the fantastically titled Ubersuggest, which is like Google’s suggest function on steroids. The second is the Google Adwords keyword planner. Together, they’re telling me what local businesses want.
Only four suggestions? Hasta la vista, baby
Ubersuggest is one of my favourite toys on the internet. The idea behind it is simple. When you type a few words into the Google search bar, Google automatically tries to work out what you might be looking for and offers you some popular search suggestions; the more you type, the more refined the suggestions. What Ubersuggest does is it takes your keywords, adds the beginnings of new words after them, and then lets you know what Google would suggest (if Google could suggest literally hundreds of different things).
Use Ubersuggest to help work out the most popular search terms
I put in scores of different keywords based on business support topics from digital marketing to tax returns. Every time Ubersuggest gave me its variations, I loaded them into an Excel workbook (this bit’s important for later).
How to start a taxi company in Zimbabwe
In total, I collected over 36,000 suggestions. While most of them were relevant, like “how to get more customers in my shop”, there were a fair few that either applied to a different area “How to start a taxi company in Zimbabwe” or just weren’t relevant at all “How to watch the Apprentice season 7”. We needed to sort through our findings to pull out the real gems, and this is where the Google Analytics keyword planner came along.
Using Google Analytics gives you access to a range of useful tools
Like Ubersuggest, the keyword planner is free to use. All you need to do is set yourself up with a Google account (If you haven’t already set one up then you really should. A Google account can give you access to Google Analytics, help you show up in Google local search, and let you use awesome tools like Google docs and more). If you give the planner a list of keywords that you think might be relevant to your business then it’ll tell you which ones are the most popular, how popular they are over the course of the year and then suggest new ones. It can even tell you how popular they are within a specific location. Naturally, we picked York, North Yorkshire and East Riding.
Now, you can just give Google Adwords a few keywords (like holidays Yorkshire, B&Bs Yorkshire, Bed and Breakfasts Yorkshire etc.) or, if you’ve got a big list like ours you can upload them as a .CSV file. Just remember that you can only upload a maximum 3,000 records at a time.
What businesses want
Every time we uploaded a set of records to Google Adwords it told us which searches were the most popular and let us download the list. Every time we downloaded the list, we deleted any search suggestions that had had 0 searches within our area. Finally, we combined the searches we had left over.
The result was a list of the 1,000 top questions that local businesses wanted help with on Google which was then automatically grouped together into relevant subject areas. That’s dynamite.
Information gives you an insight into what your customers want
We’ll be using that information to give businesses a better service at our Popup Business Cafes and to let us know what articles we should be posting on our site. You could do the same thing to find out what features tourists look for when finding somewhere to stay and making sure you emphasize them in your marketing; the possibilities are endless.
And what were the top issues facing business? Digital marketing, general marketing, managing finances and writing business plans.