Keyword Research Tools for B2B Organizations
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Keyword research tools (also referred to as keyword discovery tools) help B2B businesses discover what terms are being searched for by their target audience. They provide us a glimpse into the psyche of our prospect and what we should be targeting. Imagine if there was a solution that could tell us what prospects are searching for, how they verbalize challenges in their minds and then type it out in their words. Imagine a solution that could tell you how often those words are searched and if one term is used more than another. This is the insight that was never available to the marketers of the past, but it’s here for the B2B business in the form of keyword research tools.
What is the main use of keyword research?
The most common use of keyword research is in search engine optimization. Undertaking keyword research allows us to better understand the search terms our target audience uses. We can then optimize our websites and develop content based on this insight. A keyword research tool for example can tell me that "keyword research tools" is searched 880 times per month in the US.
Why is keyword research important for B2B organizations?
You are not your customer. That is what we need to keep telling ourselves. The process of keyword discovery helps us to think more like our customer, or at least understand what they might be thinking. The insight gained from keyword research should inform all parts of our messaging and the customer-facing organization.
- B2B Product managers should use it to inform the product roadmap. What problems are your audience trying to solve?
- B2B Marketers should use it to inform messaging.
- B2B Sales should use it to relate to the customer better by using the terminology that the customer uses.
- B2B Support and customer care should use it to identify common issues and set up alerts for when these are mentioned.
How could a B2B organization use insights from keyword research?
A good keyword research tool can help you better understand your market in the following ways:
- See if there is a market for your product based on people searching for the challenges it solves.
- Evaluate the size of that market based on how often something is being searched.
- Understand what terms prospects might be using when they are researching their challenges
In a B2B context, keyword research tools are helpful in discovering how the market might describe the challenges they are having, and what solutions they are researching. In B2B markets we are often guilty of failing to describe our complex products in an easy-to-understand way.
Keyword research tools for B2B organizations
Ahrefs “Tools to grow your search traffic, research your competitors and monitor your niche”. In addition to keyword research, the tool provides a lot of interesting insights around content popularity and links between sites.
Pricing starts at $99 per month
KWFinder focuses on keyword research but additional insights on links, search results pages and rank tracking are available as separate tools. This gives it a clean, easy to use interface, but lack of integration.
Pricing starts at $29.90 per month for all tools.
As its name suggests long tail pro focuses the discovery of long tail terms. These are the large numbers of terms that are searched in low quantities. The tool focuses specifically on keyword research rather than offering the more extended suite of a keyword research tool such as AHrefs.
Pricing starts at $25 per month.
The Moz suite of products evolved from SEOMoz which was an SEO agency and their site hosted a very strong community. Moz now focuses on the SEO tools it provides and there is still a strong community in place. Tools include keyword research plus others.
Moz starts at $99 per month.
SEMrush pitches itself as the ‘all-in-one’ marketing toolkit. It’s a keyword research tool and a lot more besides including the ability to do audits, tracking rankings and more. The number of options can make it difficult to use, but caters for the more advanced user.
Pricing starts at $99.95 per month.
SE Ranking is a relative newcomer to the space. Although their suite of tools includes keyword research, their website audit and keyword tracking capabilities are much more capable. The pricing is where this tool wins. At only $5 per month for their most basic package.
Pricing starts at $5 per month.
Another new commer to the market. SERP stat again provides a suite of tools however unlike the other newcomer SE Ranking, it's keyword research tool appears to be much more capable. It also offers a strong set of competitor analysis tools.
Pricing starts at $19 per month.
SpyFu is an SEO and PPC research tool. It breaks down the numbers for global and local monthly searches for a phrase. Its focus appears to be much more on the AdWords/Paid search side than SEO. Great for seeing how competitors using a specific keyword in their copy.
Pricing starts at $33 per month.
What information do keyword research tools provide?
Keyword research tools often don’t just provide information on what people are searching for, but they go far beyond that in what they can reveal. Using keyword research tools we can:
- Compare one search phrase to another
- Understand the popularity of searches within given geographies, known as search volume
- Evaluate the level of competition around phrases, often referred to as keyword difficulty.
- Calculate potential traffic to websites based on search volume and keyword difficulty.
- Show related keywords and those that might be considered "Long Tail Keywords"
Different keyword discovery tools have different capabilities, but they all provide similar core functionality. Tools like AHrefs will provide additional information around how sites link to each other (backlink profiles), others like SEMrush reveal more information about paid search.
How would B2B marketers use information from a keyword research tool?
As marketers, we are always looking for ways to cut through the noise and resonate with our audience. The speed and simplicity of keyword research means that it’s something all marketers should use it to inform their work. If we know how our audience is thinking and verbalizing the challenge in their own minds, then we can use keyword research in several ways.
- Use keyword research to inform our landing page copy and headlines.
- Optimize web pages for specific terms to increase organic traffic
- Use terms that resonate within email subject lines
- Develop calls to action
- Use customer terminology rather than internal speak when describing products or challenges
Market research can be expensive and difficult to access, keyword research gives you market insights that could make a big difference to the effectiveness of your activity. Keyword research tools should be used in all scenarios where it’s important to resonate with the prospect.
What unique challenges face the B2B marketer when choosing a keyword research tool?
B2B marketers are often dealing with small-market sizes. Although every purchase might be worth tens of thousands if not more, the number of individuals in that market might be just a few hundred. Keyword research works great when there are tens of thousands of people looking for a product but less so when there are just a few hundred. Keyword research tools rely on a keyword research database, a list of searched terms and how often they are searched. The tools use this keyword research database to predict search volume. If your keywords don’t exist in this database because the volume is low, then it may not be reportable in the keyword research tool. B2B marketers should use keyword research as one of their tools for research but not their only tool.
What features should keyword research tools include?
Many of the premium keyword research tools offer a lot more than just keyword research. Most pitch themselves as a “suite of tools”. The results provided on basic search volume are almost identical because many of them access the same database. How they present the data, ease of use and the layering of other information and tools on top is often the differentiator.
- Show search volumes
- Show search volume broken down by geography
- Show related keywords
- Show competition/competitiveness
- Provide an analysis of the search results page
How can I help you find the right keyword research tool?
As marketers we want to build as much rapport with our audience as possible. We can spend huge sums on carrying out market research, but often overlook the value of keyword research. Billions of terms are searched across the web daily, we can use this information to learn about our audience, and build out messaging that is going to be more relevant. If we use keyword research in our SEO efforts we'll also attract far more traffic.
If you would like to have a free discovery call to discuss how keyword research could help your business, let me know.