You are probably on a wild goose chase if you think your business could be successful without a solid SEO plan. Essentially, search engine optimization (SEO) is the technique of adapting your website to the algorithm of search engines.
Today, there are a whopping 5.8 million searches on Google daily. A HubSpot blog claims Google processes about 70,000 search queries per second.
So, whether you are a well-established business or a small start-up, you need SEO to stand out from the crowd.
One of the most important foundations of an effective search engine optimization strategy is the research, identification, and use of keywords aimed at attracting targeted audiences to conversion. However, recent changes in the digital marketing world, driven by updates and changes in search engine algorithms, particularly Google’s Hummingbird, have led many marketers and businesses to consider: is keyword optimization still a viable process?
It’s a challenge when your target audience doesn’t know they need you yet. The trick is to be where they are, and when they are ready, they will come to you. The last thing you want to do is simply spam them in their inbox, which they will view as a nuisance. Instead, use low search volume keywords to add interesting and relevant content to your site’s pages. The trick to this is to make it educational and insightful. If you can capture the attention of someone researching low search volume keywords, you can likely convert that traffic into leads for a B2B company.
Have you ever heard the saying “A rising tide lifts all boats?” That’s how I like to think of SEO in B2B marketing. A rising tide of organic traffic lifts all our boats—it doesn’t matter if a company has a small or large budget, they still want organic traffic because it’s free and converts. In this article, we’ll talk about how and why all B2B companies, no matter their size, should be using low search volume keywords to generate leads.
Understanding Low Search Volume keywords
A particular keyword or keyword phrase is called “low search volume” if it has generated minimal search traffic according to Google. In Google’s own definition, low search volume is a status assigned to a keyword with little or no search history on Google.
Since they have a limited search history, Google would consider them obsolete and mark the keyword as inactive, preventing it from triggering your ads, which is particularly important if you use such keywords for paid advertisements. The issue with inactive status is your advertisements will not appear if anyone types in an identical or similar phrase because of this ostensibly negative mark.
It is recommended that you change these keywords entirely and remove them from your list in Google Adwords, or wait for sufficient search volume to return these keywords with low search volume. The question is whether or not these keywords should remain for your SEO plan.
Benefits of Low Search Volume Keywords
- Keywords with a low level of competition are much easier to rate for than keywords with a higher level of competition.
- Ranking for keywords with low competition would generate traffic and potential conversions.
- Long-tail rankings will rise in the future if you rank for low-competition keywords.
- Low-competition keywords serve as a foundation upon which you can build as you progress to more competitive keywords.
- Some low-competition keywords have enough traffic to generate profitable conversions that you and your client may not have expected.
Importance of Low Search Volume keywords in B2B Niche Industries
Keywords with a low search volume are those that have a small number of people looking for them. It’s possible that the keywords aren’t applicable at all, in which case targeting them is pointless. It may also be that the keyword is niched or specific (i.e. long).
If your condition fits into one of these categories, you’ve been struck with SEO gold.
Even if you lack the domain authority, brand recognition, or capital of your more developed rivals, specific and niched keywords are what will help you increase your organic traffic and business revenue.
You can rank faster for more intent-specific keywords by targeting low search volume keywords, and you can eventually use this to go after more competitive keywords. You become less reliant on Google Advertising and social media ads over time. And, as we’ve seen in recent months, after being forced to pivot due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SEO traffic continues to generate revenue even though output marketing budgets are cut.
However, the SEO approach entails more than just pursuing these keywords. You need to know which keywords are worth pursuing and how to write content in such a way that your SEO efforts pay off as soon as possible.
Let’s take a closer look at this process.
How to boost your SEO by using low-volume keywords
This strategy has proven to be effective in a variety of niche industries, but it is especially applicable to the B2B industry.
Here’s how to make a plan for it:
- For your niche, look for keywords with a low search volume. Start with bottom-of-funnel Bottom-of-the-Funnel keywords and segment your buyer persona further to avoid missing highly relevant long-tail keywords with high purchase or consideration intent.
- Create a marketing strategy based on your keywords. This provides you with a clear picture of your target focus keywords, streamlines your approach, and provides you with a clear action plan.
- Create skyscraper content with all of your Bottom-of-the-Funnel keywords before moving on to the middle of the funnel Middle-of-the-Funnel keywords. Make it really niche and buyer persona-specific so that Bottom-of-the-Funnel can provide you with as many fast wins as possible. Extend your content to target Middle-of-the-Funnel keywords once you’ve established a strong base.
- Incorporate keywords with a higher search volume into the content plan. Once you’ve developed a steady stream of organic traffic from your Bottom-of-the-Funnel and Middle-of-the-Funnel content, start focusing on higher search volume keywords and updating your content strategy to meet as much of your buyer persona’s holistic needs as possible.
- In the end, you want your company to be known as a thought leader in your field. Expand your target audience to increase brand awareness – and most importantly, scale your content. Go into depth on complex concepts, create and share your company’s industry-related views, expand your target audience to increase brand awareness – and most importantly, scale your content.
All of this should be included in your digital marketing services plan. If you have hired a good agency like UnderWP, they might already be doing it. But to have knowledge of what goes on, let’s go over the whole process in detail.
Step 1: Conduct research and choose low-volume keywords that your B2B industry audience is looking for.
Be aware of your target market.
Knowing your audience is the first step in any good SEO content strategy. Collaborate with the marketing and sales departments to define your ideal buyer persona. Create a customer journey map, a list of ideal results and pain points, and as many real-world quotes as you can.
Be sure to segment the buyer personas further for a B2B audience. Keep in mind that you’re not just selling to one user in B2B. You’re pitching to the whole purchasing committee: the people who purchase it, the people who use it, and the executives who make the final decision. Each of these groups has its own vocabulary and terminology; the IT guys will not be looking for the same keywords as the advertisers or CEOs.
If your product is business budgeting and forecasting software, for instance, you’ll almost certainly need to build content for accounting, IT, sales, and the C-suite.
Taking a customer-centric approach to content marketing allows you to select the best keywords, even those with low search volume, that drive targeted traffic.
Perform a keyword research
After you’ve created your buyer personas, conduct keyword research to determine what your target group is looking for. I’ve explained how this works with Moz below, but you can use other SEO resources like SEMrush to follow along.
When using the Moz Keyword Explorer to check for “company budgeting and forecasting tools,” this is what comes up filtered by monthly search volume:
The top searches are all advertised searches, indicating that there are obviously companies that dominate this niche. However, scrolling down the list of low search volume keywords, we find the following:
Compare and contrast the two lists of keywords. Low-search-volume keywords are those that people at the bottom of the sales funnel are looking for. People who are at least in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey seek words like “envelope budgeting software,” “budget control software,” and “budget allocation software.” They are already familiar with the concept of envelope budgeting and are searching for a particular solution.
Even though these keywords receive an average of 11 searches each month, by creating content for them, you provide the details that people searching for them need to buy your product. That’s still more money than if you were to rank for a top-of-funnel keyword like “budgeting.” You get more conversions because the content precisely suits the search purpose.
To illustrate the financial effect of this, imagine that 50 percent of the 11 people who visit your page per month purchase your $100-per-month software:
The revenue generated by that page alone is $42,900 per year.
Growing market share
Using low-search-volume keywords to extend your niche goods into new markets is also a good strategy.
Let’s say you want to grab B2B companies as soon as they enter the market. In this scenario, a freemium product aimed at small businesses and entrepreneurs will be the most effective strategy. Then, for a particular buyer persona: small businesses, you can conduct keyword analysis.
This is what the keyword analysis reveals:
We’re seeing a lot of advertised searches and top-of-the-funnel keywords once again. So let’s take a look at the rest of the list.
More bottom-of-the-funnel keywords with unique search purposes are now appearing. Creating content that funnels to your freemium budgeting tools by targeting keywords like “free budgeting software” by “budget management software” and targeting keywords like “free budgeting software” and “budget management software” is much more worthwhile than competing with the giants of your niche.
Step 2: Create a content strategy based on your keywords.
Create a content plan after you’ve compiled a list of important keywords.
Always conduct keyword research before writing your content strategy, and only write content for keywords with a monthly search volume of at least ten. This is also a better approach for low-Domain-Authority websites because there is less competition, making it easier to rank.
On the other hand, we wouldn’t suggest coming up with subject ideas first and then trying to come up with keywords for them, as this sometimes doesn’t fit with the real user intent of the target audience. You learn your audience’s language and write content explicitly for them using our suggested methodology (keywords first, content strategy second).
After you’ve completed your keyword analysis, divide them into three categories: bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU), middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU), and top-of-the-funnel (TOFU). The more keywords you use, the farther back of time you will go (months or years). Keep your buyer profile and customer journey in mind as you prepare your content, and make sure your keywords don’t overlap and your content doesn’t cannibalize each other (compete against each other).
To explain what I mean by the acronyms above, consider the following:
TOFU (Top of the Funnel): Potential clients who are only learning about the issue that your company solves, for example, will look for TOFU topics such as what it is, why it matters, and what they can do about it.
MOFU (Middle of the Funnel): Once they have a clear understanding of the issue and a few ideas about how to solve it, they can look for MOFU subjects, which are educational tools such as how-to guides and industry case studies.
BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel): keyword searches indicate that they are in the consideration or decision stages, such as when looking for product comparisons and ratings, user stories, and demos and trials.
Here’s how we map and schedule the topics for the budgeting software business, based on our earlier keyword quest.
If you already have blogs, make a list of your entire site map and match it to the emphasis and relevant keywords you identified during your keyword study. This is an excellent way to identify content differences. Select the target keywords that are most closely related to the article’s search purpose. Use a TOFU keyword, for example, if the article most benefits the audience in the knowledge stage. To increase your chances of rating your content for various variants of your target keyword, add similar keywords and look at keyword clusters (keyword groups) as you assign keywords to topics.
Step 3: Develop skyscraper content for your B2B audience.
It’s time to start creating content now that you’ve developed a content strategy. The standard SEO and content marketing best practices are applied here.
Starting with your BOFU keywords is a good place to start. Create content with all of your BOFU keywords and all of the information that your buyer personas are looking for. This is the quickest way to see a return on your content strategy, allowing you to devote more energy to your SEO strategy and overall marketing strategy.
Make use of the skyscraper method.
Starting with the skyscraper strategy is a good place to begin because it has been proven to help you outrank your competitors. Longer content ranks higher, quality articles automatically draw backlinks, and a detailed guide that is better than any of your competitors’ positions your company as a thought leader in your field. Always remember, though, that a user-friendly UI/UX design is important too.
Do a detailed competitor study and look at the top SERPs before you start writing or even setting up your layout. Analyze them and figure out how to improve your content. If you’re writing content for a comparison of budgeting and forecasting tools, for example, make it the most detailed guide possible. Give all of the important information – features, advantages, and price points – and arrange the content so that it’s easy to skim.
Don’t forget about CTAs.
Optimizing the calls-to-action is a critical component that is often ignored (CTAs). Since the aim of BOFU topics is to generate sales, the CTAs must be conversion-optimized. Links to service pages and product landing pages, as well as buttons to book a demo or download a lead magnet, are all examples of revenue-generating CTAs in B2B tech. CTAs are needed if you want your content to generate revenue for your business.
Maintain an entertaining tone.
Add interactive content such as quizzes that help your reader decide based on their personal needs or an interactive comparison table to entertain your reader (yes, Boring 2 Boring content needs to end!) If required, create infographics, overview tables, and content upgrades. To keep the audience focused, use a narrative structure and direct response copywriting strategies to guide them down the funnel.
Make a content strategy.
Start making content for your MOFU keywords once you’ve covered the majority of your BOFU keywords. Redesign your industry site, add case studies, and write comprehensive guides for all of your products and their applications.
Here’s a rough timeline you can pursue, depending on your niche and available resources:
- Month 1: SEO audit of the website, development of buyer personas, keyword research, and content mapping
- Months 2–3 – Create content using BOFU keywords
- Months 4-6 – Content development using MOFU keywords
The more time you have to devote to your SEO content plan, the faster your organic traffic and sales can increase. Bear in mind, however, that quantity is never better than consistency. Don’t just pump out material that your users won’t find useful or important. Instead, focus on producing as much quality content as possible and promoting it through email, social media, and other platforms.
Step 4: Once you’ve gained some SEO traction, start incorporating higher search volume keywords.
You can go after high search volume keywords once you start ranking for a lot of BOFU and MOFU keywords, having consistent organic traffic, and building a targeted and active user base.
This is where TOFU material enters the image. For example, our budgeting software company will now focus on “sales forecasting” and “financial planning.” You may write posts that aren’t specifically intended to be purchased but are still useful to your target audience, such as a concise summary of financial planning and management, a budget plan framework for companies of all sizes, and a step-by-step guide to finding a financial advisor.
Users who come across these posts are unlikely to make a purchase right away. You can pull in more leads into their marketing automation funnel and cultivate these relationships with lead magnets that cater to potential customers in the recognition and interest phases. Customers are more likely to buy from you and tell their friends about you as they engage more with your brand and gain a lot of value over time.
Step 5: Scale your business like a leader.
Finally, your SEO content target is for your website and brand to become the thought leader in your niche, serving as the go-to forum for anything your ideal audience requires.
Our budgeting software company, for example, will create thoughtful and valuable content on all things related to business finance and related topics. You can also create content about the psychology of wealth and prosperity, the mentality and behaviors of effective CEOs, and a novel wealth management system. You can delve into complex topics, share findings from their own study, and even start writing about personal finance.
HubSpot is a great example of how to scale smartly and become a content marketing powerhouse. They matured with their audience and also expanded the boundaries of their industry by developing SEO content focused on thought leadership.
Their revenue of USD 674.9 million in 2019 (up 32 percent from 2018) demonstrates the effect of good content on business development. Let’s not forget that all advertisers are well aware that their thought leadership technique has infiltrated our minds and hearts to the point where we now wonder, “If HubSpot hasn’t written about it, does it really exist?”
If you’ve established a level of confidence, authority, and brand recognition, your content platform becomes your most critical marketing and business growth channel, resulting in a significant sales boost and overall improvement in business results.
Keywords with a low search volume are not only worthwhile, but also essential.
It’s difficult to create an SEO content strategy that yields early ROI when you’re tasked with growing a company website with low domain authority, little organic traffic, and no backlinks. When you look at the high-volume keywords, you might wonder how you’ll ever compete with these content giants.
What’s the secret? Don’t do it.
Start small and dominate keywords with low search volume. Don’t ignore these keywords based on the fact that only ten people are looking for them. Like they say “the riches are in the niches” is completely true.
Tousif Baig is a Digital Marketing Consultant who develops holistic and digital marketing strategies for B2C and B2B companies. I write more on UnderWP’s blog about WordPress development and digital marketing strategies. My speciality lies in creating and delivering profitable digital marketing services strategies to our clients at UnderWP. With the right marketing plan, I can help you scale your company sustainably.