How to Use Keyword Research to Develop Your Content Marketing

3 minute read

Upland Admin

Image Credit: Steve A. Johnson

Keyword research.

When we see those two words together, we (understandably) think about search engine optimization, good rankings in Google, and getting more people to our websites, blogs, and other content pieces.

And, of course, that’s what keyword research was developed for: rankings and traffic.

But what if keyword research is much more than a driver of traffic? What if we could use that same simple task to both develop our Google rankings and better understand and serve our customers?

That would be a pretty big win for our online (and offline) marketing.

Which is why today I want to talk about how keyword research can help you develop your content marketing:

First, let’s talk about what keyword research is…

Just in case you’re unfamiliar with the concept: keyword research is the process of identifying which phrases or words your prospects and customers are using to search for your business, product, or service in Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc.

There are a number of keyword research tools out there and they all allow you to gather data about search terms: How many people search for this specific term? How many people search locally? How much competition is there for the term? Etc.

SEO experts use this research to determine which key phrases to optimize on your website.

And, to my point above, that same research can help you do a whole lot more than rank…

Keyword research can help you understand your customers

It’s easy to think of keyword research as robotic: just a system spitting out words and their corresponding numbers. But the reality is that keyword research is a form of market research.

When you know what your customers are typing into Google, you also get some insight into what is on those same customers’ minds.

For example, let’s say you’re working on a tech support website. Some of your team believes that users think about support in terms of symptoms (“my audio isn’t working”). Others believe that users think in terms of tasks (“how do I reset my device?”).

Keyword research can help you stop the debate and make a real decision about how to organize your site—by showing whether users search by symptom, task, or even something else, like product or model number.

Keyword research can help you brainstorm new ideas

In addition to providing a simple and affordable source of market data, keyword research can provide a whole slew of content marketing ideas.


In most keyword research tools, you can either type in a URL (your site or a competitor’s) or a phrase. Once you’ve typed one of those two things in, the tool will return a list of suggested key phrases and search terms that are either relevant to the URL or the phrase you’ve typed in.

This often means a long list of questions and topics that are relevant to your product or service and that real users are searching for. And by writing blog posts, white papers, articles, etc. on these exact topics, you can not only optimize your site for search engines, but also meet real user needs.

Your turn.

Any tips, tricks, or unconventional uses of keyword research up your sleeve? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.

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