Emptiness, Discovery and a Keyword Challenge.
Almost an hour into a live workshop on SEO yesterday, we had a breakthrough in finding a keyword that seemed, at first, pretty unlikely: imac laptop. What in the world is an imac laptop? And why are there almost ten thousand searches a month for this keyword in Google Keyword Planner?
A piñon-scented lobby and a long stand of cottonwoods made the perfect backdrop for the bi-yearly conference of Apple Specialists being held at the lovely Hyatt Tamaya Resort north of Albuquerque. Inside one of the long meeting rooms, I was standing up front on a carpeted stage, wired for sound, live online, searching for keywords for one of my favorite groups of people: mac geeks.
The smart, savvy, and tenacious group of retail store owners and vendors across the US (and one group from Canada) were spending four days in meetings on marketing and sales strategies, speed dating tech vendors, and catching a final Balloon Fiesta “Glow.”
It happens with every client, and with every creative work: that moment of emptiness when you are lost in the middle without direction. In this case, no keyword we dropped into Google Keyword Planner came up with more than forty average monthly searches. That’s 40. Good luck trying to swing any traffic your way if you’re not even in the top spot on Google with that statistic. Not mac repair albuquerque, not apple services new mexico, not any iteration of brand + service + locale gave us any keyword worth checking.
I opened up Market Samurai to see if there were keywords we might be missing. I started a new project with just the seed keyword, computers. From that first list I tried affordable computers, but Apple products would most likely not come up under that.
From the stage, my heartbeat started to rise. Would the entire keyword presentation I just gave—45 minutes of searching, implementing and tracking your keyword—be moot? Would I lose this crowd to post-lunch digestive sleepiness? For fun, I suggested they put their own names into the planner as a seed keyword. The apple icons on all their laptops glowed out at me like a miniature mass balloon ascension.
I added apple repair albuquerque as a keyword, and sorted for high traffic and low competition and ended up with 11 active keywords. At the top of that list, with an SEOT (Search Engine Optimization Traffic) number of 4,158, was this keyword: imac laptop.
Imac laptop, what is that? I asked them. I know what an imac is and I know what a laptop is, but they don’t go together, do they?
“They’re confused,” a voice came from the darkened crowd. I could see heads nod. That’s when the light started to break over me and I began to grasp a potential direction.
“They think an imac is a laptop?” They nodded, almost wearily and that clued me in. “Do people come into your stores and ask for an ‘imac laptop’?” I asked, hoping. Yes, all the time, was the answer. On the verge of jumping up and down right their on the sound-proof carpeted risers, I asked the final question: “And what do you do when they ask for an ‘imac laptop?”
“We sell them something,” was the answer. Brilliant!
Yes, I am a keyword geek in an esoteric field. I get super stoked when I see a light in a tunnel: a potentially overlooked keyword with a great story.
“You mean,” I needed to verify, “that these people don’t know what they’re looking for?” Yes, the crowd said.
This is the breakthrough I always hope to find when doing keyword research, or developing creative for a new client. In two, small, inaccurately-combined words, there is a long story of—possibly—potential new customers looking to buy a mac. Right? Ten thousand searches a month from people typing in a keyword combo that reveals they do not know the difference between an imac and a laptop. Or they know the difference, but don’t know which they want. Interested, real people, and new to mac. A potential goldmine. But let’s check that.
In Market Samurai, I chose imac laptop and gave it its own tab then looked at the SEO competition.
The results on Google for that keyword show a top ten list of heavy hitters: apple.com, bestbuy.com, the Apple store, Amazon, cNet, eBay—tough competition. With high domain ages and many backlinks from .govs and .edus, the page was nearly all pink—Market Samurai’s way of saying high competition—except for one place: the on-site SEO. Totally green. The title, URL, description, and head tags were almost all free of our new keyword find.
Will this be a tough keyword to compete for? Yes, definitely. But the lack of tags duplicated exactly what I showed in my presentation: open options in on-site SEO. This may not be the right track, but it does indicate a path to be researched: What words do people who want to purchase their first mac use to find information?
The Keyword Challenge
I told the group they all needed to write a blog post by Monday using imac laptop as a keyword. Yes, I was joking—partly. I’d like to make that challenge again, here, with this blog post.
I will tag this post, and an image in this post imac laptop. I will add it to the headline, title, tag and description. If I get this post to the first page of Google unpaid SERPs, and you have a post on that page, let’s see who gets closest to the top. We may not any of us outrank the big guns, but let’s see what Google’s algorithm does.
Email me via my contact form if you are in the challenge!