Keyword Research Tips: Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating today! Please remember to take a moment to look around your dinner table to appreciate the food that’s on it, roof that’s over it, the people that surround it (yes, even Uncle Kevin), and any four-legged floor cleaners staked out nearby.

Now, since I’m awake before everyone else and, as I assume we all are, thinking about keyword research, I figured I’d make use of today’s theme and convey some thoughts on how you might be missing some important web traffic — and how a little creativity can fix that.

If you’ve done any keyword research at all, you’re probably identifying the no-brainers without issue. The names of the services or products you offer have to be first and foremost. If you sell basketball sneakers, one of your keywords is “basketball sneakers.” Oooh, ahhh. Exciting. And you’ve probably also included some secondary keywords: brand names, competitor names, shortened and extended phrasing of your products/services. Maybe you’ve also been keen enough to focus on location-specific keywords that can help differentiate you from competitors among your local market. Great work!

To go a little deeper into the next layer of keywords (the tertiary layer, since I’ll take any excuse to use that word), I’d like to introduce a company: Thanksgiving, Inc. This is an entirely made-up company that sells all things Thanksgiving related online with delivery, from prepared food to tablecloths to stretchy pants meant to accommodate a fourth helping of stuffing and gravy. Thanksgiving, Inc (henceforth referred to as TI), like you, has already figured out their most important keywords to market their products… but they’re looking for more.

Let’s break this down into three methods they should employ here:

  1. Variations
  2. Long-tail product keywords
  3. Hyper-specific keywords

I’ll preface by saying there are additional ways to identify great keywords opportunities (for example, Google Search Console keyword reports and the “Search Queries” report in AdWords), but the one’s I’m tackling today are more thought-powered, which is to say, all you need is your brain and a pen and paper.

  1. Variations: The concept here is simple, and likely not foreign to you. You have the specific names for your products that you put on your website, use over the phone and on signs in a storefront, and, to you, that’s what the products are called. Your customers may have entirely different names for some of them. What Home Depot calls “Painter’s Tape,” I call “blue tape.” As of this writing, when I search “blue tape” on Google, I get three ads, followed by the organic search results, the fourth of which is indeed Home Depot’s Painter’s Tape.In the context of TI, there’s are lot’s of these variations to consider. For example:
    • Main Keyword: Thanksgiving | Variations: Turkey Day, Tgiving
    • Main Keyword: Stuffing | Variations: Dressing, Stovetop, Bread Stuffing
    • Main Keyword: Decorative Gourds| Variations: Table Gourds, Mini Pumpkins

    The point here is that you can optimize, advertise, and vocalize the names that you have for your products all you want, but when it comes to web traffic, it’s what your customers call them that matters. Without delving into search marketing strategy here, just make sure you have those variations covered, so customers can actually find you when they search for them.

  2. Long-tail product keywords: This topic is the stuff of many blogs and such. Focusing on long-tail (the elements of your business that account for just a small percentage of your sales) can provide a nice boost to revenue, but is it always worth the time investment and opportunity cost of focusing on higher-impact efforts? I would argue that, for website traffic, the answer is yes. The reason is that a single focused page, blog post, or advertising campaign can be created once and have sustaining benefits with minimal maintenance. More maintenance is often ideal, but something is better than nothing, right?

    For TI, one good example has already been mentioned: Decorative Gourds. I think we can all agree that a company selling Thanksgiving products puts the turkey front and center, just as it will be on the dinner table. The common side dishes also have prominence. The decorative gourds? Not quite so important. BUT, “not as important” does not mean “not important.” Maybe spending an hour (or a small investment in a consultant — hint, hint) setting up a decorative gourds AdWords campaign would yield, say, $200 in sales for a given year. Maybe more. Maybe someone will buy $20 worth of gourds, love the service they get from TI, and refer their company for the next year’s $500 investment in office decorations. Maybe TI will be contracted to cover the whole office Thanksgiving Party? Is that a thing? Well, you get the point.

    Other TI long-tail opportunities: sugar-free cranberry sauce, jumbo gravy boats, autumn themed dessert plates.

    I encourage you to give some thought about the products you sell, or could sell, that are not necessarily your bread-and-butter. Just a small focus on them could give you a pleasant lift in sales. And you might just discover that one or more of these products is not as “long-tail” as you thought.

  3. Hyper-specific keywords: Here’s something I particularly enjoy in setting up Pay-Per-Click campaigns — picking off the exact searches someone might be using. TI may be advertising basic keywords like “buy thanksgiving turkey,” but chances are a lot of people typing that, or something similar, into Google are not looking for exactly what TI offers. While some certainly will, others will be seeking local deals on turkeys or advice on how to pick the right one, among other possibilities.

    So, how would TI target people who were more likely to buy from them. What about a keyword of “Thanksgiving turkey delivery service” or “buy full thanksgiving meal online”? Will there be as many people searching these phrases? Definitely not. But, will those who do be more likely to buy? You bet.

    Specifically thinking about Pay-Per-Click, the key here would be to set these keywords to “phrase” or “exact” match, so you’re getting in front of people typing exactly these words. Expect, and do so willingly, to pay more per click for these. The difference in cost per click should, if your hyper-targeting is effective, be more than covered in the improvement in sales, which will occur at a better ratio.

    Outside of Pay-Per-Click, you can also use these specific terms to create specialized blog content. TI, depending on the competition in their market, may never rank first in Google for “buy turkey online,” but with a blog post called, “Buy your full Thanksgiving Meal Online” and good quality content comprising it, they could very well jump to the top of the rankings for that one. Think of similar opportunities you have for the same.

I hope Thanksgiving, Inc. has been a helpful analogy for you. If nothing else, I hope it’s made you a little bit hungrier. Please get in touch if I can offer any other advice or services to help you accomplish your search marketing goals.

Enjoy your meal, whether it’s with friends and family or out volunteering to provide the less fortunate with their own feast. Happy Thanksgiving!

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