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Keyword research can feel like a technical job. After all, you’re trying to find the phrases and keywords that people enter most often, related to the product or service, right? The importance of empathy in keyword research is often ignored.

Yes, but there are human beings behind those keywords. The phrases aren’t just data, they have meaning behind them. If you aren’t aware of the emotions embedded in Google searches, you’ll not only struggle to find the right keywords, you’ll also fail to use them correctly.

The truth is that when people use Google search they need something. Empathy means being aware of that need. Here’s why it matters.

The Importance Of Empathy In Keyword Research Helping Find User Intent

Empathy Vs. Sympathy

Conducting keyword research. The importance of empathy in keyword research.
Conducting Keyword Research For SEO. Image Source: Pixabay

Before we dive into the need to use empathy, it’s important to understand the term properly. Some people confuse empathy with sympathy or think that to have empathy you have to be a highly sensitive, emotional personality.

Empathy is simply understanding someone’s feelings and thoughts from their point of view. Sympathy is when you feel bad, feel sorrow, or have pity for what someone is experiencing. You can understand someone’s perspective without having to agree with them or feel the same way.

Hopefully, this makes it clearer that empathy is available to anyone, no matter your personality!

People Shop On Emotion

It’s often said that people love to shop but hate to be sold to. What some marketers overlook is that shopping isn’t a mechanical mathematical equation. It’s not, “Need is X, solve for X.”

Instead, shopping is very emotional. People are attracted to how items make them feel. Google search terms reflect that, and when you have empathy in keyword research, you’ll notice it. That empathy will allow you to read between the lines and see what people really mean when they’re searching.

This will help you discover more relevant terms for your business, based on what people are feeling at the time of the search. Those relevant terms can then be used according to that emotion.

Keywords Are For Customers And Google

As a marketer, you might think of keywords as tools to advise Google of your relevance on a particular topic. They do that, but your content is more than a Google roadmap. It also connects with customers.

Good search engine optimization (SEO) will allow you to rank well on Google, which means more prospects will click on your website. But once a potential customer is there, what happens?

If you have empathy as a key part of your toolbelt, the content will resonate with your potential buyer. It will fulfill the needs they expressed when searching Google. It will connect with the emotions they are feeling.

All of this connection helps the visitor stay on the website longer, explore more of the content, and ultimately become a customer. That’s what you’re looking for!

Empathy Helps You Detect User Intent

User intent is another essential element of successful marketing. You want to make sure that the content you create on your page matches where the customer is in the buying process. For instance, a search like “new sink ideas” would indicate a customer is exploring, while “clogged drain tips” show that they have a specific, immediate need.

If you’re a plumber, you need to notice user intent and use the keywords on the right parts of your website. “Clogged drain tips” would be a great keyword to use on a blog giving those tips, with a link to your drain services. “New sink ideas” is a good keyword for a decor-style blog post, with a link to learn more about your services.

Knowing where the user is in the customer lifecycle is vital if you want your content to move beyond attracting traffic and toward converting that traffic to customers.

Empathy Helps You Create Accessible Content

Using empathy to create accessible content. Girl showing a like sign to a camera.
Creating Social Media Content And Asking For Likes.

If you want to connect with potential customers, it’s important to reach all of them, not just the ones that have typical abilities. When you are focused on empathy, you’ll think about drawing in everyone. This might mean taking website accessibility classes so you know how to design your site to be available for everyone.

It’s also important to connect with potential customers across race, gender, and ethnic boundaries. As a plumber, don’t assume your customer is a white male, and as a decorator, don’t assume a client is a white female.

It can help to have a diverse staff in your business so you get multiple perspectives on your marketing message. Different points of view in your business not only help your marketing reach people effectively but also give your business a variety of viewpoints as you grow. A diverse company is a robust one!

Take Advantage Of Empathy In Your Keyword Research

Empathy — understanding someone’s feelings and thoughts from their point of view — is a powerful skill when you are creating marketing. Everything from keyword research to content creation benefits.

When you have empathy, you have a better understanding of why someone is using a specific keyword. This helps you create content that resonates with your audience and moves them to make a purchase.

To be successful, start practicing empathy in your marketing today! Once you learn the importance of empathy in keyword research you will see how it helps figure out your user’s search intent.

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Categories:  Digital Marketing / St. Louis SEO

About the Author

James McMinn

Senior Digital Strategist

James is a savvy digital marketing specialist with a Masters of Science in Internet Marketing. For the past fourteen years, he has been specializing in SEO, PPC & Marketing Strategy. He has a super sharp analytical mind and a finely tuned creative eye for marketing initiatives that optimize brands.

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