Keyword research for audience-centric content production

In this article you'll learn:

  • How to develop a keyword approach for your therapy area
  • How to unlock the potential of keywords
  • How to prioritise content production to maximise search opportunities

As discussed in our post Understanding HCP Search Behaviour, well researched search data can offer us fantastic insight into how HCPs search, helping us to create campaigns which intersect perfectly between what an HCP audience wants to know and what we, as marketeers, need to communicate.

So far so good, but on a practical level this data needs to be organised to become meaningful and actionable:

  • We a need to avoid getting lost in a data rabbit hole and missing the ‘big themes’ typical of HCP search. For example, as mentioned in Understanding HCP Search Behaviour we know that 72% of searches are technical in nature, but we have to be sure we’re capturing the significant minority of non-technical searches.
  • In addition to functional, product-related content, we need to identify informational content; that is content which is one step removed from a product but still relevant and still content a brand has a clear ‘right’ to talk about it. Informational content is crucial in meeting the contextual needs of an audience, building trust and helping a site gain visibility in search engines.
  • The result of keyword research must be of practical value to content creators, for example it must be organised in such a way that it can inform the structure of an article.

Organising keyword research

To achieve these aims, the first step is to develop a keyword taxonomy, which logically groups searches into broad areas, before breaking these down into themes, categories and specific topics. This methodical approach applies equally well to both HCP and consumer audiences, with the resulting keyword taxonomy bespoke to a therapy area or project.

To bring this idea to life, the diagram below demonstrates an example for the consumer emergency contraception market. It shows how we use it to explore just one strand of keyword research, in reality this process is repeated many times at each level of the keyword taxonomy:


Realising the value of keyword research 

Once we have a solid keyword structure, we can then complete keyword research (if applicable using the HCP methodology discussed in Understanding HCP Search Behaviour) which will leave us with a comprehensive keyword set. Our proprietorial tool suite then lets us unlock the true potential of these keywords by helping us analyse a number of factors which will in turn put us in the best possible position for content creation:

What? For example: Why?
Search volume and keyword count
Understand the number of searches and the amount of keywords at different levels of the taxonomy -   Are there more searches around preventing or diagnosing a condition? Understand the potential site traffic and how much content is needed across different parts of the taxonomy
Search landscape
Understand which sites are competing from a search perspective and how this varies across the taxonomy -   Within the UK, the will often dominate for treatment, but less so for terms relating to living with a condition - dedicated charities may do better here.

-   Are the sites which surface HCP or patient-focused, do they look at one condition or many?

This process lets us identify the characteristics of top performing sites and measure how consistently they perform across the taxonomy. This lets us understand how well audience search requirements are being met and puts us in a better position to outperform the competition.
Market Proficiency 
Once we understand which sites are competing from a search perspective we want to understand why they are performing as they are, learning from their strengths and spotting opportunities. A multitude of factors effect a site’s performance including perceived authority, engagement and user experience, as well as content. This gives a wholistic picture of competitor performance so  strategic recommendations can wrap in a full range of performance factors, alongside content considerations. This in turn ensures any content produced has maximum impact.
Content quality and quantity
Analyse the amount of content and measure alignment with our keywords for top performing sites Our <content optimisation tool> expresses alignment to each keyword category as a percentage, giving us an objective measurement useful for comparison Enables us to create a benchmark for the volume and quality of content which will need to be produced.
Identify keyword niches
Augment content quality measures with paid search metrics to pinpoint specific groups of keywords where search volume remains healthy but where competition is lower Our <Keyword Identification Tool> produces a percentage based ‘ease of win’ score allowing us to pick the winnable battles in the short and long term Facilitate efficient content production and promotion, designed to maximise the impact on the site,

Examples of outputs from our tools for the consumer emergency contraception market are captured in the slide show below.

As the above slides demonstrate, our methodical approach to keyword research combined with outputs from our tools gives us a brilliant base from which to prioritise content for production, optimise that content for discovery and organise content in an intuitive, audience-centric way.  This solid base can then be overlaid with commercial and market consideration to give a truly holistic approach which will allow us to create websites which perfectly balance the needs of audiences with our commercial objectives.