Is your association trying to find the best way to support your members through their professional growth? Whether they are starting a business are advancing their careers, you can use keyword research and Google Analytics to start answering this question. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a search nerd like me to do this, it’s an easy way to gain insights into your membership without a ton of experience with keyword research or Google Analytics.
Don’t you wish you could pick up the phone and ask your members these questions. In a perfect world the conversation would go something like this:
Marketer: Hi Member, thank you for taking my call. Tell me, what are you missing from your career that would make you better at your job? How can we add so much value to your business that you would love us for ever and ever?
Member: You know, I have looked for information on [how to be awesome at my job]… and you know, it would be really great if I could find a resource that helped me…[be awesome].
Marketer: Thank you for sharing that with me! I’m going to share your insights with our team.
…then you hang up and do a happy dance because you were just handed the holy grail of insights that will help you crush it for months to come.
But we both know this is typically how that conversation goes:
Marketer: Hi Member, how are you enjoying the conference? Tell me, what are you missing from your career that would make you better at your job? How can we add so much value to your business that you would love us for ever and ever?
Member: Hmm, gosh I don’t know. I’m pretty happy right now. I don’t think there’s anything I need but I’ll reach out if I think of anything.
Sound familiar? It should because there is a reason behind this being the typical response. We don’t keep a running list of needs and wants that can be pulled out on a whim. It just doesn’t work that way.
It has been stated that we typically have over 50,000 thoughts per day. That means while your member may have things they thought about at lunch that could help them better their career, 49,999 other thoughts are probably in the way of it now and chances of you capturing it are slim.
So how do you do it then? How do you get solid answers to these questions without sitting next to your members all day long? Two words, keyword research.
One of the most common places your members go for answers is a search engine. So why not tap into the data that you have access to in order to help us get these answers? By using this little technique you’ll be able to tap into that moment in time where your members are actually thinking about how to progress their career rather than asking them to recall it at a social event hours later.
Google Search Console’s Performance Report
Google Search Console (GSC) provides a TON of cool information. Right now, we’re going to focus in on the Performance report because it will tell us the search queries (keywords) Google displayed your website for.
To get to this report go to Search Console and click Start Now. Then, make sure you’re logged into an account that has access to the data. Once you’re there, click Performance in the left nav. It should look something like this…
Make sure you update the time-frame for the data so you get a nice data-set to work with. For this I typically go with as much as possible so select 16 months.
Do your best to ignore ranking information or clicks for now. They don’t mean anything to this specific task. Right now we’re looking for insights into what people searched for in order to better understand their intent.
I find it easier to export the keyword data into a Google Sheet or excel spreadsheet. Once you have the data in a spreadsheet you can break down the list of keywords into topics. If you’re really looking to fly that nerd flag you can even break it into the types of questions being asked such as ‘how to’ or ‘what is’. Remember, we’re looking for user intent here.
Google Analytics’ Site Search Report
The second tip I have is where things really start to get interesting. It is great seeing what search results you show up for, but with Google Analytics’ Site Search report you’re able to see what search terms are used on your site.
Now, a little disclaimer that Site Search may need to be set up in your Google Analytics account. It doesn’t track this automagically like most of the other reports. If it isn’t set up, you can get more info on that here.
I love love love this report because it gets right to the nuggets of goodness you’re looking for. How are your website users trying to use your website to enhance their career? How can they be better at their jobs or just find an authoritative answer to their question? Perhaps some day I’ll write a post on all the different ways you can use this data but for now, know that you should get comfortable with this report.
To get to it in Google Analytics, select Acquisition in the left nav, then Site Search. From there, select Search Terms and PRESTO, nuggets.
If you’re having trouble getting to these reports or want someone to talk through getting the most of this data, I’m always here to help. Drop me a line and I’ll be more than willing to look at your report with you.
There are several cool ways to use your SEO data to enhance member experience, these are only two examples. If you use Google Analytics, search console or any other SEO related data to be a more member-centric association, I would love to hear about it.