Know the Language of Ignorance

Whenever we start an SEO program here at Ecreative, one of the very first things we do is dig into the keyword research. Even if the client already knows what keywords they want to target, we can’t in good conscience start work until we know what we’re going after, who the competition for those phrases is, and which keywords matter most — both in terms of their impact on the business, and in terms of how many people are searching for them.

I’m of the strong belief that any SEO that will work on ranking keywords without doing research first, is probably doing a disservice to their clients.

One of the big steps in keyword research comes more from talking to clients and understanding their business than it does from using Google’s keyword tool. You have to come to understand the lingo of ignorance.

Optimize for the Ignorant

One of the common mistakes I see if companies trying to optimize their pages only for experts, using lingo and terminology that is standard within their industry, but that people outside the industry aren’t aware of. Sometimes this is a good idea: if you’re selling hydraulic clamping systems for CNC machines, you can probably expect that your customers know what you’re talking about and are, indeed, going to be looking for hydraulic clamps and other technical terms.

But if you’re selling just about anything targeting consumers, rather than other businesses, you better know what the most ignorant and clueless person is going to search for. Because that is probably your largest group of potential customers. After all, the experts who know everything already probably also already know who their possible vendors are. But the person who knows nothing is going to be the one sitting down on Google or Bing and searching to find out how to get custom printed cable ties. Maybe instead of looking for cable ties, they’re going to look for zip ties. Almost certainly they’re going to look for custom printing rather than, for example, sequential numbering, or custom branding.

I’m not generally a very cynical person, and I don’t mean to sound mean or degrading when I say this, but in general when you’re making anything for people to use on the internet, your safest route is always to assume that the user is a dumbass.