Killer Keyword Research
For High Conversion Rates

Peter Boyle

When I say keyword research, what is it you think of?

You’ll likely conjure images of Google’s keyword planner, Moz tools or even Market Samurai.

Spending countless hours figuring out exactly what your prospects are typing into Google so you can create content that gets found.

But, that’s not what I want to talk about today.

Traditional keyword research is a topic that’s been covered so many times, I’ll be adding nothing to the internet by covering it yet again.

Instead of retreading the well worn path of traditional keyword research and raising your placing in the SERPs, I want to focus on conversion keyword research.

No, I’m not crazy and yes, it is a real thing that’s incredibly different from knowing what prospects type into Google.

It’s also the only real way to create incredible landing pages that really resonate with your audience.

So erm… What Exactly is Conversion Keyword Research?

I’m not going to re-cover the basics of what drives sales. 

We all know that trust and forming connections are huge components in persuading prospects to purchase your product.

Whilst this little nugget is thrown about on every site, the way to build that trust is often overlooked.

Ask any marketer how to build trust and they’ll use the go to answers of social proof and compelling headlines.

They’re undeniably right, but simply stating that you need compelling headlines to hook attention and social proof to reduce friction isn’t exactly helpful.

The real question you need to be asking is, how do you create compelling headlines?

What is it you can put into your copy that’s going to make the prospect stop and think, ‘hey, this is exactly what I’m looking for. These guys get me’?

That’s what conversion keyword research is all about.

Ensuring that your content has the maximum impact and resonates at the highest level with your audience.

And here’s how to do it.

What You Need to Look For

Before you get started on identifying your conversion keywords, let’s outline precisely what you need to be looking for.

To start, ignore anything you get from traditional keyword research.

Here’s why:

Let’s imagine that we’re optimizing copy for a store that sells martial arts training equipment.

A quick search for “Martial Arts Supplies” in Google’s Keyword Planner brings up the following.

keyword research
These keywords won’t make your conversion rates sky rocket.

The above may help you devise content people are searching for, but are terrible ideas for creating a compelling landing page.
Just picture it, you head to a new sports retailer’s website who has a landing page optimized for a new product where the tagline is: Best Martial Art Supplies

Wow. This is so exciting! Where do I sign up?!

Seriously though, traditional keywords do nothing to persuade or instill desire in your prospects.

These keywords explain what the product is.

But to make sales, you need to explain how it’s going to help your prospect achieve their goals.

So what should you be looking for?

Well, there’s 3 primary areas that you want to keep a running tally of throughout this process.

You need to know:

What People Want – The best business advice around is to make sure that there’s a market for your product.

If there’s no market, it’s not going to sell.

Know what your prospects want and tailor your marketing to align with their wants, needs and desires.

Prospect Problems – Aligning your marketing with the desires of your prospects isn’t enough.

The most compelling sales copy sets out to solve the problems of your prospects.

If you can market your product as the end to all their woes, you’re going to sell a lot.

Their Language – It may seem superficial, but using the wrong language can immediately destroy trust.

You’ll be marketing your product to a specific crowd who are knowledgeable in the area.

If you can’t speak the same lingo, you’ll be dismissed as a fraud.

After all, it’s easy to spot a fake.

conversion keyword research
Let’s just be real – image source

There’s plenty of studies out there which note the usefulness of mimicking language. 

This study in particular demonstrated that “forms of linguistic mimicry are associated with the establishment of trust”.

Find your prospects desires and problems and identify how your product can help.

Use the language your prospects use to explain how your product can help for a solid bond and an increased level of trust.

Where Should You Document all of Your Research?

The success of this approach relies heavily on your ability to find patterns and recurring themes throughout your research.
To make this as easy as possible, you’re going to need a comprehensive spreadsheet where you’ll record everything you find.
Think of it as a keyword research hub.
I recommend building upon Joanna Wiebe’s review mining advice and setting up a spreadsheet with 4 columns.
1) Recurring/Memorable Phrases (this is for the language that resonates well with your audience)
2) Desires/Wants/Needs
3) Pain points/Problem areas
4) Primary issue (think value, customer service, marketing angles etc, this column is to make searching through your data easier at a later date).

When you’re trawling your way through the research there’s a real temptation to shorten what it is your prospect has been saying.

Don’t do this.

We’re looking not just for the problems they have, but also the language they use to describe them.  

The language used is incredibly important and direct quotes – in full – are a must.

Take the below review for a punch bag as an example.

keyword conversion
Using direct pieces of this quote can make for great copy.

Don’t over simplify the review and document the wants as ”good value” and “great exercise”, this doesn’t help with creative copy that resonates.

Directly quote the most important phrases.

This is the only way that you’ll find the recurring phrases that make good USPs, headline fragments or benefit explanations later on.

In the above case I’d split it into four, the quote here is on the left with what I might enter into the “primary value” column in the table on the right.

Brilliant punch bag and really cheap” – Value for money (always important!)

My kids haven’t stopped playing with it, great exercise for all the family” – Family angle

High quality sellers are really friendly too” – Value / Customer service

Delivery was almost next day” – Customer service / Delivery

So now the basics of what we’re looking for and the outline of your spreadsheet has been explained.

Let’s look into how to find the information to populate your spreadsheet.


What’s the easiest way to understand someone’s opinion?

Ask them.

There’s so many tools out there that allow you to delve into the browsing actions and habits of your audience that we often overlook the most simple of research methods.

You don’t need to delve into your analytics data, mine reviews or take a clandestine approach to your research.

Sure they help to round out your data (more on that later) but your first stop should always be with your existing audience.

Your existing audience already have a relationship with you and know your products better than any new prospect.

They’re in a prime position to offer huge amounts of useful advice.

Don’t be afraid to ask them what they really think.

Thanks to services such as SurveyMonkey or even Google Forms, you can get a survey together and send it out to your audience in next to no time.

However, sending a survey is no guarantee that you’re going to find useful information or even get results.

So what can you do to make sure that your survey gets filled out and hits the mark?

1) Only use open ended questions

Remember that we’re also looking for language use and patterns.

If you go with multiple choice you only have yes/no answers to work with.

“Do you like the product? – Yes” is useless for finding key words, turn every question into an open ended question and let your prospects tell you exactly what they like and don’t like in their own words.

2) Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS)

Only ask as many questions as is necessary.

Don’t go overboard and create a 300 question survey.

People are busy, they don’t have the time to be sat there for hours just to help you out.

Keep the number of questions low and the questions themselves simple.

3) Incentivize

Sometimes you can’t avoid a complicated long winded survey.

Most of your prospects will start but, upon realizing how long it is, quickly exit the survey to do something more productive.

If you’re having issues with the amount of feedback you’re receiving, you’ll need to incentivize your prospects.

In your email asking for help, outline how there’ll be a 10% discount voucher (or whatever you deem a suitable reward) for those who finish.

It may hurt to lose out on a little income in the short term, but the information you receive should help your recover it all and then some.

Surveys are a great starting point to populate your spreadsheet, but they’re far from the be all and end all.

You’re going to want to round out your survey data with a little…

Social Media Data

Whilst surveys are great, those surveyed are often very aware that you are going to be reading their answers.

This can lead to answers which aren’t always 100% accurate.

Thankfully, we now have a place where people share what could be considered a little too much personal information.

Social Media.

Facebook and Twitter have become the go to places for people to vent their frustrations which makes them the ideal hunting ground for honest opinions about you, your products and those you’re in direct competition with.

Here’s what you should be looking out for.

What are People Saying TO You on Social Media?

When a customer is happy they’ll often tweet or send a public message over Facebook to your company.

These can be a great place to find good keywords or overall marketing ideas.

To stick with the Martial Arts theme I headed over to Blitz Sport’s (one of the UK’s largest Martial Art retailers) SM pages.

I found a huge number of potential keyword examples over there.

good social media keyword
social media keyword research
Well, thanks David!

The above favorable reviews help outline what customers find valuable about the products and services the company provides.

If we look at the above and couple it with the punch bag review from Amazon mentioned at the start, we can already see that value for money and quality are huge factors (unsurprisingly!).

The Facebook comment is slightly more valuable in my opinion.

Not only does it outline how the company handles problem orders (could use exemplary customer service is landing page copy, use it to back up a guarantee) but the commenter also uses language which might make for a good split test.

“It’s about how you embrace one’s challenges and come back” is a very Martial Arts thing to say and would likely resonate well with a wider Martial Arts audience.

What are People Saying About You?

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in the world of social media.

Twitter has become the most efficient way of getting a response to a complaint.

No one enjoys reading complaints about their products or services, but they are imperative to bettering your business as a whole and the marketing materials you put out.

Simply head to Twitter or Facebook and use the on site search bar to search for your company name, individual products or services.

This will turn up any mention of your business whether it be directed at you or at the internet in general.

Just be sure that the comments are about your company and not something else which is similar in name.

Searching for your own business and products is only the start here.

To really add that bit extra to your research keep an eye out for commonly used hashtags.

They can often open your research up to include far more comments that you weren’t aware of.

After a recent bad experience with a company I noticed that others who complained used the hashtag #CrapService.

After clicking through I found a treasure trove of complaints.

social media hashtags keyword conversion
You definitely don’t want to find your service/product on a trending complaint hashtag.

The majority of hashtag related comment won’t be related and you won’t be able to use them to understand your specific audience.

They are however a great starting point for understanding the general feelings of online consumers as a whole.

Mining Reviews

Social media is great for understanding the colloquial terms prospects use in reference to your products.

However, if you’re looking for extremely specific content related to individual products, little beats review mining.

Reviews have become a prominent feature on nearly every eCommerce site. 

According to, 63% of customers are more likely to purchase form a site that features product reviews.

They’re what new prospects jump to first because they trust the impartial advice of those with similar interests.

It’s that impartial, honest advice which also makes reviews an absolute treasure trove of information for your conversion keyword research.

By checking the reviews on Amazon, Yelp!, Google Reviews etc you can get a real insight not only into the current lay of the land of your industry, but also the key issues prospects want solved.

The fact that you can lift the exact language your prospects use to add that extra trust building mimicry to your copy is the cherry on top.

In fact Joanna Wiebe, who I’ve already mentioned in this piece, “stole” the USP for a landing page for a client from a review site which ended up increasing conversions by over 400%!

Review mining is great as you don’t have to rely on your own audience.

If you’ve already got products out there eon offer then great, but it wouldn’t hurt to bolster your own information with the reviews of competitor products.

It’s also the ideal method for the fresh startup or for companies looking to branch out into new areas.

You can get a head start by understanding exactly what your prospects want, need and have problems with in your industry before launching your product!

Well now, once you’ve collected a full set of data, the most important step is to discard any information, language or pain points that are infrequent or solitary in nature.

You may come across a problem that’s a deal breaker for Onlinemum123, but you can’t optimize your copy just for one prospect.

You’ve got to look at the larger picture.

Only use the information that comes up frequently throughout your research.

The more frequent a certain problem/desire/phrase appears, the bigger its impact will be. It’s not guesswork, but cold hard facts.

You’re optimizing your copy for the widest audience possible, so listen to what they say as a whole.

There’s no hard and fast rule for an optimal number of appearances.

Your research is going to be specific to your brand, products and the number of prospects/customers you survey.

A safe rule of thumb is to find the top five repeating elements and use them to create a few variables for split testing.

Oh, and don’t be afraid of straight up stealing copy from the reviews, comments and surveys in your research.

Sometimes, its the best way of finding that killer phrase, angle or message for your copy.

After all, imitation is the highest form of flattery.

So there’s a quick and dirty guide on how to find the conversion keywords that drive sales by, well, theft. You can get start targeting those keywords with PPC ads

I’d love to hear your take on the topic!

Or if you have any other ways to create a killer landing page, headline, USP or CTA please let us know how in the comments below.

P.S. Did you like what you read here? Gained some insight?  Tweet and post this to your peeps to share the wealth.

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