The way people use technology is constantly evolving, and tech companies have the responsibility of predicting these trends so they can improve their products accordingly. Any tech boss will tell you that development capabilities are eye-wateringly expensive, therefore wrongly predicting a technology trend can make or break a business.
But how can you be 100% sure that you are developing your product or business to accommodate a real future need?
Rather, you can draw on search engine keyword research to help inform your future product changes, to decrease the chances of throwing your development money into a deep and scary hole in the ground.
The Importance Of Getting Product Changes Correct
According to PayScale, the average software developer costs $69,000 per year. If you are a startup carefully watching your bottom line, then keeping an eye on your development budget is a must. Therefore, changes and improvements to your products need to be in demand and profitable.
Keyword Research = Knowing Consumer Intent
Keyword research allows us to see what people are thinking. And we can use this to build up our knowledge of our consumers’ intent.
Google has become the go-to tool for the retrieval of information. By analyzing the words and phrases that people are searching for in Google, we can begin to understand the kind of things people are thinking about.
An advantage of this data is that the words/phrases people search for in Google are the thoughts that were so important to them that they needed to actively search for it. Therefore, you can say with some certainty that searches in Google are done by people who have material interest in the phrase or words they search for.
Where Can I Get this Data?
There are a number of tools where you can get the keyword data you need. The two factors needed to be able to conduct this research successfully are: the keyword, and the volume of searches in your chosen location.
Here are a few tools to find the data:
Google Keyword Planner is a great free tool that gives you relatively complete keyword volume data. If you are spending a lot on Adwords already, then you may be eligible to receive more precise keyword volume data. Ask your Google Adwords account manager for details. Adwords also allows you to filter the data based on country and even city.
Keywordtool.io is excellent for finding keywords, however getting the keyword volume to go with it will cost you. You also cannot be as specific as Adwords when filtering for keyword volume from specific countries/cities.
Moz Keyword Explorer gives you a few queries for free, but after that, you have to pay. Moz is very easy to use and allows you to filter out the different types of keyword suggestions that are available. For example, you can include only keyword suggestions that are questions. However, I have found the keyword volume data to be less reliable than Adwords.
Now that I Have the Tools, What Should I do?
Search for your brand name, or specific products that you sell and see what other keyword suggestions are created as a result.
As a few basic examples:
If your product is often searched in combination with the word [integrations], then you should have another look into the types of integrations you could build that would be useful to your customers. Maybe there is also search volume for the specific tools that your customers want you to integrate with.
‘Cheap [Your product]’ might suggest that you need to offer a cheaper version of your product, or maybe that people are interested in finding discount codes to apply to your product from external sites.
‘[Your product] live chat’ could suggest that users want a more direct and faster way to contact you, possibly through a live chat module on the site or in-app.
‘[Your product] support’ could suggest that you need to make the support center or documentation more noticeable on the site. Or that your product needs to be more intuitive.
How has Bynder used Keyword Research to Help Inform Product Changes
After conducting extensive keyword research, as well as a number of other investigations into how to improve our product, we decided to build the Bynder Mobile App.
Here you can see the keyword ‘bynder mobile app’ in keywordtool.io, which was one of the factors that we took into account when building the Bynder mobile app.
What Other Sources of Information Should Inform your Product Changes?
The only downside of using keyword research to inform product changes is that you cannot verify who is doing the searching. This means that you cannot be sure how well informed the searcher is about your existing product and what it does (for example, you may already have the product feature that the searcher is searching for). Therefore, the insights that you get from keyword research should be used in combination with other product research, such as focus groups and simply asking your existing customers up front.
Keyword research can be an excellent way to gain real actionable insights into what your customers think of your product and how they want it to improve in the future. Making use of these insights is key to ensuring the efficient use of your development budget – helping your organization to maximise your development ROI.
Jack Saville is an SEO Specialist at Bynder, a digital asset management vendor with offices around the world. Jack is interested in all things SEO, ASO and YTO (YouTube Optimisation; Im hoping this abbreviation catches on!). When offline you can find Jack cycling around the canals of Amsterdam.