How to Find Powerful Product Keywords That Convert

Tried and True Tactics to Get Your First Customers Using SEO

Jason Quey
Last updated: Apr 07, 2023
Originally published: May 15, 2019

Apple’s product launches were the work of a legend.

Millions of people would watch Steve Jobs live as he showed off their latest gadget. With a little magic, Apple products flew off the shelves. Over a million iPhone 3G’s sold opening weekend. The iPhone 4 sold 1.7 million units in three days. And the iPad sold over 300,000 units on launch day.

But have you considered how SEO can help you with your next product launch? Or if you already have a product in the marketplace, what keywords you should target to get more customers into the door?

It doesn’t matter if you have a physical product or a software tool. Targeting product keyword phrases will help you get more customers at scale.

Here’s what I’m covering in today’s article:

  1. Why you should focus on product keywords
  2. How to find product keywords from customer interviews
  3. How to find product keywords from competitors
  4. How to find high commercial intent product keywords

Why You Should Focus on Product Keywords

When I started this site, I came across the term “growth ramp” after interviewing potential customers. At the time, the exact phrase received 10 searches a month. While that seems small, there are other search variations that bring in search traffic.

Further, this means the phrase is already used by others. This hijacks the phrase to further increase my brand.

And since I needed to buy a domain for my website, this traffic was essentially free. Because branded search terms (e.g. growth ramp) typically rank #1, this helped my site get organic traffic from the beginning.

It’s important the name you choose for a product communicates what your product plans to do. But if everything else is equal, why not choose a keyword that will bring in more potential customers?

You can also use product keywords to build interest around a product. These keywords are great with landing pages to gain new customers at scale. In the SEO industry, we say these keywords have high commercial intent. This is because customers who do a search with these phrases have a higher intention to buy a product.

Related Article: The best landing page builders for startups

How do you find product keywords to target? One of the best ways to find high commercial intent keywords is to talk to your customers.

How to Find Product Keywords From Customer Interviews

If you’ve read articles from me before, you know I’m a huge advocate of founders and marketers talking to customers.

What questions should you ask your customers to find product keywords?

First, I like to ask customers about their day-to-day challenges, and how a client’s tool solves their problems.

Here are a few responses a client’s customers gave me:

  1. I am a wedding photographer. Keeping track of my clients while trying to pursue my personal fine artwork as well as maintaining the structure as a freelancer is challenging. I struggle with maintaining a work/life balance.
  2. Training my team, finding the right team members, and generating new sales. Those things are directly tied to my ability to generate revenue and a profit.
  3. We currently have 35 people. I receive tons of emails and I love to structure this workflow well. Another problem is hiring great people.

From these responses, I would potentially target these keywords for this product:

  1. Client management software/system
  2. Improve team communication
  3. Sales management software
  4. Email management software
  5. Email collaboration software

If you notice, you can also write articles to solve their problems.

Here are seven ideas from their feedback:

  1. How to keep track of clients to never let a sale slip through the cracks.
  2. How freelancers can stay organized.
  3. A freelancer’s guide to work + life balance.
  4. How to save time training your team using a self-service system.
  5. How to find and hire the right team members.
  6. XX unconventional ways to generate new sales in 2019.
  7. How to cut your inbox messages in half, without causing confusion.

Sometimes in these responses, the customer will describe the product. In these scenarios, I find it’s best to create landing pages based on each feature.

For example, let’s say you are creating a sales CRM tool. I would create a landing page for each feature targeting these keywords:

  1. Sales Pipeline CRM
  2. Sales Activity Tracker
  3. Sales Reporting Software
  4. Sales Automation Tool
  5. Deal Management Software

Second, ask your customers what goals your tool helps them solve or how they use the product. Let’s say you sell neckties. People wear neckties at weddings, for Easter, and for their dogs (of course that’s a thing).

product keywords

Here are three more responses to how my client’s customers benefit from the tool:

  1. Efficient and fast email client.
  2. Help me grow, nurture and maintain my network.
  3. Effectively track my communications as I am responsible for business development activities.

Again, you could write articles on these topics. But you can also take one step further to find tools to compare against your competitors. For example, you could look up “tools to help grow my network.” With each tool you find, you could create landing pages to position your tools as an alternative.

If you have not built your tool yet, you can also ask your potential customers for product names. You can use this list to come up with a name for your product that has SEO potential, and use it to create your content strategy.

Once you have your list of topics, you will want to find the keyword phrases that are easy to rank and will produce ongoing traffic.

This is the approach I shared in my article when you have no keywords to target. Here’s a summary of the process:

  1. Google your topic and select the top three results.
  2. Use a tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush to find what keywords the top page ranks for.
  3. Use the tool’s filter to find high traffic and low competition keywords.
  4. Do a Google search to make sure the keyword is easy to rank for that topic.

Once I’ve found potential keywords from customers, I then check out the competition.

How to Find Product Keywords From Competitors

After I talk to customers, I look for product keywords my competitors are targeting.

I’ve shared before how to create landing pages using comparison marketing. As a quick review, I recommend focusing on these three comparison keyword phrases:

  1. {{Competitor}} Alternative
  2. {{Competitor}} Pricing
  3. {{Competitor}} Review
  4. {{Competitor 1}} vs {{Competitor 2}}
  5. {{Competitor}} {{Product type}}

As a founder, I’m sure you are aware of your competitors. But there’s a problem.

It doesn’t matter who you think are your competitors, because you aren’t buying your services. What matters is who your customers think are your competitors.

After surveying the startup’s customers, the co-founder found the results surprising. One company they thought was a primary competitor came up only once out of 228 responses. Further, there were over a dozen companies not on their radar.

Once I have a list of competitors from a survey, I can use Google Sheets to find a combination of keywords to compare the startups. This would look like {{Competitor 1}} vs {{My Client}}. Then I use Ahrefs and Keywords Everywhere to check search traffic potential.

Here is what this looks like in practice.

Let’s say I’m creating landing pages for a startup in the personal contact manager space. After talking to customers, I find the most common competitors are:

  1. FullContact
  2. CircleBack
  3. Rolo
  4. Cloze
  5. Contactually
  6. Pobuca
  7. Ryze

Using the concatenate function, I now have 42 comparison keyword phrases.

product keywords
Click here to open this document. Make a copy for yourself by clicking File -> Make a Copy.

Some of these keyword phrases will be near duplicate matches.

For example, “FullContact vs. CircleBack” has the same search intent as “CircleBack vs. FullContact”. But the search volume and difficulty to rank for each keyword phrase may not be the same.

You can see this clearly in larger industries like web hosting.

Here is BlueHost vs HostGator:

product keywords
“Bluehost vs Hostgator” has a search volume of 2,400 and keyword difficulty score of 12.

And here is HostGator vs BlueHost:

product keywords
“Hostgator vs Bluehost” has a search volume of 1,700 and keyword difficulty score of 12.

I also look at my competitor’s website to find easy-to-rank keywords I can blog about, using a keyword research tool like Ahrefs.

I do this by putting a competitor’s site into Site Explorer (1 + 2), selecting Organic Keywords (3), and filtering for keywords ranking in the top 20 and have a difficulty of 30 or less (4).

product keywords

After looking at competitor product keywords, I like to finish up by looking at other common high commercial intent phrases.

How to Find More High Commercial Intent Product Keywords

I often find the best keyword phrases when talking to customers, and checking out the competition. But sometimes there are great opportunities when looking at common high commercial intent keywords.

This would include phrases like:

  1. Best {{Category}} Software
  2. Top {{Category}} Tools
  3. Cheap {{Category}}
  4. Affordable {{Category}}
  5. {{Competitor}} Coupon

These keywords tend to have higher competition. Newer startups may not rank as fast for these keywords. However, like competitor comparison keywords, they will help you gain new customers faster.

To rank faster, you should set aside a budget for AdWords. You can do this by targeting a single keyword ad group and sending them to the specific landing page you created because will get you a higher return on ad spend (ROAS).

For example, you will do a broad match, exact match, and phrase match for “FullContact alternative” in AdWords, and send people to the landing page on FullContact alternative. How’s that for a personalized experience?

I also may target specific audiences to increase conversions, such as “Best {{Category}} for {{Audience}}.” Then as a client’s site gets more links and authority, I refocus the page on a more competitive term with more traffic.

For example, I may start creating a landing page to target the phrase “best contact management software for realtors.” I would then create a second page to target “best contact management software.” As a rule of thumb, the page targeting realtors will rank faster and convert higher.

The second page will take longer to rank but will pull in more traffic.

By creating many landing pages for each audience segment, you can then link them to the main hub page. Increasing internal links can increase search rankings with very little extra effort.

Final Thoughts

As you plan out your product launch strategy, don’t forget the importance of great content. Yes, it’s exciting to get on the front page of Techcrunch, Reddit, and Hacker News. But that initial traffic spike will wear off.

Finding product keywords for content marketing may not be as sexy. It takes time to find the product keywords, build out landing pages, and create articles about the product. But they will also create ongoing traffic that won’t die as fast as your product launch.

Product launch days are exciting. Don’t let it be a disappointment by not creating content worth talking about.

Do you want your startup to achieve product-market fit?

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Jason Quey

I am the CEO and Founder of Growth Ramp. I enjoy serving early-stage startups and later-stage scale-ups on their journey from idea to scale.

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