Google-lytics: Part 1-Using Google’s FREE search features to find your audience.

29 Jan

I’m taking a Social Media/online tools class at DePaul this quarter and one of the things we’ve worked on is using free Google searches and tools to help businesses select their target audiences and find the best point of connection with them. I’m going to call this series “Google-lytics”  but I’m hoping to make a small series of posts on this and related topics. One of my Delta Gamma sisters, Sarah Eutsler, has a small business she’s just started, On a Good Note Designs, and I’ll be using her as a case study.

Part 1 is all about something you think you know how to do: Search. Yes, you open your browser and start typing away, letting Google autocomplete help you out, but there’s so much more you can do.

Sarah’s company specializes mostly in cute notecards, some personalized cards, and more recently wedding invitations/save the dates. When you type “note card designs” into Google, you get this. Notice over 83 million results, what does that mean to Sarah?

Screen shot of a google search for notecards

What Sarah can do is click “more search tools” on the bottom left and select “related searches”. This will help her learn how people look for note cards online.

Screen shot of related searches for "note cards"

So instead of just looking for “note cards” people look for things like “custom note cards” or blank or personalized note cards. When choosing keywords, this will be important information for Sarah to have. (but we won’t get to that until my post for Part 2.)

Now that she knows what some of the terminology out there is, Sarah wants to know what the online note-cards community is like. Who is her competition, who are note-card enthusiasts she can reach out to, and what words are these people using when discussing note-cards? (do they even use “note-cards” or “note cards” or “notecards”?)
When you’re in Google you can scroll to the bottom to find “advanced search”. Here you can enter in specific phrases to search for, things you want to exclude, and keywords. Here I decided Sarah does not want to know about people selling templates or giving “how to” advice so it was removed from the search results. With the words I chose (and by playing around with others) Sarah can see who else is using the same words she has in her name and on her website and how they’re using them.

Screenshot of Google Advanced Search Results for Note Cards

Once you submit the search, you can expand the options on the left sidebar to specify what kind of content to search for. Sarah can search for blogs that fit this criteria and pitch them public-interest stories related to her business. One of my blog results was this site which is a blog of an artist/writer with an interest in cats who just happened to write a post on Valentine’s Day cat cards. Since Sarah includes pictures of her cat on her webpage and sometimes writes anecdotes about cats in her blog, this could be a perfect connection for Sarah to make.

In Part 2, we’ll look at Keywords to maximize search optimization and how to use Google AdWords to select the best keywords with the lowest competition.

If you want to do some searching on your own, there are a number of free tools that you can use. (and some of them that I’ll be posting about) Here’s a list, courtesy of my professor Ben Foster.

Google Search options
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