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[Interview] Keyword Research Insight from Online Marketing Expert, Dale Bertrand – Part 1

[Interview] Keyword Research Insight from Online Marketing Expert, Dale Bertrand – Part 1

12 min read
[Interview] Keyword Research Insight from Online Marketing Expert, Dale Bertrand – Part 1

Placester: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you live? Where do you work? What does your typical day look like?

Dale Bertrand: I own Chimaera Labs (formerly Greenway Media), an inbound marketing agency in Kendall Square, Cambridge. Our client work involves organic SEO, AdWords and content marketing. Most of my time is spent communicating with clients and my team. Additionally, I spend one or two hours a day working directly on client projects. I have a fantastic team that I trust to execute on client projects without my day-to-day involvement.

At Chimaera, Monday is our planning day and Friday is our weekly retrospective. I manage my team using a stripped down Scrum project management method — a management technique borrowed from my experience managing software teams. This process helped us dramatically increase the quality of our internal communication and surface the right tasks at the right time from our growing backlog of todos. At our weekly retrospective, we focus on areas where our team could improve its effectiveness. Our goal is to increase our productivity each week, not just get our work done.

P: Describe your experience with keyword research. When did you start? How has your attitude changed about keyword research, if at all?

DB: When I first started doing keyword research, I naively focused on finding keywords that best described my client’s product or service. Over the years, I’ve learned the most relevant keywords are worthless if no one is typing them into Google. So, I replaced my product-centric approach with a customer-centric approach designed to uncover the keywords our target customers are using frequently. In other words, I work to flesh out buyer personas with an emphasis on what our target audience is typing into Google regularly and what they expect to find.

This approach sometimes leads to difficult conversations with clients. I may discover that very few of their target customers are searching for their product directly. Their prospects may not know their product (or the entire product category) even exists. How many people type “culinary tourism conference” into Google?

In this case, it makes sense to create an entirely new offer for their target audience – i.e. an offer their prospects are actively using search engines to find. Using the culinary tourism conference as an example: Foodies with an appetite for travel may be actively searching for travel guides or restaurant reviews. So, target the keywords they are using to find culinary oriented travel information and offer them a compelling travel guide in exchange for an email address. You’ll have plenty of time to tell them about your conference if you deliver on your promise of high quality culinary travel information.

P: Answer the following question in one sentence: “What is keyword research?”

DB: Keyword research is the process of uncovering what your target customers type into Google to find what you offer — keep in mind that your offer may be a freebie you use to begin a conversation with your customer.

P: What are the main benefits of keyword research?

DB: The main benefits of keyword research are discovering what keywords to target for your search marketing campaign. A little time spent on keyword research up front will save tons of time later when optimizing your website or AdWords campaign for search engines.

P: What are some hidden or secondary benefits of keyword research?

DB: The hidden benefits of keyword research include the opportunity to discover adjacent markets and compelling offers for your target customer. Using a persona driven keyword research process, you may uncover new products, services or landing page offers that your target customer is actively seeking.

You can get in touch with Dale at

Click here to read Part 2 of the interview.

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