Keyword research gives you the outline, and SparkToro fills in the colors

Beach Commute is a startup that used SparkToro social data to create a comprehensive, intent-driven keyword strategy for their website homepage.

A Bit of Context

Jeff Baker worked with a pair of friends to create Beach Commute, a startup that helps professionals create and plan their ideal ‘location-independent’ lifestyle.

Being location-independent means working from wherever you are in the world, and usually working to your own schedule, so it’s a desirable lifestyle people are often looking for help reaching and building for themselves. The goal of Beach Commute is to create a resource center that will give these people the tools and information necessary to become location-independent and break free from the office and cubicle culture.

We will help them turn their travel dreams into a daily lifestyle, while simultaneously progressing their careers.

Jeff Baker, SEO Professional at Beach Commute

Addressing the Problem

Jeff Baker, SEO Professional at Beach Commute
Jeff Baker
SEO Professional at Beach Commute

The issue that Beach Commute faced initially was identifying the correct industry language and ‘coined phrases’ within the space.

Jeff discovered early on that as the ‘location-independent’ community is still developing, there aren’t many established and agreed upon words/phrases used in search terms and queries. As a result, these queries (often asked by those aspiring to / or part of this way of life) can be really varied and difficult to pin down.

There are very few people that live this lifestyle, and fewer still that believe it's an option they can take advantage of. Thus, there is no agreed-upon language the people use to search for the topic.

Why did this make things complicated? Well, to put it simply - it’s hard to find your audience if you can’t find the language they’re using.

Keyword research proved the best way for Beach Commute to find and locate audience search terms and queries, but it was more complex than the team had anticipated. It wasn’t so cut-and-dry as other industries, with years of precise data to pull and discover.

Additionally, there was also search intent to consider, as even some of the more ‘obvious’ keyword phrases could have multiple intents, leaving a question mark over their viability.

For example, you would assume someone searching for "work and travel" would be right up our alley, right? Wrong! It turns out these folks are looking for programs where they work in exchange for accommodations (like at a hostel) - very cool, but definitely not our target audience.

During this early stage of planning, SparkToro was able to help Beach Commute identify a successful keyword strategy, using in-depth customer insight.

Let’s discover how...

Why SparkToro?

Beach Commute found that before using SparkToro, they struggled to find any tools that successfully got them into the minds of their consumer.

Keyword research is becoming increasingly focused on the mindset of the people using the keywords (rather than the keywords themselves), and this is something SparkToro can provide help with. SparkToro was able to give insight into the Beach Commute audience’s behavior, as well as identify and elaborate on their search intent. Jeff noted that intent is “so crucial. It takes us from intuition to hard data.”

When identifying their initial keyword strategy, Beach Commute started with two possible homepage keyword targets: ‘become a digital nomad’ and ‘make money while traveling’.

Both of these targets showed plenty of potential. Still, it was incredibly important for Beach Commute to choose the right focus at the early stage of their business strategy because it would significantly affect the quality of leads and intent of visitors arriving at the website. To ensure they were choosing the right homepage keyword focus, the team turned to SparkToro.

SparkToro quite literally tells you the ‘who’ behind the keywords. Keyword research gives you the outline in a coloring book, and SparkToro fills in the colors.

The Results

By comparing the use of these keywords and phrases within SparkToro, it became obvious which keyword phrase was the best starting point for building an engaged and relevant audience.

By comparing the use of hashtags, and the appearance of these phrases in social media bios, the search intent behind the keywords became more apparent. The decision over which keyword phrase would be the better homepage focus became obvious.

Check out the audience comparison between the two phrases:

Kurve: Strategic Growth Marketing
Kurve: Strategic Growth Marketing

Look at the ‘digital nomad’ language expanded:

Kurve: Strategic Growth Marketing

And ‘making money while traveling’ language expanded:

Kurve: Strategic Growth Marketing

What became immediately clear was the very different angles of interest each phrase seemed to expand into and highlight.

As you can see above, the ‘digital nomad’ audience seemed to be more focused on aspirational travel, advice, and tips. However, the ‘money and travel’ audience is more concerned with entrepreneurial, money-making "hacks”.

This was a clear indication to the Beach Commute team that while the two audiences seemed similar initially, they were, in fact, very unique in their intent. The team decided to focus on the ‘digital nomad’ keyword phrase for their homepage. The information from SparkToro indicated this specific audience was far more aligned with the content and advice the Beach Commute website would offer.

The two audiences seemed very similar from an initial standpoint, but SparkToro showed us that they were driven by different search intents. It allowed us to put our focus on the keywords. Pretty cool for deciding a target audience profile. The whole gist of this is that keyword research gives you the data, SparkToro gives you the HUMANS behind the data!

Using SparkToro as a tool for validating ideas and keywords is a technique we want to encourage more users to do and talk about.

Effective keyword research is a powerful tool (we all know that!) but combining that with the additional social data we have access to at SparkToro, means the audience insights go deeper, create more meaningful knowledge, and more impactful results.