Keywords for Agriculture: How to Target Farmers via Google Search

Rob Marsden
7 months ago

Keywords for Agriculture: How to Target Farmers via Google Search

 

“I Googled it”. How many times is this phrase said to you throughout the course of your week? Whether in a work environment or a more socially focussed one, these words tend to be regularly muttered.

The last time I personally heard the phrase was just a few days ago when my wife’s 75 year old father said it. Google’s mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful which is definitely being achieved if my technophobe father in law is making use of it.

The farming audience that agribusinesses market to is typically thought of, sometimes undeservedly so, as an ageing, technologically illiterate bunch. My experience though is different – the number of times I’ve turned up to a farm to shoot some video and the farmer starts to show me their new drone and Go-Pro accessories is staggeting and it says to me that they’re no different to the rest of the population in that some like tech, others don’t.

In fact, farmers have to leverage technology more than most because of all the modern advances in farm machinery. Autonomous tractors and drones are now commonly discussed bits of kit and GPS systems have been around so long that a touch screen panel, whether in a tractor cab or on an iPad isn’t a thing that makes the average farmer uncomfortable.

One thing for sure is that, just like everybody else, farmers use search engines like Google as a source of information and to look for products and services.

Just look at the number of monthly Google searches in the UK for the following search terms:

  • Farming forum – 40,500 searches per month
  • Massey Ferguson – 18,100 searches per month
  • Farmers Weekly – 14,800 searches per month
  • Sell My Livestock – 12,100 searches per month
  • New Holland – 8,100 searches per month
  • Tractor dealers – 1,900 searches per month
  • Farm supplies – 1,900 searches per month
  • Fertiliser spreader – 1,900 searches per month

You might think that 1,900 for a search term like ‘farm supplies’ is low but it’s all relative. There are around 104,000 farmers in the UK. This means that 1.827% of farmers are searching for that term each month.

If we compare that for a much more broad, mass market search term such as ‘mens jeans’ which has a monthly search volume of 60,500, with 32.9m men in the UK, that means that only 0.184% are searching for that term on a monthly basis – almost 10x lower, relatively speaking, to farmers searching each month for ‘farm supplies’.

We’re only focussing on one search term (or keyword – used more regularly from here until the end but interchangeable with ‘search term’) here when of course a site will target and rank for hundreds and sometimes thousands of keywords which can lead to a siginificant amount of traffic and leads/sales on a monthly basis from organic search.

If you’re responsible for driving the growth those metrics at a business operating in the agricultural sector, where should you start and what does the process look like to go from the current performance you’re experiencing to increased traffic and leads/sales via your website?

Here’s what I’d recommend:

  1. Perform extensive keyword research (more on this shortly …)
  2. Benchmark keyword positions against your competitors
  3. Use the outcomes to form a data-driven SEO strategy
  4. Implement the strategy and measure and optimise performance over time

Zero to SEO hero in 4 easy steps? This is clearly massively over simplified but fundamentally, those are the key stages.

For the rest of this article though, I’m going to focus on step 1 as it’s the starting point and keyword research is always an eye opening piece of work.

The keyword research workflow

 

Like with most things, there are a number of different ways to achieve an end goal.

When it comes to keyword research, each SEO practitioner will have a workflow that they’ve refined over time and that’s proven to compliment their other streams of work.

My workflow typically contains a number of stages and/or areas of exploration. These include:

  • An audit of what keywords a website currently ranks for and why
  • Competitor analysis – what competing websites are doing around keyword targeting and what search terms and phrases are working well for them
  • In-market topic research
  • SERP (search engine results pages) analysis to work out what websites are ranking well and why, and to establish a level of competitiveness I believe a client’s website can compete with (fighting losing battles is a great way to drain your SEO resources …)
  • Categorisation – by topic and by search intent

 

The keyword research toolkit

 

If there’s one thing an SEO enthusiast likes, it’s a shiny set of tools. Just like workflows, everyone will have their own preferences. I’m a believer in multiple methods, tools, and data points. I like software driven discovery methods as well as more labour intensive ones. My main aim when performing keyword research is to dig for gold and unearth some great opportinities for our clients which takes a lot of time and effort, and with the ROI potentially being huge, so it should.

Some of my favourite paid tools are:

  • SEMRush
  • Ahrefs
  • Google’s Keyword Planner (arguably it’s a paid tool because you need to have an active, spending Google Ads account to get the most useful data from it)
  • Keyword Chef
  • Low Fruits
  • Keywords Everywhere

 

Some of my favourite free tools are:

  • Google autocomplete (ever heard of the ‘alphabet soup’ method!? For example type ‘agronomy a’ into Google and see all the commonly search keywords like ‘agronomy assessments’ and ‘agronomy apps’ then type ‘agronomy b’ to see all the phrases after the word ‘agronomy’ beginning with the letter ‘b’ and so on, working your way through the alphabet)
  • Google People Also Ask – a block found in a lot of search results which allows you to see questions that are related to your search term which Google sees being asked a lot in search
  • Keyword Sheeter
  • Your eyes – have a quick scan of your competitor’s page titles to see what they’re actively (or accidentally) optimising for

Although how to us the keyword research to then optimise a website is beyond the scope of this article, you’ll be surprised at how obvious the answers become once you go through the process.

Keyword and SEO research is a real passion of mine and I love discussing it so if you’d like to talk shop, get in touch.

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