Jobs-To-Be-Done in SEO: What, Why, and How

Emily Thompson
Emily Thompson
May, 30 2024
Jobs To Be Done

Table of Content

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”

Harvard Business Review

A perfect representation of what a customer wants by Professor Theodore Levitt. As per him, a person does not want a product, he just wants to solve his problems with any product or service. So you don’t need to market your product, you just need to market the problem it is solving. 

In this article, we will discuss the ins and outs of the “Jobs-To-Be-Done framework in SEO”. It offers a structure for identifying, classifying, and arranging all of your customer’s needs.

What is the Jobs-To-Be-Done framework?

Jobs-To-Be-Done or Jobs theory as people call it, is a framework developed based on the needs and wants of customers. It is an approach to create a content strategy based on customers' goals or ‘Jobs’. This helps you plan your SEO and content strategy by identifying customer needs. 

Imagine you're in the market for a new smartphone. Your 'job' isn't just to buy a device; it's to stay connected, organized, and entertained on the go. You might research phones based on factors like battery life, camera quality, and app compatibility because these features help you fulfill your job effectively. 

Understanding this, smartphone companies tailor their marketing and product development to meet these specific needs, ensuring they provide solutions that align with the jobs customers need to get done. 

This approach not only helps companies create products that resonate with consumers but also guides content strategies, ensuring that the content addresses the fundamental needs or "jobs" of the target audience.

Additionally, outcome-driven innovation and the Job-To-Be-Done theory go hand in hand. Outcome-driven innovation looks for results that are overserved but unimportant, or important but inadequately served. Instead of focusing on demographic profiles, ODI segments markets and provides highly tailored products by focusing on customer-desired outcomes.

Importance of Jobs Theory

The Job To Be Done framework is designed around understanding your customers’ needs, their emotional job aspects and a deep sense of what they are seeking. JTBD helps you comprehend consumer behaviour and helps you innovate, boosts marketing, and strategy as a whole.  

The JTBD theory is significant for the following main reasons:

1. Focus on Customer Needs: Understanding the "Why"

Jobs-To-Be-Done focuses on why consumers choose a certain product or service. It is basically to complete a particular task. JTBD indicates the fundamental reasons and objectives, influencing consumer behaviour. The job to be done uncovers the motivation behind customer behaviour. 

Offering a contextual understanding of the how and why of a product's use, helps organizations create offerings and optimize consumption chain jobs. 

2. Innovation and Product Development: Identifying Opportunities

Using Jobs-To-Be-Done, businesses can identify customers' common issues and hurdles. Once the issue is identified, it can create an innovation process to overcome these issues and create a customer job map to understand the customer journey step-by-step. 

Businesses can find unmet needs and develop solutions that are more effective to get the desired outcome.  

3. Improved Customer Experience: Designing for Real Use Cases

Products and services can be designed with features that directly address the job map designed. This will help you achieve the feature that's best for customers throughout their buying journey– these are the desired outcomes customers want from the products. 

This will ultimately result in higher user satisfaction and better customer experiences.

Businesses may reduce friction and boost loyalty by creating more intuitive and effective user experiences by matching product features with customer jobs.

4. Enhanced Marketing Communication: Streamlining Conversations

Marketing communications can be tailored to specifically address the tasks that consumers are attempting to do, which increases their persuasion and relevance.

JTBD makes it possible to segment the market more precisely according to the tasks that various consumer groups are attempting to complete. This enables more focused and successful marketing campaigns, making the product more solution-agnostic.

5. Competitive Advantage: Stay Ahead

Rather than competing only on features or price, businesses may set themselves apart by providing distinctive solutions catered to particular customer demands. This is made possible by an understanding of JTBD.

Businesses can develop stronger bonds and increase customer loyalty by continuously attending to the tasks that customers require completed.

As outlined in the 2008 Harvard Business Review article, the core functional job can be divided into phases using a job map. After creating a job map, businesses can look for the metrics customers use to measure their level of success as they work to complete each task.

6. Strategic Clarity: Alignment Across Teams

Product development, marketing, sales, and customer support teams may all be aligned around a single customer-centric strategy by using the JTBD framework.

It aids in allocating resources and development efforts to projects that will most significantly affect the completion of customer jobs. You can measure success and go ahead with strategies that are proving to be successful. 

7. Market Understanding: Identifying Trends

Businesses may remain ahead of the competition by analyzing the jobs that customers are hiring products to complete. This can show new trends and shifts in consumer expectations.

With the JTBD framework, businesses can get a job done more efficiently and aptly. Moreover, by identifying trends, you can come up with better innovation processes.

8. Long-Term Success: Sustainable Growth

Long-term success and sustainable growth are more likely to come to companies that regularly do the jobs that their customers expect. Through JTBD you can discover metrics customers use to measure their success and get a job done.

JTBD gives companies the customer insights they need to gradually adjust to shifting consumer demands and market circumstances.

To summarise, the Jobs-To-Be-Done theory offers a comprehension of consumer needs, promotes innovation and improves customer experiences.

What is Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) keywords?

Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) keywords are search terms that show someone needs to solve a problem or complete a task that your product or service can help with. Unlike direct searches for a product, these keywords reveal the user's needs and goals, indicating they are looking for a solution your offering provides.

How to Identify Job-To-Be-Done Keywords for SEO?

As per Harvard Business Review, finding Jobs-To-Be-Done keywords involves knowing what your customers want when they "hire" a product or service. The following is a step-by-step strategy to assist you in finding JTBD keywords:

1. Understand the Jobs-To-Be-Done Framework

The JTBD framework places more emphasis on the goals that customers are attempting to accomplish than the actual product. It talks about the entire job that the customer is attempting to complete. 

Desired outcome statements are central to this framework, as they articulate the specific results customers are aiming to achieve. For instance, a customer purchases a CRM tool because they need to enhance customer relations, not because they want a CRM.

2. Conduct Customer Research

Either have a direct conversation with your customer or talk to business and sales teams who are in direct conversation with customers. This way, you can understand your customers better and have a deep understanding of their requirements. This approach facilitates value creation by ensuring the job done aligns perfectly with customer needs.

Try to answer these questions for the outcome-driven innovation process: 

  •  What problem were customers trying to solve when they bought the product?
  •  What goals are customers aiming to achieve with our service?
  •  What challenges do customers face in accomplishing [specific task]?

3. Identify Goals a Customer Expects

From your research, find the main jobs/goals that customers are trying to get done. These jobs are typically expressed in action-oriented terms and focus on the desired outcome rather than the product itself. 

Product teams can use these insights to ensure the job done meets customer expectations and to craft precise outcome statements that guide development.

4. Break Down Jobs into Specific Tasks

Each job can be broken down into specific tasks that customers perform to achieve their goals. These tasks often involve different stages, such as:

  • Problem Identification: Recognizing the need for a solution. 
  • Solution Search: Looking for potential solutions.
  • Decision Making: Choosing the best solution.
  • Implementation: Using the product to achieve the desired outcome.

To effectively break down these tasks, it’s important to observe markets and understand the functional aspects and job types involved at each stage.

5. Identify Emotional and Social Components

JTBD is not just about functional needs; it also involves emotional and social aspects. Identify keywords that reflect these aspects:

  • Emotional: Keywords related to feelings (e.g., frustration, satisfaction, relief).
  • Social: Keywords related to social status or approval (e.g., recognition, prestige).

6. Create a Keyword List

Based on the identified jobs, tasks, and emotional/social aspects, create a list of keywords and phrases. These should include:

  • Action-Oriented Keywords: Focus on the job itself (e.g., "improve productivity," "reduce downtime").
  • Outcome Keywords: Focus on the desired result (e.g., "increase sales," "enhance user experience").
  • Problem Keywords: Focus on the pain points (e.g., "reduce errors," "eliminate waste").
  • Contextual Keywords: Reflect the context in which the job is done (e.g., "remote work," "on-the-go").

7. Validate and Refine Keywords

Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, or SEMrush to validate and refine your keywords:

  • Search Volume: Check the search volume to ensure there is significant interest.
  • Relevance: Ensure the keywords are relevant to the identified jobs and tasks.
  • Competition: Analyze the competition to prioritize low-competition, high-impact keywords.

By considering any particular circumstance in which customers buy, you can bring predictability to your keyword strategy. By following these steps, you can develop a comprehensive list of JTBD keywords that resonate with your target audience's needs and goals.

Industry Examples of Jobs-To-Be-Done Keyword

1. For a  Logistics Industry, the JTBD might include:

Jobs: "Optimize scheduling," "Track logistics," "Collaborate with delivery person"

Emotional Aspects: "Reduce stress," "Stay in control."

Social Aspects: "Impress customers," "Gain authority in the market"  

Jobs-To-Be-Done keyword would include: 

  • Optimize freight scheduling
  • Reduce shipping costs
  • Route planning
  • GPS Tracking
  • Enhance supply chain visibility
  • Improve delivery times

2. For Sale people, the JTBD might include: 

Jobs: "Provide personalize services," "Track prospects," "Follow up with customers"

Emotional Aspects: "Reduce stress," "Stay informed."

Social Aspects: "Impress customers," "Have a rapport as a good salesperson"        

Jobs-To-Be-Done keyword would include: 

  • Increase sales conversions
  • Improve lead generation
  • Enhance customer relationship management
  • Boost sales productivity
  • Streamline sales reporting

3. For SEO Agency, the JTBD might include: 

Jobs: "Rank blogs on top," "Get backlinks," "Improve website’s ranking"

Emotional Aspects: "Stay competitive," 

Social Aspects: "Build authority in the market," "Always stay on top" 

Jobs-To-Be-Done keyword would include: 

  • Improve website ranking 
  • Increase organic traffic
  • Optimize on-page SEO
  • Enhance backlink profile
  • Perform keyword research

4. For Field Service Business, the JTBD might include: 

Jobs: "Quotation," "Scheduling and assigning," "client management"

Emotional Aspects: "Streamline management," "Be stress-free"

Social Aspects: "Build a brand in the market" 

Jobs-To-Be-Done keyword would include: 

  • Schedule field technicians efficiently
  • Improve first-time fix rate
  • Automate service dispatching
  • Enhance customer satisfaction
  • Manage service inventory

These keywords focus on specific tasks or problems that individuals in each industry aim to solve, aligning with the "jobs to be done" framework.

How to Implement The Jobs-To-Be-Done Framework in Your Content Strategy

Implementing the Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD) framework in your content strategy involves understanding your customers' needs. And aligning your product with these needs, and creating targeted content that addresses specific search intents. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you integrate JTBD into your content strategy:

1. Understand search intent

To understand the JTBD keywords, it's crucial to know the intent of your target audience. Why a particular person is looking for that keyword? 

Types of Search Intent:

  • Informational: Users are looking for information or answers to questions (e.g., "how to improve customer retention").
  • Navigational: Users want to go to a specific site or page (e.g., "Labsmedia login").
  • Transactional: Users are ready to make a purchase or take a specific action (e.g., "buy CRM software").
  • Commercial Investigation: Users are researching products and services (e.g., "best CRM for small businesses").

2. Product alignment in SEO strategy

Align your SEO strategy with your product's strengths and the real job your customer is trying to get done. Here's how:

Steps to Align SEO Strategy:

  • Identify real Job: Determine the primary jobs your product helps customers achieve. Break these down into specific tasks and challenges.
  • Map Keywords to Job: Create a keyword map that links specific keywords to the related jobs identified. This ensures your content addresses the precise needs of your audience.
  • Content Creation: Develop content that directly addresses the jobs and tasks. This includes blog posts, how-to guides, case studies, videos, and FAQs.
  • Optimize On-Page SEO: Use your target keywords in key areas like titles, headers, meta descriptions, and body text. Ensure the content is clear, actionable, and valuable to users.

3. Target audience

Understanding your target audience is crucial for creating relevant content. Here’s how to define and address your target audience using the JTBD framework:

Steps to Define Target Audience:

  • Create Buyer Personas: Develop detailed buyer personas that include demographic information, job roles, goals, pain points, and preferred content formats.
  • Segment Audience by Jobs: Group your audience based on the different jobs they are trying to get done. This helps in creating targeted content for each segment.

Tailored Messaging: Craft messages that speak directly to the needs and language of each segment. Use the insights from your personas and JTBD analysis to create empathetic and persuasive content.

Get your SEO Right with JTBD Framework

The Jobs-To-Be-Done framework as defined by ‘Harvard Business Review’, can help you better understand your customers and their emotional job aspects. By identifying jobs customers expect you to perform, you can outshine your customers and have a competitive advantage in the market.  You can also provide the value proposition that other competitors are not providing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How do I list SEO keywords?

To list SEO keywords effectively, start by brainstorming a list of potential keywords related to your business thinking about what your target audience might search for. Next, use keyword research tools to expand your list and find related keywords. Consider incorporating long-tail keywords and organize your keywords into groups based on themes or topics to help plan content around them. 

2. What are the elements of the Jobs-To-Be-Done framework? 

There are 4 elements of Jobs theory. Job statement, customer segments, job steps and barriers. Job statement is identifying what your customers want and then finding the customer persona who would benefit from the solution. Job steps are breaking the work into multiple steps to achieve the final goal and barriers are identifying the obstacles of your customers. 

This can help you focus on their pain points and create targeted content that resonates with them.

3. How to find Jobs-To-Be-Done keywords? 

The answer to this question is very simple, the more you know your customer’s pain point the more you can understand ‘Jobs-To-Be-Done keywords’. You need to get deep into the thought process of your customer. Moreover, understanding the different ways your customer describe their problems can be an added advantage.

4. How to use Jobs-To-Be-Done keywords?

To effectively use Jobs-To-Be-Done keywords, you should first conduct customer research to identify the unique jobs, objectives, and difficulties that they face. Create search terms based on these insights. By writing focused blog posts, guides, and landing pages that speak to these problems, you may incorporate these JTBD keywords into your content.

Emily Thompson

Emily Thompson

Digital Marketing Consultant

Emily Thompson is a seasoned professional in the digital marketing realm, currently lending her expertise at LabsMedia a leading white label partner for digital agencies. With a wealth of experience in crafting bespoke solutions for clients, Emily specializes in navigating the ever-evolving landscape of online marketing. Her commitment to staying abreast of industry trends and delivering results-driven strategies makes her a trusted advisor in the field. She has been featured on Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Social Media Today showcasing her thought leadership and contributing valuable perspectives to the industry. As an accomplished author, she shares her insights through thought-provoking content, offering valuable perspectives to both peers and clients alike.