Although the entire search industry is keyword-based, the holistic approach to understanding and then deploying effective keyword research techniques is generally missing. People are often challenged with knowing where to start or how much information is adequate.
Keyword research requires patience (usually in short supply), a strategic approach (absent in most cases) and a methodical framework (often unavailable).
If you methodically create and execute a strategic plan for keyword research, your site should see a sustained increase in traffic. The resulting traffic would be high-potential because they have been directed to your site by means of highly relevant keywords.
More than 19 billion searches are conducted each month. People are looking for information online all the time. (Source: http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Press-Releases/2013/8/comScore-Releases-July-2013-US-Search-Engine-Rankings)
The primary method of conducting a search is, quite simply, typing a keyword into a search engine. The whole search business is centered on keywords:
- Users begin their search using keywords.
- Advertisers bid for spots associated with high-paying keywords.
- Websites and blogs optimize their information for relevant keywords.
- Search engine bots scour the web looking for sites with good information, and then, using keywords, index them within their databases.
- Search engines display results and advertisements based on ranking for keywords.
The objectives of keyword research should include:
- Increase traffic to the most important (high conversion) landing pages.
- Increase high-potential customer traffic to the site.
- Convert this increased traffic into paying customers and increased revenue.
- Increase the amount of time people spend on your sale pages.
- Identify competition based on your target keywords.
- Identify synergistic partners based on your target keywords.
Together, achieving these objectives will lead to higher revenue.
So how should one formulate effective Keyword Research techniques?
You can start by setting some goals, such as:
- Identify a small but effective set of keywords (up to 50) relevant to your site.
- Identify your online business’ major competition.
- Identify potential synergistic partners for your online business.
- Identify new potential customer segments and confirm already-existing ones.
The first goal of keyword research should be to identify about 50 keywords relevant to your site. Once chosen, your keywords should be blended into your content. This includes marketing, blog posting, webpage building, and customer emails.
As you perform keyword research, you will discover other websites that rank highly for the keywords you wish to target. List the top 5 sites that Google returns for these words. Then, find out if they are your competitors or potential partners.
In addition to competitors, you may also find potential partners. While searching for keywords for a travel insurance site, for example, you may also discover universities, travel agencies, non-profit government bodies or even church groups with websites that rank highly for those keywords.
For details on this type of relationship check out DI-2014-05 – Strategically Listing your Info-Product for Maximizing Revenue.
You can check out your competition’s sites and see what kinds of advertisements are being displayed. That will give you an idea of the customer segment(s) that is (are) being targeted. Further research should tell you whether those segments could also use your products/services.
When you narrow down your keywords, you need to consider certain factors to ensure your keywords are both appropriate and relevant.
Appropriate and relevant keywords must satisfy the following 3 attributes:
- Search volume. Your focus keywords must have high search volumes.
- Search trend. Obviously, the trend should be upwards. Otherwise, you risk optimizing your site for a shrinking market.
- Revenue potential. The higher the cost per click or cost per impression, the higher the revenue potential. While “free downloads” give you lots of searches and high trends, you should not even consider the keyword unless there is revenue potential.
Google Adwords and the Keyword Planner Tool can help with these analyses. There are also other tools in the market that help with keyword analysis. One of these is Market Samurai, which helps you with all the essential functionality, all in one place.
When we checked Google for “online search” and two variations of the keyword, we discovered the following:
- “Online Search” in Google yielded 4.6 million sites and displayed no advertisements
- “Online Search Software” in Google yielded 558 million sites and advertisements on page 1 of Google search results
- “Online Search Training” in Google yielded more than 750 million sites and had advertisements even on page 2 of Google search results
You must also have a routine for monitoring keyword related metrics for your site.
Monitor keyword ranking and performance, at least monthly:
- Download keyword performance from Google Webmaster Tools for your final 50 list and monitor this list on a monthly basis.
- Check the traffic on your site using Google Analytics and keep track of monthly changes.
- Monitor the first 2-3 pages of Google search for each of your core keywords and scrutinize the nature of sites that are ranking there. Pay attention to other businesses that you may want to partner with.
- Once a month, audit your site in Google Webmaster Tools to ensure that there are no new sites sending spam links.
In conclusion a solid keyword strategy is the key to systematically capturing a larger share of your online market and increasing your revenues. Keyword strategy supported by good SEO not only helps increase revenue, but also allows you to identify both synergistic partners and your competition.
Check out the January deep insight paper for a holistic, methodical and detailed approach for Keyword Research Techniques.