The Anatomy of a Great Search Marketing Keyword
Given that they can determine the success or failure of your search engine optimization campaign (and possibly your Internet marketing campaign as a whole), it is surprising how little attention is often paid to keywords.
That's true for business owners and executives as well as business web site designers – many just take it for granted that the most-searched words and phrases, or the ones with the most competition, represent the best places to start. Realistically, though, nothing could be further from the truth.
Obviously, your online marketing team should help you with keyword research at every step in the process. But, it's still up to you to be informed and involved. With that in mind, here are some things to look for, or the anatomy of a great search marketing keyword:
1. A reasonable amount of traffic.
Although we wish more of our new clients understood that traffic isn’t the only indicator of a good keyword, it does figure prominently into the mix. That's because some words and phrases simply don't attract a lot of people, much less serious buyers. The amount of traffic that's needed depends a lot on your Internet marketing goals, but you don't want to sabotage your efforts by building a shopping mall in the middle of a desert, virtually speaking.
2. A manageable level of competition.
Again, the word "manageable" is a relative one, and depends very largely on your timeframe, and the resources at your disposal. Still, as an obvious example, deciding to optimize your site for the keyword "cola" would probably represent an uphill battle that you are very, very unlikely to come out on the right side of. Some words, phrases, and even entire markets aren't worth the time and effort needed to compete in them, simply because another set of businesses is already deeply embedded.
3. High conversion rates for your company.
This is a very important point because the keyword that converts a higher rate for another company may not be a winner for your own. To understand why, imagine that you sell premium cigars. Aggressively targeting phrases like "cheap cigars" might make sense for one of your competitors, but it isn't likely to lead to high conversions for your business, no matter what steps you take to optimize your pages and ad campaigns.
4. Sales cycle indicators.
As a rule, it's better to target customers who are looking later in the sales cycle than earlier. For instance, someone searching "used cars" may not have much of an idea of what they're looking for. A searcher who goes to Google and enters "2010 Honda CRV," on the other hand, probably has a very good idea of what they are going to buy. Think carefully about what someone who was ready to make a purchase or take the next step would search, because those are often the most profitable keywords and phrases, even if they aren't the most popular.
Occasionally, you can find keywords that meet most or all of these criteria, but aren't relevant enough to your business (or the customer's intent) to be worth your time. That's either because they invite lots of visitors who aren't serious about making a purchase, or attract shoppers who aren't a good fit for what you sell and will end up taking away time and energy that could better be spent on more qualified buyers.
Once you have found keywords that meet these criteria – and eliminated those that don't meet enough of them – you're ready to start optimizing your site and possibly paying for ads. Don't make the mistake of beginning before then, though, because throwing time and money at the wrong keywords is a great way to waste your investment and find yourself back at square one in the near future.
Could you use help with keyword research and other aspects of your Internet marketing plan?
Speak with the Kayak Online Marketing team today and get the answers you need.
Don't forget to follow Mark (@MarkAtKayak) and Randy (@Kayak360) on Twitter and connect with Randy in Google+.
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