Search Engine Keywords
Search engines are the vehicles that drive potential customers
to your websites. But in order for visitors to reach their destination - your website - you need to provide them
with specific and effective signs that will direct them right to your site. You do this by creating carefully
Think of the right keywords as the Open Sesame! of the Internet.
Find the exactly right words or phrases, and presto! hordes of traffic will be pulling up to your front door. But
if your keywords are too general or too over-used, the possibility of visitors actually making it all the way to
your site - or of seeing any real profits from the visitors that do arrive - decreases dramatically.
Your keywords serve as the foundation of your marketing
strategy. If they are not chosen with great precision, no matter how aggressive your marketing campaign may be, the
right people may never get the chance to find out about it. So, your first step in plotting your strategy is to
gather and evaluate keywords and phrases.
You probably think you already know exactly the right words for
your search phrases. Unfortunately, if you haven't followed certain specific steps, you are probably wrong. It's
hard to be objective when you are right in the centre of your business network, which is the reason that you may
not be able to choose the most efficient keywords from the inside. You need to be able to think like your
customers. And since you are a business owner and not the consumer, your best bet is to go directly to the
Instead of plunging in and scribbling down a list of potential
search words and phrases yourself, ask for words from as many potential customers as you can. You will most likely
find out that your understanding of your business and your customers' understanding is significantly
The consumer is an invaluable resource. You will find the words
you accumulate from them are words and phrases you probably never would have considered from deep inside the
trenches of your business.
Only after you have gathered as many words and phrases from
outside resources should you add your own keyword to the list. Once you have this list in hand, you are ready for
the next step: evaluation.
The aim of evaluation is to narrow down your list to a small
number of words and phrases that will direct the highest number of quality visitors to your website. By "quality
visitors" I mean those consumers who are most likely to make a purchase rather than just cruise around your site
and take off for greener pastures. In evaluating the effectiveness of keywords, bear in mind three elements:
popularity, specificity, and motivation.
Popularity is the easiest to evaluate because it is an objective
quality. The more popular your keyword is, the more likely the chances are that it will be typed into a search
engine which will then bring up your URL.
You can now purchase software that will rate the popularity of
keywords and phrases by giving words a number rating based on real search engine activity. Software such as Word
Tracker will even suggest variations of your words and phrases. The higher the number this software assigns to a
given keyword, the more traffic you can logically expect to be directed to your site. The only fallacy with this
concept is the more popular the keyword is, the greater the search engine position you will need to obtain. If you
are down at the bottom of the search results, the consumer will probably never scroll down to find you.
Popularity isn't enough to declare a keyword a good choice. You
must move on to the next criteria, which is specificity. The more specific your keyword is, the greater the
likelihood that the consumer who is ready to purchase your goods or services will find you.
Let's look at a hypothetical example. Imagine that you have
obtained popularity rankings for the keyword "automobile companies." However, you company specializes in bodywork
only. The keyword "automobile body shops" would rank lower on the popularity scale than "automobile companies," but
it would nevertheless serve you much better. Instead of getting a slew of people interested in everything from
buying a car to changing their oil filters, you will get only those consumers with trashed front ends or crumpled
fenders being directed to your site. In other words, consumers ready to buy your services are the ones who will
immediately find you. Not only that, but the greater the specificity of your keyword is, the less competition you
The third factor is consumer motivation. Once again, this
requires putting yourself inside the mind of the customer rather than the seller to figure out what motivation
prompts a person looking for a service or product to type in a particular word or phrase. Let's look at another
example, such as a consumer who is searching for a job as an IT manager in a new city. If you have to choose
between "Seattle job listings" and "Seattle IT manager jobs" which do you think will benefit the consumer more? If
you were looking for this type of specific job, which keyword would you type in? The second one, of course! Using
the second keyword targets people who have decided on their career, have the necessary experience, and are ready to
enlist you as their manager, rather than someone just out of school who is casually trying to figure out what to do
with his or her life in between beer parties. You want to find people who are ready to act or make a purchase, and
this requires subtle tinkering of your keywords until your find the most specific and directly targeted phrases to
bring the most motivated traffic to you site.
Once you have chosen your keywords, your work is not done. You
must continually evaluate performance across a variety of search engines, bearing in mind that times and trends
change, as does popular lingo. You cannot rely on your log traffic analysis alone because it will not tell you how
many of your visitors actually made a purchase.
Luckily, some new tools have been invented to help you judge the
effectiveness of your keywords in individual search engines. There is now software available that analyses consumer
behaviour in relation to consumer traffic. This allows you to discern which keywords are bringing you the most
This is an essential concept: numbers alone do not make a good
keyword; profits per visitor do. You need to find keywords that direct consumers to your site who actually buy your
product, fill out your forms, or download your product. This is the most important factor in evaluating the
efficacy of a keyword or phrase, and should be the sword you wield when discarding and replacing ineffective or
inefficient keywords with keywords that bring in better profits.
Ongoing analysis of tested keywords is the formula for search
engine success. This may sound like a lot of work - and it is! But the amount of informed effort you put into your
keyword campaign is what will ultimately generate your business' rewards.