Keyword research is normally one of the first tasks when optimizing a website. Virtually the entire SEO process is built on top of your keyword research. All this being said, what are you doing keyword research for?
I’m guessing the first thing that came to mind for most is to generate and increase traffic. This is good, but why? Is increasing traffic your main metric for your website? Probably not. Don’t get me wrong, increasing traffic is why most SEO’s are hired, just want to embed a seed in your mind to dive deeper.
Finding keywords that can increase traffic is good, but only if it can support your kpi’s. It is important to keep in mind the type of visitors you would ideally like to have.
Each website is different. Many sites are developed as a lead generation tool while e-commerce sites are focused on sales. If you have ever worked in sales then you know the value of leads. You also know that each lead is not equal. The more qualified the lead the more likely it will convert to a sale. So, keep this in mind when you are doing your keyword research. Some keywords might generate a massive amount of traffic, but it might not send the most relevant and qualified visitors. You may of heard of the “long tail” of search, some of these phrases might not get tons of searches each month, but these phrases might convert well.
Many times the more specific the term, the more research the person has put into their buying process and decision. I’m not saying that long tail phrases convert better, just trying to get you in the mindset of the customer. Try to use your website as not only a lead generation tool, but a lead qualifier as well. You may not have ultimate control over who visits your site, but you do have control over what you optimize for. That being said, think past the monthly searches a keyword gets and think about if the keywords are quality terms for YOUR business.
Who are your customers? What products or services generate the highest profit for you? These are the types of questions you should answer BEFORE you begin your keyword research. This way you know what your kpi’s are and what you should be optimizing for. This makes part of the process almost common sense because you know what makes you the most money and this should carry over to your keyword selection. Bias yourself to pick keywords that can potentially make you the most money if you were to rank well for those terms.
Keyword research and selection are not a one-time process. You should be actively monitoring the performance of your keywords and tracking how well the traffic converts into leads and customers. You may find some keywords that are highly competitive and may not want to wait until you are ranking for those terms, but those terms could be your “money” terms. Or, it could be the complete opposite. The big boy terms may not convert for you, but the long tail type terms may. The point here is to look past the traffic that the keywords are sending you and begin looking at whether or not the traffic that the keywords generate convert into quality leads and sales.
Make it a habit to perform keyword “reconciliation” on your site on an ongoing basis until you find the right terms that help grow your business. This could take months or even years, but finding the right terms could be the difference in your business just getting by to being a highly profitable and thriving business.
Zack Hanebrink is an online marketing professional at RhinoSEO. RhinoSEO provides a complete online marketing system for businesses to promote and grow their presence online.