The purpose of search engines like Google, Yahoo, and being are to help people find information and buy things. The search engines are there to answer a question. When you type a keyword or keyword phrase into Google’s search field, that is called a query. The query can range from one word keyword, to a string of words, call a keyword phrase.
Keyword research is done to find which keywords your target customers are using that your business can utilize, to bring the most qualified traffic. You then optimize your website, specifically the landing pages, so that they will rank high on the search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search (PPC) both begin with keyword research.
Search Engines, Search and Business
Over 100 billion searches were made every month in 2009. It was an endless stream of different word combinations, with 20% of all the keywords used each day being either unique or not used for six months (source: Google). Online sales is significant for nearly every type of business. Even if the consumer does not purchase online, over 89% research online before making off-line purchases (source:comScore). So, your online presence has a very real effect on off-line purchases.
Beginning Your Keyword Research
Your keywords need to be carefully researched and identified for both organic search and paid search. To begin your keyword research, you create a list of every keyword and keyword phrase that represents your business/website. The key words will range from broad, like “car”, to specific like “1967 Ford Mustang convertible”.
Initially your list will be filled with keywords that you feel represent your business. After that, you have to step back and put yourself in the mind of a potential customer. Where you may think “automobile parts”, the general consumer may think “car parts”. Both of those are keyword phrases that would be included in your list. By the time you’re finished with your initial list you could have more than 100 keywords.
Another good way to add to your list, is to consult colleagues or existing customers, to see what they would use as a search query, to find your business. They may give you keyword ideas that you had not even considered. At this point in your keyword research, there are no bad keywords. Once your list is complete, you’ll run it through a keyword research tool to analyze what are the best keywords to use to optimize your website.
Keyword Tools Use Real Searches
Databases of real human searches are used with keyword research tools. Through these tools you can see actual data about how often a specific keyword or keyword phrase is searched. Also, it tells you what the competition is for that keyword. For example; if you research the keyword “car”, which is very broad, you will find 118,325 monthly searches, with 11,200,000 pages optimized for that search term. It’s going to be a very tough to rank highly for that keyword. However, “1967 Ford Mustang convertible”, which is much more specific, has 2,775 monthly searches, but only 395 pages optimized for that keyword phrase.
You can see from the above example, that the more specific your keywords are, the better chance you will have for higher ranking. The great thing about keyword research is it gives you real behavior patterns of thousands, or even millions of potential customers. You can then take this research and optimize accordingly.
Once you have your keywords narrowed down to what you believe are good terms to optimize for, it’s best to test them in a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign, to confirm they searchers are definitely querying these keywords and leading to your landing page. Through Keyword Analysis, you can also see which terms lead to a conversion (purchase, sign up, subscribe or register). With PPC, you will see in a matter of days, or even hours, which keywords are sending you quality traffic.
Single Keywords Are No Longer Profitable
Targeting single keywords today is not going to give you the success you are working for. People are no longer searching I’m a broad one word query. Instead, 58% of all queries are three or more words, so it makes sense to optimize your pages to target groups of keywords, called long tail.
The long tail is a type of statistical distribution were a high-frequency population is followed by a low frequency population which gradually “tails off”.
With long tail expand the core, generic, high-volume keyword phrase including numerous combinations and permutations of the keywords and their associated relevant phrases. This is a numbers game, where the individual phrases are unlikely to account for a great deal of searches, but when taken as a whole, they can provide significant targeted traffic that converts well. The specificity and relevance of these terms can generate a great deal of quality traffic, which has great potential for conversion.
This can be a highly effective marketing strategy, since people making these long tail searches are further along in the buying cycle, potentially bringing in a customer who is more ready to convert. Recent research has found that long tail searches exhibit a higher conversion rate by up to 200%, compared to generic keywords. due to the specificity, long tail can be extremely profitable in terms of lower cost per action and higher return on investment (ROI).
Keyword Niches Have Long Tails
A keyword niche allows you to work at the scale required to maximize profit. A keyword niche is all keywords containing a single keyword. For example, you might search on a keyword like ice cream. The ice cream niche is all the keywords containing ice cream including:
- ice cream cone
- vanilla ice cream
- ice cream sandwich
- ice cream sundae
- natural ice cream
- sugar-free ice cream
- strawberry ice cream
- hot fudge ice cream sundae
- many more
Target the head, exploit the tale – means you must optimize for 2 to 3 keywords, while including any and every keyword in the keyword niche including variations and synonyms, and also related terms in your copy.
Who Needs Keyword Research?
Anyone who has a web site!
Keyword research is crucial to the success of your advertising and marketing campaigns. The biggest part of search engine optimization (SEO) is determining which keywords, keyword niches and long tail will bring in the greatest amount of qualified traffic. Without putting the time in and utilizing the proper tools, your web site has little chance of success.