Get Profitable Keywords
There is no more important step in the search engine optimization (SEO) process than keyword research. The most successful SEO campaign can provide lackluster results if the wrong keywords are targeted or the keywords are targeted in the wrong order. You’ll need to dig beyond simple search volume numbers and at ways to prioritize and determine action-items to go after the phrases that stand the best chance of providing a solid return on investment (ROI).
Before we get dive into this topic, it’s important to understand the mentality I will be writing from. As a business owner more than an SEO, I like to spend the money I’m making a lot more than the money I’m not. At times I’ll even delay specific revenue opportunities to work first on less profitable but faster paying ones. This is as true with organic SEO as it is with any other marketing strategy.
When my agency launched, we targeted “search engine positioning services” out of the gate due to the low competition and faster potential for quick gains. The traffic was far lower but the ROI was faster. It wasn’t until later that we went after more competitive, higher search-volume phrases and in the process we were generating revenue from the search traffic we already had. In the end it took us longer to rank for the high-traffic phrases and looking at a seven year revenue total, we probably could have made more had we “gone for the gold” out of the gate, but I’m a conservative business owner and remain such to this day.
I don’t mention all of this to discuss business policy. You’ll need to take up your tolerances and attitudes with your accountant, business partners, spouse and lifestyle. No, I mention this only to illustrate the attitude I take in keyword selection to make sense of the recommendations that follow. They are written from my approach, yours may differ however if that’s the case I hope you’ll still find value in the strategies and processes.
The Sample Promotion
For the purposes of this article, we’ll use a fictional downhill mountain biking website as our example. Our fictional website owner is looking to “go it alone” on the SEO front with a brand new site and a new domain. We’ll assume the site is well-developed with clean code and unique descriptive content for the products on crawlable pages.
To keep things simple, only free tools and resources will be referenced. Many of these free resources (as well as some that are also affordable for small businesses) were covered in “78 Resources For Every Internet Marketers Toolkit”.
The Initial Research
Our downhill mountain bike enthusiast has started a website. Time to begin the keyword research process.
The logical first step is to head to Google’s AdWords Tool and enter “downhill mountain bike” and see what comes up. Don’t forget to switch your match-type from Broad to Exact (or include Exact if you want to see both). If you don’t know the difference be sure to read Google’s support page on match types so you get a better understanding of what data you’re looking at.
For most query types, check off the box “Only show ideas closely related to my search terms”. While the non-filtered results can sometimes give you insight into alternative targets, often it produces in a dataset filled with generic terms that results in a significant drop in useful possibilities. For example, a search for “downhill mountain bikes” mixes in “bikes”, “bicycles”, “bmx bikes”, etc. This will make it difficult to get the full scope of related phrases. After a quick glance for anything you may have missed, limit the search around your known terms.
It’s extremely important to make sure you’re thinking of all the possibilities. For instance, “downhill mountain bikes” may be referred to as “dh mountain bikes” or “down hill mountain bikes”. Be sure to include these in the queries to pull data from. Similarly, you should know the terminology and abbreviations of your industry and be sure to include them in your queries.
Once this is completed you’ll download the list of phrases for future use and repeat the process in logical groupings. In this example, you would enter the various type of equipment (brakes, gears, armor, shocks, dual suspension bikes, etc.) and place those in one group, then build a list of all the brands you’ll be selling and add that to another list. Time spent on keyword research is never wasted and you may want to build up additional lists based on blogs, forums, articles and press areas, etc. depending on what you will be adding to your site.
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