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February 29, 2008

Differentiators in Keyphrases: What Every SEO Company Needs to Know

As any good search engine optimization company knows, in search, more so than any other medium, you have a very short window of opportunity in which to engage your prospect.  The only way to get a solid competitive advantage in this arena is to utilize various techniques in order to make sure that you are giving a prospect exactly what it is that he or she is looking for. Otherwise, your prospect will simply click the back button and visit one of your competitors – a process that only takes seconds.

One way to gain a competitive advantage, of course, is to work on the website itself.  Any search engine optimization company worth its salt will also be involved in conversion testing on your website – in other words, making certain that the visitors who arrive on your site are likely to take a point of action that eventually leads to a sale.  Split tests, modifications in content, different color schemes, and numerous other variable elements can all have a measurable impact.

There is also another way that a quality search engine optimization company will seek to maximize the value of the prospects that find your website through search engines.  In this case, however, it is using your company differentiators in the keyphrases that they target to make sure that the traffic that comes to your site is of a very high quality.

Gaining a Competitive Advantage with Differentiators

As more and more companies turn to organic search to gain a competitive advantage while promoting their products and services, it can be increasingly difficult to achieve high rankings for the generic terms that everyone in your industry is pursuing.  While any ranking is ultimately attainable, eventually a search engine optimization company has to decide whether the effort involved is worth it, especially when it recognizes that you can get overall better results from the campaign by making sure that a very high percentage of people that are typing keyphrases into search engines are looking for exactly what you offer.

This is why your search engine optimization company should be able to leverage differentiators in your keyphrases to give you the best competitive advantage available.

What Keyphrases Will Work Best for Your Business?

Suppose that you are in an industry where companies can have a wide array of prices, approaches, customer service levels, and so on.  Instead of targeting, from the outset, the general keyphrase that defines the industry (for example “email marketing”), a good search engine optimization company will take the time to help you gain a competitive advantage by realizing what is different about your company in order to a.) attract very highly targeted prospects who know what they are seeking and b.) reduce the competitiveness of the keyphrases they are choosing.

Let’s take a look at a high-end provider of email marketing that has advanced web-based functionality and focuses on the B2B market. This fictional business is seeking a competitive advantage by working with a search engine optimization company.  We can safely assume that the percentage of people that type “email marketing” into a search engine who are looking for this exact type of company is anywhere from between 0 and 100%.

By looking into the popularity of other variations, however, we can see that it is nowhere near 100%.  Phrases like “cheap email marketing” or “free email marketing” are very popular, demonstrating that many people seeking “email marketing” are not looking for exactly the service that the provider is offering.

Imagine that instead of targeting “email marketing”, a daunting task (that, even if achieved, assures that a high percentage of visitors that come to the site are not looking for the provider’s particular type of solution), the search engine optimization company takes advantage of the provider’s differentiators.  In this case, the search engine optimization company would instead target phrases such as “business to business email marketing” and “web-based email marketing”.  Suddenly the two objectives have been achieved – the provider knows that a much higher percentage of visitors that are typing these terms are actually looking for the right kind of company and the competitiveness of the phrases has also been reduced, leading to faster and higher rankings.

Using Modifiers to Give You the Edge

There are hundreds of modifiers that can give a competitive advantage by reflecting a company’s differentiators, including words such as “free”, “affordable”, “high-end”, “full service”, “proven”, “turnkey”, etc.  The point is that by making use of your unique differentiators in the search terms you target, your search engine optimization company is already setting the table for your prospect before he or she even clicks over to your website.  When the message that is seen on your site then supports the keyphrase that was typed, you now have an engaged visitor.  This can mean more leads, less site abandonment, and better overall website performance.

Conclusion

Remember, your company is better than the others out there.  Ask yourself why, and then tell your search engine optimization company to take advantage of these differences in your keyphrases to give you a competitive advantage in your industry.  The subtle addition of a few seemingly minor modifiers can have a huge impact on your bottom line.

Author:  Scott Buresh is the CEO of Medium Blue, which was named the number one organic search engine optimization company in the world by PromotionWorld in 2006 and 2007.  Scott has contributed content to many publications including The Complete Guide to Google Advertising (Brown, 2008), Building Your Business with Google For Dummies (Wiley, 2004), MarketingProfs, ZDNet, WebProNews, DarwinMag, SiteProNews, ISEDB.com, and Search Engine Guide.  Medium Blue serves local and national clients, including Boston Scientific, DS Waters, and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Visit MediumBlue.com to request a custom SEO guarantee based on your goals and your data.

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