April 21, 2009
As an Internet Marketing Consultant, I know that whether using pay-per-click (PPC) or organic search engine optimization (SEO), the process begins with our research keyword.
This is true whether you’re doing your work yourself or working with an SEO Consultant.
The search engine ranking for our chosen keywords consumes us, causing ecstasy when we succeed and sleepless nights when we fail.
But increased sales happen only IF:
- the keywords bring enough traffic to meet our sales goals;
- the competition in SEO is obtainable (and)
- the keywords will actually convert — they will actually result in increased sales.
Otherwise, it’s really wasted time.
And now that Google shows an estimated number of average monthly impressions (instead of just the old green bar), the Google tool can really help with your keyword research.
And it’s Free!
If you don’t have an AdWords account, you can access the tool independently (just Google: Google Keyword Research Tool).
Grabbing the Best Keywords for your Website Using Google’s Keyword Research Tool
Step 1 — Put your keyword phrase or root keyword into the tool. I suggest one phrase at a time, 1-4 words in length. Click: Get Keyword ideas and wait for the results.
Another option is to click Website Content and let Google pull suggestions from your website content.
Step 2 — IMPORTANT, change the Match Type to Phrase, which adds quotes to the keyword results. This makes the tool’s impressions more closely match organic search, ignoring the “loosey-goosey” broad match phrases for AdWords.
And under the Show/Hide Columns make sure your settings display Approx Avg Search Volume. (If you’re marketing a seasonal product or service you might change to a different setting.)
Step 3 — Analyze the results. What we’re all trying to find is the low hanging fruit: the best balance of traffic volume, ease to perform SEO and traffic that will likely convert.
I suggest targeting phrases that are at least 5,000 to 10,000 monthly average impressions. Conversely, keyword phrases with very high monthly impressions may prove too competitive in organic search. Find the best balance for your organic optimization skills and for your industry.
If your sales goals require 200,000 monthly organic impressions and you choose keyword search phrases with between 5,000 and 10,000 monthly impressions each, then you’ll need between 20 to 40 keyword phrases to deliver you that 200,000 monthly impressions.
Of course, as you discover opportune phrases that are offer greater monthly impressions and that you’re comfortable optimizing for, that will lower the number of phrases needed to reach your monthly goal.
Make your keyword list from this criteria. I like to copy and paste into my email program.
And to determine the number of monthly impressions needed, you’ll need:
- good organic listing click-through rate data — what percentage of searchers will click on your listing? (and)
- conversion rate data either from your own website or for your industry — what percentage of your site visitors will BUY?
You will find an experienced Internet Marketing Consultant | Coach who specializes in Keyword Research can help you formulate a keyword list that will deliver BOTH the traffic and sales conversions that you need.
Step 4 — Evaluate the competing number of pages in organic search from Google. Is this a number you’re comfortable optimizing for?
While you’re on the SERPs looking over the search results, look at the AdWords ads and the organic results.
Does your service or product sound like it belongs on this page, for this keyword? Or, does it sound out of place?
And for a search phrase to be good, normally you’ll want to see several AdWords ads appearing for the search phrase.
Make your list from this criteria, setting aside any keyword phrases from the previous step (at least for right now) where the competition is too steep. Phrases that look good but with too much competition, save for the future.
This brings up a good point: Keep good notes! Otherwise, you’ll come back for the next round of research and have to re-do things.
Step 5 — Evaluate the phrases still on your list for their likely commercial intention using the Microsoft Online Commercial Intention Tool (Google it).
If you’re using an SEO Consultant, make sure they use this tool and evaluate commercial intent for the keywords you are considering.
Now, this is a Microsoft tool…I use it and am glad for the data, but I don’t make decisions about any keyword phrase off data from just one tool or from just one step in my process.
Having said that, I wouldn’t select 15 phrases for optimization where each of them shows there’s not commercial intent.
Keep your list of phrases that still meet your criteria and move onto the next step.
Step 6 — Evaluate your remaining list in Google’s Traffic Estimator. What I look for is the relationship of average monthly impressions to estimated daily click throughs in AdWords. Do they make sense and suggest commercial intention?
If one phrase has twice the monthly impressions, but only 1/2 the daily AdWords clicks, something may be wrong. You may want to look closer.
The goal isn’t just traffic, it’s traffic that converts — buys, sign up to your email list, calls or emails your company and becomes a sales lead, etc.
When you complete these steps, you should have whittled your initial keyword list down to the “lowest hanging fruit”, the most opportune phrases (easiest to rank well in) COMBINED with the largest amount of quality traffic, COMBINED with traffic that should convert.
The Windows into Your Website
Keywords are the windows into your website. If you target the wrong ones for your business, you won’t have the traffic, Internet sales or sales leads that you need.
If you’re using an SEO Consultant to perform your work, make sure they do it the correct way — not the lazy way — and oversee their work. Your site, your responsibility!
If you’re doing d-i-y Keyword Research, be really educated about what you’re doing OR your d-i-y effort could cost you more than hiring a qualified company.
NOTE: Another option available from some Internet Marketing Consultants today for those watching their budget is to offering Coaching services. This is sort of a hybrid between the retail price, full-service option and the go-it-alone, time consuming do-it-yourself option.
Achieving the search engine ranking for your chosen keywords doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive if you follow my formula. And if performed correctly, the end results will be keywords that work for your business.
Marketing online since 2004, Paul Marshall can help you market on a budget. He’s an Internet Marketing Consultant and an SEO Consultant offering affordable marketing services (and d-i-y Coaching). Receive your Free Introductory Consultation, just visit Strategic Web Marketing.net today!