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Make your keywords work

There are thousands of words and phrases you can pay for via Pay Per Click (PPC) and optimise through SEO, but only the most relevant of them will really work hard for you, says MICHAEL WALKER, search and analytics director at digital media consultancy, Acceleration Media.

Irrelevant search terms will waste your time and money, while the best keywords or phrases will provide you with the highest rate of converting visitor traffic.

Tips for choosing keywords

Here are a few tips about choosing keywords that will work hard for your brand.

1. Map keywords to where the user is in the conversion funnel

Where is your user in the buying cycle? Is she just starting to think about taking up tennis again and beginning her research for the best racket? Or does she know which racket she wants to buy, and is now looking for the best price? If she’s in the research phase, the phrase “choosing the right tennis racket”” may work best for you. If she has decided to buy a racket, a better search phrase might be, “”best tennis racket prices””.

It’s also useful here to think about whether to pay for a PPC search phrase, whether to optimise for a high organic listing or do both. As a simple rule of thumb, PPC phrases (like “”best tennis racket prices””) are usually more effective near the end of the conversion funnel, close to your site’s conversion point.

2. It’s not just about sales

Look at the sort of terms that bring users to your site, even if their intention is not to buy. This will help your business in a number of ways, not least by giving your brand and services exposure. To help customers, why not optimise for common support queries so that users can get an answer from a FAQ on your website rather than needing to contact your call centre? And why not optimise for career keywords that bring potential job applicants to the HR landing page on your site?

3. Competitive intelligence is key

Look at the keywords your competitors are trying to own and the words that they are missing. Try to own the most attractive PPC and organic terms they have failed to identify because the keywords with lower competition are cheaper or easier to rank for.

4. Ride the trend

Keep your eyes open for news and Twitter trends and top search terms. If you think laterally, there may be opportunities to tie these terms to your site’s products or services. Agile companies can react quickly to market demands with their keyword strategies and take advantage of demand created by the trends. The trends may be short lived, but they can provide excellent avenues of cheaper visitors and expose your brand to a wider audience.

Getting started

One good place to start with keyword research is to look at the copy on the pages you’d like users to visit and work backwards from there to derive the keywords and key phrases that might bring users there from a search. This will give you a good starting point for the most relevant keywords.

Look at the actual keywords users typed into the search engine that brought them to your site. Don’t just consider terms containing your brand terms and keywords you have already optimised for. Also think about keywords related to the ones you are already using to extend your reach. By segmenting and slicing your data, you can find non-obvious keywords that will bring quality traffic to you.

Consider the data from your internal search. This will give you ideas as to what users are seeking once they hit your site. These same terms might also be worth using in SEO or PPC because they can bring the user to the most relevant landing page straight from the search engine.

Tools of the trade

There are a wide range of tools that can help with trend and keyword research. To keep an eye on trends, you can use the following tools:

1. For YouTube Videos: http://www.youtube.com/trendsdashboard and its

blog: http://youtube-trends.blogspot.com/

2. Google Trends tool: http://www.google.com/trends

3. For Twitter trends: http://www.hashtags.org/

4. Keyword trending tool: https://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/top-keywords/

5. For a great twitter trend by geo-region: http://trendsmap.com/

6. For competitive research, start with keywordspy.com and SpyFu.com to see competitors’ paid and SEO keywords.

Google Adwords will give you additional metrics such as the local demand for keywords and what the estimated Cost Per Click (CPC) would be if you had to buy the keyword via PPC. Find it here:

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

What are words worth?

Tom Tom asked the question in their song, and it’s not an easy one to answer. There are many metrics that you need to think about when determining the worth of keywords. For example, you need to consider what are you prepared to spend on a keyword to gain a visitor to your site as well as how likely that visitor is to convert.

This process of choosing and valuing keywords never really ends, but once you make a start, you soon learn how to get the most value from your keywords. That will ultimately support your drive to build your brand and acquire more customers.

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Telcos want one face

The investments that telecommunications service providers are making in reshaping their online properties into customer-centric portals reflects the growing maturity of self-service and Internet uptake in the industry, says KEVIN MELTZER of Consology.

Many telcos around the world are overhauling their websites to offer customers more holistic portals that give them a single point of entry into the organisation.

They are doing so because they recognise that service will be a key point of differentiation for their businesses in a market that is becoming increasingly competitive. They have also realised that they have a major opportunity to shift customers away from expensive contact centres towards low-cost electronic channels.

In the past, most telecommunications operators ran multiple sites across multiple domains and subdomains. These web-based properties were built around the way that telcos structured their own businesses rather than around the needs of the customer. But we are now seeing the leading operators take a more user-centric approach to the way that they design their web and mobile sites.

This coincides with a change in the industry from slicing customers into numerous segments and then serving them across a range of functional and product areas. For example, many operators split customers into prepaid and postpaid segments or voice and data users, distinctions that are becoming less meaningful in a world of technology convergence. They now want to present a single face to the customer rather than servicing the subscriber through silos.

These changes are starting to percolate through to operators’ customer service and sales strategies. Telcos are starting to pull together disparate products and services that once resided across multiple sites into customer service portals.

These sites put a wide range of information at the subscriber’s fingertips, he adds. Increasingly, for example, subscribers can log directly into their accounts from the operator’s homepage and then access a wealth of services and information. This marks an evolution from the fractured and inconsistent customer experience of the past.

Leading operators are even thinking about how their Self-Service platforms should be integrated with social media strategies to allow customers to pay their electronic bills or top up airtime with a single click from within a social network.

Whereas Self-Service portals on telco sites were once purely about account management functions, they increasingly offer far richer functionality. In addition to allowing subscribers to pay their bills and check their account information, they are also increasingly becoming the first stop for service and commerce.

Operators have started to recognise that splintering their e-commerce, service and account management functions simply makes no sense. Customers want to be able to do everything through one interface rather than needing to visit two or three Web sites, or eventually possibly needing to phone a call centre or visit a store for certain transactions.

Integrated and easy to use online customer service channels will be central for telco operators who want to be competitive in the markets of tomorrow. They form an advantage in an industry where it will be customer relationships rather than cost or service that drive loyalty and purchasing decisions.

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Talk for less with MWEB Talk

Today, MWEB announced its consumer VoIP package called MWEB Talk, which allows users to make free network calls and get discounted rates made to landlines and mobile phones.

MWEB, today launched its new Voice over IP (VoIP) offering to South African consumers. The service, MWEB Talk, will offer users’ free on network calls to fellow MWEB Talk users’ and cheap calls to landline and mobile phone numbers. This follows the success and demand of the ISP’s existing VoIP products in recent months.

‚”We have seen a noticeable transformation in users’ Internet behaviour with consumers wanting services that complement their ADSL connectivity solution. We have seen phenomenal growth and by the end of the year will deliver over 100 million minutes on our VoIP platform,‚” says Carolyn Holgate, General Manager of MWEB Connect, the ISP’s Consumer and Small Office/ Home Office Division.

MWEB has made significant investments in its infrastructure and VoIP has been prioritised on its network to ensure performance and stability of the MWEB Talk service for both businesses and consumers.

‚”In addition to the high quality of the service, MWEB Talk is also simple to set-up and users’ should experience a significant reduction in their telephone bills. By implementing a VoIP service consumers and small businesses can cut their monthly telecommunication bills by up to 55% to landline and mobile numbers,‚” says Holgate.

With no subscription fee, existing MWEB customers can log into their MWEB account, register for the service and download the application for PC and Mac as well as mobile applications that turn an iPhone, Android, and Nokia smartphone into a VoIP phone. Customers will also be able to purchase a Desktop VoIP Handset for R99 which will be HD voice ready and will support multi-extensions.

‚”We believe that VoIP is the future of telephony in South Africa and we are extremely excited to see the consumer market shift into the VoIP space,‚” concludes Holgate.

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