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Make your keywords work

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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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