How To Choose The Right Keywords For SEO and SEM
Which words or phrases are potential customers typing into their favourite search engine when they are looking for your product? This is a great starting question when determining the primary keywords to focus your advertising and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) campaigns on; knowing these exact keywords and phrases will help you win in your keyword selection and customer conversion.
Keep in mind it is the exact keyword or key phrase that is important here. For example, a search for “fashion shop” may show very different results to the key phrase “online fashion shop”, the former attracting a much wider range of browsing public that may be interested in finding physical fashion shops in their area.
If your chosen keywords aren’t exactly related to your business and what you’re selling, you may find that your traffic is much less targeted and your conversion rate lower, as visitors come to your site by accident or arrive in small numbers because you targeted the wrong type of people.
How to Choose the Right Keywords
It pays to start small and keep it simple in the beginning; starting out with thousands of keywords will only confuse your strategy, and in reality it will be a fairly small number of keywords that will actually result in good amounts of traffic for your site.
Try to focus on your company name, product categories, and the solutions you offer in a format that you can see your potential customers typing onto the search bar of Google. Refining this list can take time, but narrow it down to 10-15 keywords to start with. You can always add more keywords later and try new ideas as your business grows and you understand your customers better.
In this post about SEO we talked about how to check the average volume of traffic for each keyword, which you will want to do again here. This list will then become your primary keywords on which you will build your SEO (organic) and CPC (AdWords and Bing Ads) strategies.
Using Google Keyword Planner
Log in to your Google AdWords account and select the Keyword Planner tool. Select “Search for a new keyword and ad group ideas”, under which you can type your primary keywords, your website landing page, and other geographical information about where you will display your ads. Click “Get Ideas” and Google will present you with a number of ad groups and suggested keywords around the particular primary keyword you entered.
This may take some time, but you can start here and whittle down your groups by adding them to “Your plan” in the column on the right hand side of the page. Completing this with each of your primary keywords should result in you having 10-15 focused groups of keywords around each of the primary keywords you selected above.
One way to waste advertising dollars is to accidentally advertise to groups of people who are not at all interested in your product, but are searching for similar keywords or variations of these.
Negative keywords in AdWords allow you to remove these keywords from your search marketing and results, further focusing your advertising toward the right people. For example, if you have a business that sells watches online, your keywords might include “watch, watches, men’s watches, women’s watches, timepieces”, etc.
When you advertise for these keywords, you may also accidentally attract people who are searching for keywords such as “watch tennis” or “watch movies”, so you may choose to include the negative keywords “tennis” and “movies” (and several others) in your AdWords campaign. This ensures you are not advertising accidentally to the wrong groups of people, which will result in more targeted ads, a lower spend, and a higher conversion rate.
Short-Tail vs. Long-Tail Keywords
Many small businesses compete by targeting niche and long-tail keywords (or keyword phrases). For example, the short-tail keyword phrase “buy fashion” might be highly competitive in both organic and paid search results, but the long-tail keyword phrase “buy designer fashion Bangkok” may have considerably less competition.
Keep in mind the more niche you go, the less search traffic there is likely to be. Do your research and you’ll find keyword phrases with reasonable amounts of traffic that you can compete in.
Test and Refine Your Keywords Using AdWords
Over a few weeks you should be able to identify which keywords are generating the most traffic from your AdWords campaigns for the lowest cost per click. If you have set up your goal tracking correctly you will also be able to see which keywords are producing the best conversion rates, and you can then re-allocate your resources accordingly toward these performing keywords while culling the non-performers. We will discuss building your AdWords and Pay Per Click strategy more in coming posts.