The SEO Series – Everything you need to know about Keywords

13 05 2010

Keywords are the foundation from which all of your marketing efforts are built upon. Keyword research tools provide invaluable insight into what words people are searching for on the major search engines. But what these research tools don’t tell you is the intention of each search; however, that information can be deduced with a bit of analysis and keyword organisation.

But, before we get into that, let’s have a look at how people search; it’ll help us understand how to segment and organise our keywords into an effective optimisation campaign.

So How do People Search?

Over the years, search trends have changed. In the beginning, the majority of searches were only one word queries. As time went on, internet users started realising that they can get better, more accurate, results when they give the search engine a bit more information about what they are looking for.

The more accurate the search phrase you use is, the more accurate the results will be. Studies have shown that four or five-word phrases often have a higher ROI that one and two word phrases, simply because the searcher is more likely to get the results that meet their needs.

The only drawback to this is that the keyword combination potentials are increased, so the number of searches for any one phrase reduces dramatically. This makes the optimisation process a little more difficult. Instead of optimising for one, general phrase, you have to optimise for five very specific phrases. This is known as the long-tail of keywords. These longer phrases obviously have far less competition, and are much easier to get ranked; although they produce lower traffic levels.

Long –tail phrases should not constitute the primary focus of your optimisation efforts. Nor should you focus on short-tail phrases either. A good keyword optimisation strategy goes after both, simultaneously.

The Keyword Buying Cycle

Every search user has different needs, and ultimately, different goals they wish to achieve when they begin searching. Many searches are quick with a sole purpose of learning something, and others have goals to buy a product/service that best suits their needs.

Every search starts with an interest. The interest generally uses broad keywords with one, or maybe two words. As the user moves through the other stages (gather, research, exclude and purchase), they make their queries more and more specific. Every change in query brings the searcher closer and closer to their goal, each giving them more information along the way.

Most businesses want to be ranked for the interest level searches, because that’s where the most traffic is. This can often be a mistake, because most searchers will use those sites as a springboard to get to other sites that meet their more specific queries. There are still valid reasons to be ranked for these broader searches as it can help brand your site, and bring people back; but the conversions come from the more specific terms.

Once you understand how the searcher progresses through the buying cycle then you can learn something from the keywords that were used to search. The information you can harvest can be crucial in determining how to develop the content and direction of your site. So here are some things that you need to know/learn about:

Target Audience – The more you know about who your target audience is, the better position you will be in to meet their needs. The keywords used by business professionals will often be different from keywords used by students and hobbyists. Both will be using keywords that appear to be relevant, but depending on what you offer, not all of them have the same intent.

Areas of Interest – Keywords can tell you what is important to your target audience. Are they looking to satisfy a quick query, or are they looking for in-depth information?

Needs to be met – Finally, your keywords can tell you what the searcher is looking to have met. Some hobbyists are looking for a strategy for tackling their next project and a business leader may be looking for a community of like-minded individuals.

It is important to stay up-to-date with what your target audience is searching for. The way people search is constantly changing, and to stay competitive, you must keep referring to your Keyword Research.

I hope you found this article helpful; if you would like to add any tips, please feel free to do so below.

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13 05 2010
The SEO Series « KeepersAcc – Tips about e-marketing, business, tax + other financial issues

[…] Post #7 is titled ‘Everythign you need to know about Keywords’ […]

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