“As I consult and train people on Internet marketing, I typically ask whether keyword research is a strategic function or a tactical one,” says Ron Jones, president/CEO of Symetri Internet Marketing, which provides strategic SEM consulting and training. “I submit it is not only strategic but also foundational to all marketing channels you will use.” Jones outlines the following tips for developing a killer keyword strategy you can use to take your campaigns to a higher level:
Branding or converting strategy: “One of the first things to consider in developing a keyword strategy is what you want to accomplish when you reach your target audience,” says Jones. “Do you just want to generate an impression for branding purposes, or do you want to invite [visitors] to your place where you get them to make a purchase?” Here are three types of strategies to consider:
- Conversion: “We want our keywords to draw traffic to our website or landing page, and then we want that traffic to convert by making a purchase or otherwise doing something specific like filling out a contact form, picking up the phone, or downloading something. In this case, long-tail or more specific keywords will likely work best for you,” Jones advises.
- Branding: “Whether or not people come to our website isn’t as important as being seen as a player for that keyword,” notes Jones. “In this case, broad search terms are likely going to work best for you.”
- Hybrid: “You can of course bring both of these strategies together and have 90% of your keywords dedicated to a conversion strategy; then the other 10% are dedicated to branding and impressions,” Jones says. “You would want to segment your keywords accordingly for each campaign.”
Define how you will measure success: “This is probably one of the most important questions to answer before you begin any campaign,” he observes. “Your objective should be how many conversions you want to achieve for each keyword. Top ranking will help you with visibility, which is a good thing, but if you bring in traffic from that keyword and those visitors do not engage and convert, then why bother?” Jones recommends that you review your analytics frequently by keyword and observe visitors’ behavior when they come to your website or landing page. “Don’t fixate on just traffic alone,” he cautions. “How much time are they spending on your site? What is the average number of pages they are viewing? What is the bounce rate?” The final and most important metric, says Jones, is conversion. “Make sure that you set up your conversion goals within your analytics. That way, you can see which keywords are not only driving traffic but out of that traffic what percentage is converting,” he explains.
Map keywords to the right landing pages: “One way to insure you get the best results from your keyword campaigns is to make sure there is very high relevance between the keywords you use and the associated landing pages,” says Jones. “This is a very important principle. What happens when you click on an organic listing or a PPC add from a SERP (search engine results page) and the content has little to zero keywords on that page that you used to search on? Right, you bolt and head back and click on another link. Make sure your landing pages are optimized to handle your keyword traffic to make them relevant.” Even more importantly, he adds, take the time as you conduct your keyword research to segment and categorize your keywords to map to the right landing pages. “If the page doesn’t exist on your site yet, then that is your cue to build a new page for that set of keywords,” says Jones. “By doing this you will achieve the relevance that will lead to more engaged visitors and higher conversion rates.”
This is the first of a two-part series.
Posted March 20th, 2012 under Intellectual Property Marketing