The objective of a business website is to attract potential buyers and convert them into paying customers.
Keywords can help you fulfill this objective. Use appropriate keywords on your site and you’ll attract visitors who want to buy the types of products you have to offer.
The more relevant keywords that you rank well for, the more business you will do. So, by constantly expanding your keyword lists, you expand the potential market for your business.
There are two main ways of expanding your keyword lists:
• Find long tail keywords – if your visitors are searching for chocolate they may also be searching for dark chocolate or organic dark chocolate or even organic mint-flavored dark chocolate. Wordtracker’s Keywords tool will be able to help you find long tail terms that are relevant to your market.
Figure 1.1: A search on dark chocolate in Wordtracker’s Keywords tool (Google data selected)
• Find related keywords that allow you to broaden the range of market sectors that you can target. So if, you’re selling gourmet chocolate, you may find opportunities in related keywords such as truffles, fudge or luxury foods. A search using Wordtracker’s Related Keywords tool can make you aware of markets that you might not have already considered.
Figure 1.2: A search on chocolate in Wordtracker’s Related Keywords tool reveals lots of potential sources of new traffic
Don’t forget the sale!
When building your online business, you need to make sure you have an effective sales process in place.
You need to convert people who arrive at your website into paying customers. If you don’t do that, then it doesn’t matter how extensive your keyword research is, or how effective your optimization efforts are in drawing new visitors to your website. If you can’t convert a visitor into a customer then your efforts will be doomed to failure.
Only when you have an effective sales process can you get the real benefit from expanding your keyword lists. And when you have that sales process in place, like any business you will want to expand. You could add new product lines, associated products and other ways to expand your potential income from each of the customers you attract.
Are you getting as many sales as you could?
Before you embark on any product development you need to be sure that you are getting maximum return from your existing content. Let’s suppose you’ve got a website that performs well – you get 100,000 unique visitors per month and you have a conversion rate of 3%. That equates to 3,000 paying customers per month. Not a bad business situation to be in.
If you are running analytics software (such as Google Analytics) on your site, you’ll be able to see how much of your traffic comes from search engines. Here’s a report from Google Analytics for www.wordtracker.com. It shows that more than a quarter of the traffic arriving at www.wordtracker.com comes from search engines.
Figure 1.3: More than one quarter of the traffic arriving at wordtracker.com comes from search engines
In our scenario, let’s suppose that 50% of the traffic arriving at your site comes from search engines (as that's more common). Dig a little deeper in your Analytics reports and the first thing you do is exclude visitors using keywords that contain your own brand names. This might count for half of your search engine traffic.
You might find that as much as 80% of your non-own brand search engine traffic comes from around 20 good keywords if you include all keywords that contain those keywords. Eg, if chocolate truffle is a top keyword, you count organic chocolate truffles (this is called the organic chocolate keyword niche.)
Here's a quick calculation of what this means:
- 25% of your traffic comes from search engines via non-own brand keywords – so that’s 25,000 unique visitors a month. 80% of these come from your top 20 keywords – that’s 20,000 visitors per month.
- With a conversion rate of 3%, those 20 keywords bring you 600 paying customers every month.
Now, if you could find another 20 keywords that perform just as well, then you could add another 600 customers.
And if you could achieve this growth once, could you do it again? Of course, the answer to that depends on the potential in your marketplace, but the underlying principle is that good keywords will bring additional revenue to your website and you really can’t get too many of them.
Three types of keyword research
We’ve established that you should be targeting keywords on your site. You’ll need hundreds – maybe thousands – if your site is to be successful. So, how do you begin your keyword research?
Here are three approaches to consider:
(i) Look for related keywords.
Using the Related Keywords tool (the orange tool) in Wordtracker’s software, you can find many new keywords that you won’t previously have considered. A search on business telephone reveals keywords such as VOIP, business phone service and, as you dig deeper, small business phone systems.
The Related Keywords tool will deliver up to 300 keywords at a time and will help you broaden your keyword lists – to include terms that you might not have already considered.
Figure 1.4: A search on business telephone using the Related Keywords tool
(ii) Look for value in the longer tail of keywords. Rather than just concentrating on the top or ‘head’ terms, the long tail of keywords is more likely to offer profitable opportunities.
When we talk about the long tail, we’re referring to the typically longer keyword phrases that are very specific to what your website is selling and what people are looking for. These phrases differ from the more basic, primary keywords that are heavily searched (cleverly called the ‘head’).
|Head Keyword||Long Tail Keyword|
|mountain climbing||California mountain climbing tours|
|laundry detergent||environmentally-friendly laundry detergent|
|hardwood floors||recycled pine flooring|
|cribs||convertible wood baby cribs|
The long tail of keyword research is absolutely fundamental to your online success.
This is because the long tail represents a far greater number of searches than the head. In a 2008 report, Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise, revealed that for any given topic, the top 100 keywords account for just 5.7% of all website traffic - while long tail keywords account for the remaining 94.3%!
Figure 1.5: An illustration of the huge number of low competition, high conversion alternatives that can be found in the long tail of primary keywords
If you’re not targeting long tail keywords on your site, you’re probably missing out on 95% of your potential traffic.
So what does the long tail mean for you?
Target a large number of long tail terms and you can generate lots of highly targeted traffic. Since there are so many potential long tail combinations that searchers may use to find what you offer, you’ll likely need to create more pages on your website. Luckily for you, Google - the world’s most popular search engine - loves sites with plenty of pages!
Here’s something else that may surprise you: because they have less competition from other websites, long tail keywords give you a much better chance of ranking highly in the search engines - and that means more visibility for your website.
And here’s even better news: the people who search online using long tail keywords are far more likely to become buyers! These specific keywords trigger significantly higher conversions than general terms and phrases.
Here’s how to find those long tail keywords:
Using Wordtracker’s Keywords tool you can easily find out how your top keywords are used inside longer phrases.
For instance, business telephone also appears in the longer terms business telephone system, and as you dig deeper you’ll find more targeted terms like small business telephone system.
Figure 1.6: A search on _business telephone using Wordtracker’s Keywords tool (Google data selected)_
These longer phrases can be incredibly valuable: they can generate highly targeted traffic, but often attract very little competition.
For every search you’ll get 1,000 keywords - so you can dig much deeper into the long tail of a primary phrase. And for every keyword you rank for you’ll get more customers, more sales and more revenue for your business.
Figure 1.7: Longer keyword phrases from a search on small business phone system
(i) Look for niche or emerging markets that you might be able to identify before your competitors do.
Once you’ve run a search in the Keywords tool, click on ‘Get additional metrics’ to get more information about those keywords.
At first the metrics might appear to be a whole load of numbers. But, don’t worry they’re going to help you find some great new keywords.
Figure 1.8: Additional metrics for a search on business telephone
Here’s what each of these terms mean:
- Searches is the number of times the keyword appears in our database. The Wordtracker database is created from over 635 million searches conducted over the last 365 days.
- In Anchor and Title (IAAT) counts the number of web pages for which the keyword appears in both the title tag and the anchor text of a backlink. IAAT is measuring the level of serious competition for each keyword. The higher the number, the more competition the keyword will face.
- KEI (Keyword Effectiveness Index) helps you rank your keywords by combining popularity (the number of searches) and competition in a single mathematical formula. The higher the number, the more effective the keyword is likely to be.
- KEI3 gives you an alternative view of the effectiveness of a keyword. In this formula, the influence of ‘competition’ has been increased so it may help identify particular niches.
When you’re starting out, you could just rank the keywords by KEI: the larger the number, the more attractive the keyword.
As you become more familiar with the tool, you’ll want to consider IAAT, too. Look for low IAAT numbers. Then, keep building lists of keywords that have low IAAT numbers and high KEI numbers.
More about metrics
You can find out more about how to use these metrics in Mike Mindel’s article: Finding profitable keywords just got easier with Wordtracker’s Keywords tool.
Keyword research never stops
Keyword research is an ongoing process and you should always be adding to your keyword lists. As you learn more about the words your customers use to search, you’ll be in a better position to see and exploit new opportunities.
You should use a mixture of solid data AND human intelligence. Keyword research is not a simple one-off task. You will achieve much more if you investigate the tools, think about what they tell you about your customers, and develop a keyword strategy that is suitable for your business.
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A subscription to Wordtracker's premium Keywords tool will help you to:
- Generate thousands of relevant keywords to improve your organic and PPC search campaigns.
- Optimize your website content by using the most popular keywords for your product and services.
- Research online markets, find niche opportunities and exploit them before your competitors.
Take a risk-free 7-day trial of Wordtracker’s Keywords tool and we'll send you a series of seven 'Profit from Keywords videos' that are guaranteed to help you find the best keywords for your business.
For more articles in this series, have a look at:
About Ken McGaffin
Ken McGaffin is an experienced internet marketing consultant and has worked for major pharmaceutical companies, advertising agencies, government bodies and non-profit organizations.
Ken unveils the secrets of successful link building in his 384-page e-book, Successful Link Building
You can watch recordings of his extremely popular (and free) Link Building Webinars