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Using Keyword Research To Improve Web Traffic

The use of appropriate key words is one of the most important aspects of search engine optimization. Selecting and targeting pertinent key words and phrases is crucial for building web traffic and getting the audience you want for your web pages. Like any other type of advertisement, your key words must be carefully chosen to ensure that you achieve both high page rankings and relevant traffic. Achieving high page ranks is useless if the traffic it brings you is not the right...

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The use of appropriate key words is one of the most important aspects of search engine optimization. Selecting and targeting pertinent key words and phrases is crucial for building web traffic and getting the audience you want for your web pages. Like any other type of advertisement, your key words must be carefully chosen to ensure that you achieve both high page rankings and relevant traffic. Achieving high page ranks is useless if the traffic it brings you is not the right audience. For this reason, many experts believe that the target key word list used for a site can mean either success or failure for a web site or online business.

It is no longer enough to simply choose a relevant domain name for an online business or web site. Choosing the right key words for the site is now equally if not more important. The majority of people who visit a site get there by using a search engine. They will type in two or three words that describe what they’re looking for, scan the resulting list generated and pick one that seems relevant until they get the answer or product they need. This is where target key words are utilized. Key words are what enable people to find your site; choosing the right key words for your site will ensure the right people find you.

With this in mind, identifying your target audience is the first step in creating relevant key words and phrases. Again, this is not dissimilar to targeting television advertisements. Consider location when you are developing your target market. For example, if you own a used car dealership in Hayward, California, any traffic you get from outside a very specific area is virtually useless to you. Similarly, if you operate an online business that does not ship outside the USA, generating traffic from other countries will not help you make sales. By adding key words that are specific to your location as well as your product, you will better hone into your target audience, improve your rankings, and achieve a better conversion rate, which will help increase your site’s page ranking, in turn.

Keyword competition should also be taken into consideration when developing a site’s key word list. Going back to the used car dealership example, let’s say a potential customer types in the word “cars” into a search engine. They’ll never find what they need, because it’s far too general—generating around 500,000,000 different sites to choose from. Typing in “used cars” generates almost 70,000,000. That’s still too many to deal with effectively. Using “used cars Hayward” generates almost 900,000 hits, and narrowing the focus even further by using the zip code rather than the city name reduces it to less than 25,000.

Choosing key words for your web site works the same way. If your key words are too general, your target audience will never find your site, because the search terms generate so many web sites that it is impossible to look through them all. However, if you go too far in the opposite direction and use too many key words, or key words which are too specific, you risk losing business as well. The best key word phrases are no more than three words in length.

So how do you choose the right key words? The first step is brainstorming with colleagues, friends or an SEO professional, to come up with a list of 20 or more appropriate key words. The Google Keyword Tool is an excellent place to research key words. By entering key words into this tool it will give you an idea of the popularity of certain words and offers you alternative key words and phrases.

Once you have a good list of terms, you may want to refine it to call out the strongest terms that have the best potential for sales or traffic conversion. There are several good online research tools available, which can help you decide which words will be most effective for you. Some good examples are WordTracker and Keyword Discovery. These sites may charge a fee for using their database. After reviewing the terms, eliminate the key words that rank poorly or are very unpopular, then prioritize the remaining terms according to search popularity. These terms will become the keywords you will want to focus your initial SEO campaign on.

Always remember that when it comes to key words, you are focusing on optimizing your traffic rather than maximizing it. Setting up the right keyword list for optimization is the cornerstone to a successful web site.

~Ben Anton, 2007

 

Adwords Keyword Research for Beginners

Get started bidding on targeted reasonably priced keywords.

ppc, marketing

Adwords Keyword research for beginners

When you embark on your first PPC journey, you need to keep a small number of keywords at first. Keyword lists that are thousands of words long should be left to the more experienced PPC marketer. Ideally, a beginner should use around 100 targeted keywords, anything more will probably prove too cumbersome for you to manipulate. If you can't harness the power of large keyword campaigns, they will suck your bank accounts dry. There are some very simple free techniques that you can use to find targeted keys words with low competition. One process of finding low competition niche keywords utilizes Google and excel. More specifically you want to use Google's keyword tool, just type this into Google, and it will appear in the search results.

Upon landing on the main Google keyword tool page, you will find a white box(field) where you want to enter your particular keyword(s). Enter one keyword for now to get an idea of how this works, and press enter. After pressing enter, you will be directed to a page of keywords that will be closely related to the keyword that you entered. For the purposes of what we want to do, you will need to scroll to the middle of the page where the text Add all 150 is highlighted in blue bold text. Below these words you will see the words download all keywords with text,.csv(for excel) and .csv. You want to click on .csv(for excel). By doing this, you will export this data into an excel spreadsheet. The data, which only appears as green bars on the main Google page, will be transformed into numeric data that has much more value for you.

Once the data is in the excel spread sheet, you can begin some simple analysis on it that will benefit your PPC campaign a great deal. In the excel spreadsheet, there are going to be columns of data, A-D. The columns are going to be, from A-D, Keywords, Advertiser competition, the previous month's search volume, and the average search volume.The two columns we are interested in are the advertiser competition and the Average search volume. What we want to do is merge the data from these two columns to give us a number that we can work with. So what we need to do is take a generalized average of these two to get a number which we will compare to a predetermined benchmark. Sounds a little odd, let me explain a bit more completely, and hopefully you will understand. All of these numbers are in decimals on a scale ranging from .00 to 1. The higher the number, the more competition there is(as expressed by the advertiser competition numbers) and the higher the search volume(as expressed by the average search volume). Ideally, we want low competition with a decent search volume to target lower cost high converting keywords. So, to find these keywords we use a general benchmark number that will determine their competition and volume level. If the keywords exceed the benchmark, we leave them be, if they hit right around the benchmark, or fall below it, we want to capture them and include them in our PPC campaign.

To get our figures, which we are going to compare to a predetermined benchmark, we are going to take an average of the advertiser competition column and the average search volume column. We want to do this for all the keywords that have been exported to the excel file. And the way we do this is by typing in a simple command in excel and copying the command down throughout the related boxes. So to start, we find box E2 which should be blank, this is the first box to the right of the first value in the avg. search volume box. So, within this blank box you want to type=average(D2,B2). This will automatically give you an average of those two numbers in this E column row when you close that last ).Now, to get all the averages for every keyword you simply want to click on that box(E2) and pull down on the box while you hold in right click. The boxes should fill in with color when you drag down to the last box(nothing will be in them yet). Then, when you have filled in the boxes with color up to the last box you want to lift your finger off the right click. When you do this all the averages will appear in the boxes. You basically just copied the function down through the boxes. So now we have all these averages. What do we do with them, what do they tell us?

Well, a good benchmark average is around .50. This will give us a reasonable competition level with good search volume. So we compare these averages to anything that falls around .50 and below. Anything that goes above .60 we want to avoid to start out with, because it will probably be too expensive to bid on. So now compare all the averages in column E to the predetermined benchmark of .50. Whatever falls below .50 or, .55(to possibly get some more data) we want to keep. Take all the keywords that meet this criteria and copy them into a notepad .txt file. (There are faster ways to do this but they take some learning of excel functions that you may not know yet.)

So now we want to take these keywords that fell below or right around the benchmark and plug these back into the Google keyword tool and hit enter. Now go back through the entire process that we just did to get the keywords we just plugged into the Google keyword tool. You are going to want to take the average again of the two columns mentioned above, then get all the averages of all the keywords by draggin the first box down, and then compare again to a benchmark of .50 or .55. But now, because we found some more targeted keywords to work with(as a result of the first exporting of data to excel, and taking the averages to compare against the benchmark) we should have more keywords that hit right around the benchmark and below it. This is because we are working with more targeted and hopefully lower competition keywords. We are finding yet more targeted keywords related to the first set we found. This should produce a larger list of keywords that meet our benchmark. So now we can take the words that meet the benchmark here, and we can use these in our targeted PPC campaign. You will want to sort through this list of course, and make sure the keywords are well suited for the particular items that you are selling. This method will get you headed in the right direction for your PPC campaign.

 

Using Overture For Keyword Research

Be careful when you do keyword research, or you might optimize based on bad information. Watch for these four problems.

keyword research,overture,keywords,optimization

Many of us who build websites get in the habit of using the Overture "Keyword Suggestion Tool" to do keyword research. It's convenient, and one of the few remaining such tools that is free. Be careful, though, because there are four problems you may run into with it.

1. Singular and plural forms are lumped together. I once optimized a site for "mountain hiking" based on the search traffic indicated by Overture. I later discovered that over half of that traffic was actually for "mountains hiking." Unfortunately, the search engines don't lump singulars and plurals, so those searchers didn't find their way to my site.

2. Alphabetizing. I hesitate to mention this, because it only seems to happen occasionally, but that makes it worse. Sometimes Overture alphabetizes search phrases. If you see "bag lightweight sleeping," you might guess that the searches are actually for "lightweight sleeping bag," but what about "hiking mountains?" That could reasonably be searched for both ways. Look down the list to see if other phrases are obviously alphabetized.

3. Misspellings are not always seperated. I searched "perseverence," on Overture's research tool, an honest spelling error on my part, and saw good demand. I almost optimized a page for it before taking a second look and seeing that the results shown were for "perseverance." You can be certain that searches are being done both ways, but how many each way?

4. Inflated figures. Overture often shows more monthly searches for a keyword than other research tools show for ALL search engines. Who is in error? Hard to say for sure, but given Overtures other imperfections...

Overture's Keyword Suggestion Tool is a fast way to learn if there is some demand for a keyword, and it's still free. For serious keyword research, though, it's best to look to other tools.




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