Keyword research is the bedrock of any successful search engine optimisation strategy. And by “success” I refer to the tangible business gains that can be achieved through SEO, and not just simply search rankings.
Good research and analysis is required to help define a targeted set of key phrases that will drive high quality visitors onto your site. But if you’ve never implemented a search engine marketing campaign before, how do you know which relevant keywords are going to drive the right type of visitors on to your site?
Keyword research is not an exact science
Although search marketing professionals have access to keyword research tools that will help them to identify the possible keyword variations of a particular theme, those tools aren’t capable of helping you to gauge the quality of visitor that that phrase is likely to deliver.
Many SEOs will start optimising pages for specific keywords without really knowing if the search volumes predicted by the keyword tool are accurate or if the keywords are going to consistently drive high quality visitors that convert. They use up their time, energy and resources without knowing what lies at the end of their optimised rainbow. SEO is a long-term game, so changing the keyword strategy halfway through a campaign can be costly, and will ultimately delay the final results.
Integrating PPC and SEO
Setting up and running a trial PPC campaign can help reduce the risk of chasing high rankings for the wrong set of key phrases. Start out by setting your keywords to ‘broad match’ to help initially generate the required levels of search engine visibility and impressions. As you start to get some good traffic visiting your site, use your web analytics package to track which actual keywords visitors have come in on. You can then further optimise your PPC campaign by setting up phrase and exact match keywords so you can isolate and more easily measure the effectiveness of specific key terms. Furthermore, once you’ve been able to develop a list of high performing exact match keywords you can then start to test what impact different marketing messages will have on conversion rates, by setting up dedicated landing pages and using split-testing techniques to determine which copy works best.
Focus on quality, not quantity
The benefit of this approach is that not only will you have a much clearer idea of which key phrases work best for you in terms of driving high quality visitors, but you’ll also know which marketing messages will appeal to those visitors and thus help you to maximise conversions.