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3 Tips for Finding Golden Keywords

August 27, 2009

Every once in a while an Email shows up in my inbox that goes something along the lines of:

“Oh my God, we have a HUGE problem!! I searched on [enter some obscure 20 word phrase that no customer in their right mind would ever search on] and we’re not even showing up for it! We need to fix this ASAP!”

Which brings me to the topic of my next post – Keywords. In particular:

  • How to identify keywords that customers are searching on
  • How to get the best return for the time you spend

The thing that people often forget when it comes to SEO keywords is the “key” part. SEO keywords are an elite set of words that you *must* show up for when a search is performed on an engine. Here are 3 keyword research tips to help you in this very important process.

1. Talk to People
Brainstorm keywords with different people, from different groups, inside and outside of your company. Even better, speak with some customers and ask them. Voice of the customer should always trump everyone else, and can help to validate (or invalidate) internal opinions.

2. Look at Keyword Volume
Once you have finished brainstorming, you need to consider keyword volume. A lot of people often underestimate the time and effort that goes into fully optimizing a page, so you don’t want to waste time optimizing for a keyword that no-one is searching on (see obscure 20 word example above!).

Google Adwords Keyword Tool is a free tool that helps you see approximately how many searches are being made for different keywords. It can also help you to discover a different keyword, or more keyword ideas, that you may not have considered before. When using this tool, I recommend setting the Match Type to “Phrase” match, rather than “Broad”. And don’t forget that you also have the option to select by “Language” and “Country”.

3. Look at Quality Measures
As with anything, it is important to balance out quantity with quality. In my opinion, this is best done by utilizing data from your Paid Search Campaigns, in particular the Quality Score data.

A quality score provides us with an indication of how valuable a visitor to our site is, depending on the keyword that referred them. Typically, the higher quality action they take, the higher their score. For example, someone who purchases from your site – or indicates an intent to purchase (EG: by asking to be contacted for a demo) – is more valuable than someone who just clicks on a link and then leaves.

PPC is a good way to inform SEO in identifying quality keywords. If you’re not sure about a certain “must-have” SEO keyword, then always test it out first on the PPC side to see the level of engagement of searchers coming in on that keyword, before you spend time optimizing a page for it.

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From → Search Marketing

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