Let’s face it, keywords only matter for SEO or PPC, if people actually click them. What occurs next after the post-click is equally as important to make sure they take the necessary action. That means keywords, click throughs and common sense must have synergy in order to increase conversion and not just traffic.
How many times have you shot for the moon and wholeheartedly jumped in with both feet to optimize a keyword based on suggested keyword research data, spent months targeting it, and then only a few click throughs resulted?
In other words, have you invested time promoting a landing page with the notion of ranking for an “exact match” keyword and from a standpoint of performance, that keyword simply fell flat?
Assuming you raised your hand, just reaching the Mecca of a keyword (such as a top 3 position) oddly is not always enough. The reality is, it’s not that uncommon to witness under performing keywords.
Unless there are coupled with the proper context you might have to track a (click -through) stragglers scratching your head in disbelief for a while as they bounce of the page like people viewing a bad local cable commercial.
Yet, don’t be too harsh on yourself; there are remedies that can salvage high bounce rates and lack of context. Keywords by nature are essentially hit or miss; in fact, most websites receive 80% of their traffic from a narrow group (if not a few) keywords.
Just like “nothing happens until there is a sale”, in this instance for PPC or SEO, “nothing happens until there is a click”. So, removing the duds from your arsenal is paramount to refine your pitch and dial-in the sweet spot of conversion for your website’s collective theme.
You can call them the preferred performers or whatever you like, but the percentage of traffic from these preferred performers and the mid-tail (3 word key phrases) and long-tail (search queries with 4 or more descriptive) keywords represent different and somewhat unique tiers of opportunity.
Use Common Sense
Sometimes data can be misleading: Some keywords are skewed, sometimes keyword research tools use click stream data that is from bots or other automated tools that are just inflating search volume to toggle the auto suggest feature so they can funnel traffic to their less competitive niche.
In other words, if a search is conducted enough for a given group of words, search engines will toggle it as a destination phrase, if it exceeds a specific threshold. Not to say this is always the case, I am just indicating how you have to test, retest and confirm where you put your attention in an optimization campaign.
You have to refine and distill each keyword you expect traffic from for context and how it applies to commerce. Don’t be surprised if a large percentage of your keywords do not convert and more importantly not all search trends will remain in the collective awareness long enough to settle as the only broad phrase you will ever need.
Diversity equates to opportunity and the broader array of keywords your website appears for, the more data you can track (to extract which phrases or combinations are worthy of developing further).
You May Not Always Know What is Best
Sometimes all you need is to apply a touch of common sense to take a keyword from the dead zone into a lucrative click space. For example, one of our clients (as a result of analytics) noticed that despite the fact that they were positioned with PPC, SEO and everything in between, they received a tremendous surge from observing a trend in search behavior.
They noticed that more traffic arrived to their site unintentionally through a specific modifier that rivaled their most competitive and lucrative keywords. This was a simple long tail suffix that held tremendous weight across all stock kept units in the site. What was the simple suffix? the words “for sale”.
Sounds simple enough such as “item/keyword 1 for sale, item/keyword 2 for sale, affordable / item for sale”, etc., literally changed their entire online world. Not to mention, by finding less competitive mid or long-tail keywords that are phrases that someone closer to the end of the sales cycle would use translates to a higher potential for conversion.
Keyword Modifiers like “by the hour, best price on, pricing for, best deals on” all represent keywords that motivated buyers would use.
Going back to the gist, not only did this simply modification using an action word save them thousands on PPC each month, it also transformed their SEO campaign dramatically when we adapted this logic and made modifications to landing pages, links and titles to capitalize on this and other unique keyword performers.
Your Marketing and Keyword Research Should Coincide
Find the Right Click Triggers: As far as click triggers, scaling user intent and what the takeaway is from this topic, content and links can do wonders in reshaping the focus of organic rankings. You simply have to find the relevance/tipping point and lean into the campaign “with the right keyword infrastructure” to correct veering off topic.
Knowing that most websites lack (a) enough content to cross the tipping point or (b) enough trust and authority to catapult their pages into the spotlight, you need to map out keyword thresholds through competitive and gap analysis to see “where you are at” compared to the competition and the keywords competitiors they covet most.
Timing & Relevance: Search engines view posts as news (which means they have a limited shelf life for relevance). If you are primarily using a content development strategy to get your site in shape to compete, then make sure you have a static page that is receiving the benefit of the flash in the pan traffic posts can generate.
Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: The ability for your website to rank for various keywords depends on multiple factors. For example, if a new website is targeting too many terms (that involve multiple themes) then is it more feasible to (a) target a less competitive array of keywords? or (b) target 20 different keywords or (c) target 3-5 competitive keywords?
The method you choose depends on your budget or resources. However, it is better to (1) have a main topic and (2) flank or supplement it with less competitive keywords as well as (3) using a third level push (such as articles, rss feeds or deep links) to cement relevance for less competitive thresholds.
Performance is measure by risk vs. reward and reward is based upon the quantity of conversion from your stable of keywords. Budget, time and execution are the metrics, but optimizing performance will save you time, energy and money in the long run from coupling common sense with competitive market analysis data.