There are two types of people online (1) people looking for something with the intent to purchase or (2) people perusing the web searching for information (entertainment, social or otherwise).
The key to SEO is keyword research and knowing which category of consumer your website appeals to and how to bridge the gap from educational keywords and maximize positioning for commercial queries to reach more prospects, sell more products and convert more window shoppers into customers.
The psychology of selling is just as important to integrate into your keyword research phase from the onset as selecting the type of keywords you target to begin with. There is no room for error (as missed opportunity equates to lost traffic, sales and a wasted time and effort).
Your website should appear for transactional queries, modifiers and key phrase variations – so that when people are ready to purchase, they find your website and not your competitor. Sales and conversions are about (1) proper keyword research (2) catching people when they are in the heat of an emotion to purchase and (3) top 3 positioning in search engines.
Given the history of these three things in action, there is no substitute for ranking for the right keyword at the right time.
To bridge the gap, you need to understand which keyword modifiers and contextual phrases accommodate queries consumers use when they are ready to find a site, whip out their credit cards and make a purchase vs. those who are too early in the sales cycle to commit.
There are a lot of speculated keyword research tools out there (including the Google Adwords Keyword Research Tool, Wordtracker and others), yet personally, I have never seen anything as effective as the Krakken suite from Themezoom (which we have used time and time again to devour markets and scale the most competitive keyword landscapes) for ourselves and our clients.
Targeting the wrong keywords is an exercise in futility. There is nothing worse than being #1 for a keyword and receiving no traffic. Avoiding keyword duds and understanding the commercial undertones which surround a product, service, market or niche represents the difference between having a passive affiliate marketing income stream or obsessively checking your stats in dismay “trying to figure out why you aren’t racking up sales or conversions”.
The secret to solid keyword research lies in understanding the contextual modifiers, types of competitors, whether or not there are PPC costs associated with a keyword or key phrase and then measuring how many surrounding keyword clusters are contributing (supporting) the aggregate nodes of relevance required to conquer a competitive keyword.
Over time you learn to assess the trajectory of competition, the on page requirements needed (to make a dent in a competitive vertical) and the amount of off page optimization required (for each keyword and the collective cluster of keywords).
With a properly themed and siloed site architecture, sufficient content, sufficient links and enough time, using a tool that shows you the interrelatedness of natural language and then correlates it to a dollar amount (as well as extracts correlations of market share, topical overlapping of commercial keywords and has the ability to export them directly into a websites site architecture) saves you time, the hassle of targeting the wrong keywords and wasting months optimizing duds instead of keywords with proven commercial intent.
They say it takes money to make money, well, with SEO or SEM, the worth of a campaign starts and ends with the keyword selection; and cutting corners is not an option if market domination is the objective. If you want the best results, you will use the best tools – in which case Themezoom is in a league of its own for vertical online market analysis and unearthing raw keyword potential when it is time to shift from theoretical SEO to creating an unstoppable market-devouring keyword juggernaut.
How do I know? Rankings and traffic speak for themselves.