Keywords – Not an Exact Science

Keywords – Not an Exact Science

Keywords are one of the most understood words in internet marketing and online advertising.  Getting your keywords & keyphrases “right” isn’t an easy task and takes time. In fact, these words and phrases may well be the most difficult process, as choosing your keywords is not an exact science.

Keywords are critical for PPC and Google AdWords programs, yet they are also important in building your organic rank. In our case we work towards certain words, like digital agency, emarketing, we also use Toronto, as we are interested in capturing leads direct from the city. However, in our case “Toronto” is a problem word as Google and Google places know we are located in Oakville (and not Toronto). This is a good example of Google conflict, but I digress.

As we explore this issue further, keep in mind that 82% of people looking for “stuff” today start with a Google search. There are 12.477 BILLION searches monthly, so we are talking about a lot of search, and your organic rank can make an impact. Since Google has taken much traffic “local” and uses location-based data to find the right search result for you, organic rank is more important than ever.

And how do you build your organic rank? Using these “key words” and keyphrases that are part of your website in the form of URLs, in the form of HEADLINES and in the form of COPY in the article, story, blog post or page.

Attempting to define and quantify keywords is difficult and different words can bring different results. As exampled in your expectations of specific copy, pages etc. Meaning some words drive leads, some drive traffic, some drive sales and depending on your marketing goal, your words and keyphrases may be different.

Not all marketing initiatives are designed to drive sales nor can they all drive sales nor can they do so continually. Keywords change and users find you and have different expectations at different times. Some words are used for researching, some are for comparing, some are just for checking you out and some are actually trying to purchase. The point here, your keywords and keyphrases are different for different results.

Organic rank isn’t a given either, it changes; based on the search, search keywords, location, and a wide variety of other factors. So, exactly how many keywords do you need? There is no hard and fast rule, but we recommend that you keep the theme tight, and the keywords limited to the anticipated result you expect from your page. Meaning, what do you want this page to do, how does this influence your marketing initiatives?

Here are a few pointers in selecting keywords:

1)   Branded keywords (i.e. your company or product name)

2)   Non-Branded Keywords (i.e. industry related terms)

3)   Long Tail keywords (i.e. specific terms & phrases)

4)   Geographic (i.e. location is key)

5)   Industry (i.e. inside terms used specifically in your industry)

6)   Competition (i.e. use your competitions name and location)

7)   Specificity (i.e. keep it single messaged, 1 page, 1 message)

Once you have this settled, it’s time to do some testing and PPC. Google AdWords is a perfect vehicle to check out your early assumptions and develop new and alternative keywords. As I pointed out, it’s not an exact science, more like hit and miss. Worse in many ways, it’s constantly changing as Google changes its processes, organic rank is a moving target, yet, those that persevere will prosper though the use of these “key words” in paid and organic search.

Michael Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd, Oakville, ON, March 2014

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