Search engine optimization (SEO) is very important for any website, most would agree with that. There are many aspects to good SEO but here I am going to focus on just one, keyword targeting and selection.

I will assume for purposes of this post that you already have quality content on your website (which we know is a must for good rankings). Keyword targeting and selection, in my opinion, is the second most important aspect to search engine optimization (SEO), behind your content. Meta tags, link building, alt tags, html, CSS, load time, I could go on and on, but none of these are more important then selecting the right keywords.

So the question was, how do I drive traffic that converts? Start with a list of keywords that you think your customers would type into a search engine if they were looking for you on the web. Try to think from their perspective and not yours. Years of being in your industry and looking at the competition in your vertical can give you valuable insight, but look elsewhere. Ask a friend that isn’t involved in your industry; ask a family member who lives in different part of the country. Here’s a novel idea, ask your customers. If you have an ecommerce site or contact form ask how they found your site. Another great resource is pay per click campaigns. If your company has ever done PPC advertising, login to the account look at what drove the most sales or traffic to your site.

While you are making your list try to think of every variation of that keyword including misspellings. For example, if your keyword is “lake front properties” you could also target “lake front homes”, “water front properties”, “vacation homes”, “lake properties”, “lake front land”, etc.

I have written before about long tail keywords versus short tail keywords and their importance. I stated in that post that I think you should target short tail keywords first. Why? Just read the article, gosh.

So now that you have your list you have to narrow it down, at least initially. Start with the most relevant keywords, preferably long tail and start integrating those into your campaign. ***WARNING: This isn’t going to happen over night.*** Sorry, I had to do that but seriously you have to be patient. Keep watching your analytics, see what keywords are driving traffic. If you don’t have software that can track your sales from their origin be sure to ask your costumers what search engine and what keywords they used. You’ll be surprised how many will remember. Keep track, in a spread sheet if you have to.

Bad Keywords
While you are finding your good keywords, avoiding the bad ones is just as important. Many times in the years that I have been doing this I have found keywords that drive great traffic but never convert to a sale. Usually this means that keyword is very popular (you might even have a good ranking for it) but you don’t have the content to support it. If you go into your analytics most likely you have a ton of page views but your page views per session is low and bounce rates are very high. This is a keyword to avoid unless you develop content that is more in line with the keyword. A good example is a small home builder targets “mansion home builder” but all the homes on his site are tiny. A customer isn’t going to stick around very long and some can even get angry. Neither of these options is ideal.

Summary
Choose your keywords carefully, using every resource that is at your disposal. Order your keyword list by relevancy to your product. Begin targeting the long tail keywords first. Patience. Patience. Patience. Research. Research. Research. Then continue to fine tune to the campaign. Using the right keywords, you will get those conversions. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to use the comments area below this post.

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