TrainingSearch Engine Marketing The Importance of Keywords

The Importance of Keywords

Keywords are one of the most vital parts of search engine marketing.  Choosing the right or wrong keywords can be the difference between success and failure.

Why are Keywords so Important?

Search engine marketing is driven by the keywords that a searcher enters into the search box.  Those small keywords tell us everything about what it is they are looking for:

  • Plumber in York
  • Flat screen tv reviews
  • Five star hotel in west London
  • How can I loose weight in 2 weeks

It is these keyword phrases that Google takes and tries to find the most relevant information to answer these search requests.  It is our job to ensure our content is relevant to searchers in our market.

We need to identify the keyword phrases that we want to either rank for in the search engines or buy ads against.

Keywords and Buyer Intent

Different keywords have different levels of buyer intent.  Many website go wrong at the very first step by optimising for keywords that don’t have buyer intent.

As a buyer goes through the buying process they are likely to conduct a number of searches, we need to understand what their intent is and provide relevant content, for example the following keywords illustrate a buying process and varying levels of buyer intent:

  • Flat screen televisions – Broad keyword with low buyer intent
  • What is best LCD or Plasma TVs
  • LED Edge Televisions
  • Best LED Edge Televisions
  • LED Freeview HD Internet Ready Television Reviews – Medium intent review stage
  • Samsung LED HD 3D Internet Ready Televisions
  • Samsung 40 inch HD 3D Internet Television Reviews
  • Samsung UE40D6100 Review – Medium to high buyer intent – Reviewing specific model
  • Samsung UE40D6100 Prices
  • Cheap Samsung UE40D6100 – High buyer intent – the user is looking to purchase

This process may happen over a series of hours, days, weeks or even months.  It is important to understand the stage of the buying process your customer is in.

Many website owners make the following classic mistake:

I sell Flat Screen Televisions, so I am going to target “Flat Screen TVs” – I want to be number 1 on Google for “Flat Screen TVs”!

Whilst at first glance this may seem like a sensible keyword choice, a user at this stage of the buying process is only conducting initial research, their buying intent is very low.

When looking at a market, it is often the long tail keywords that are the most productive, sure there is less traffic, but it isn’t traffic we are looking for, it is sales.

It is fine targeting broad, research based keywords, but we need to understand what information users need at this stage, if the user is in research mode, ask:

  • How can I help move this person to a sale?
  • How can I help them choose a product and buy it from me?

Make sure you don’t try to sell to people who are in the research phase, instead offer them information to help them in their buying process, feed them into your funnel.

If you get traffic from the following search:  ”Best LED Edge Televisions” – provide them with a guide on LED Edge Televisions, capture their email, offer them help to choose.

One of the advantages we have as small and medium businesses is to give that personal service, the service that is so often lacking form the large retailers.

Keywords and Competition

When choosing keywords it is critical to understand how competitive a keyword is.

There is always a balance between search volume and competition.

A highly competitive keyword will be expensive on PPC and difficult to rank for using SEO.  Competition isn’t always a bad thing as it often shows there is money in the keyword.

Beware broad keywords that have high search volumes, that are very competitive, but have very low buying intent.

When mapping out a keyword strategy, we always look first for keywords with relatively high buyer intent and relatively low competition, once we make these successful we can move onto higher volume broader keywords.  Most website owners start the other way around, targeting broad keyword first and find that they don’t get anywhere.

We will go into detail of how to choose specific keywords, how to assess competition in the respective PPC and SEO training sections.

Next:  SEO vs PPC – What’s the Difference?