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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Choosing Effective Keywords, Part 2

Search Term Selection Process

Many people often get stuck in when choosing the proper search terms to promote. Either they have too many terms or are unsure about which terms are more valuable than others. Today I wanted to provide a tutorial in how to go about choosing the best and most effective search terms for promotion. The tutorial already assumes you have done your research and have generated a comprehensive list of all the actively search terms that may pertain to what your site offers. If your site offers many products in differing areas you may end up with several large lists, one for every section of your site. Use this tutorial separately for each list you have.

Step 1: Copy your keyword list into a .txt file and save it to a convenient location such as your desktop.

Step 2: Run through the list deleting all the terms that do not apply to your site.

Many people get caught up thinking that if somebody searches for term X then they would be interested in Y. In reality this may be true, but if you don’t specifically offer X on your site then this term should not be included. There are legal reasons for this, as well as avoiding the risk of spamming the search engines with unrelated terms.

Step 3: Remove terms that are too general in nature.

You will notice that very general terms seem to get the most hits. Be careful as this is deceptive. Yes, those terms can deliver hits but they do not deliver sales! With each term ask yourself if the searcher would MOST LIKELY be searching for what your site offers, or is there a greater chance that they were searching for something else?

An example: for a site that sells boots the term ‘footwear’ may generate many hits. However searchers can be seeking many kinds of footwear such as slippers, shoes, sneakers, sandals, loafers, dress shoes, or moccasins. Not finding any of these on the site, they will quickly hit the browsers ‘Back’ button and move on to next listing in the search results, or more likely refine their search with more specific terms. In this case you would be better off targeting lesser used terms such as ‘cowboy boots’, ‘hiking boots’, ‘outdoor boots’, ‘work boots’, etc, as are more likely to find what they are looking for and therefore, more likely to buy.

Step 4: Remove single-word categorical terms.

Single-word terms pose several problems. 1) They are generally not descriptive enough to return accurate results, 2) they are nearly impossible to compete for a top listing, and 3) they are usually very general in nature (see Step 3). Again, in this case specific multiple-word terms trump when it comes to sales.

Step 5: Remove low-hit and unimportant terms.

A low-hit term varies from industry to industry. For some industries anything that receives less than 10,000 searches in a 24 hour period is low hit, while for others low-hit is any term that produces less than 10 searches in the same period. Remember some industries just get more traffic (compare traffic to adult sites, with traffic to just about any other industry and you’ll understand). If possible, stay away from terms that get searched less than 15 times in a 24 hour period. These terms are more subject to fads than any other, meaning a term searched 15 times today may not be searched at all next week.

Regarding unimportant terms; ask yourself if the 10 least important search terms on your list are just as worthy of a top ranking as your 10 most important search terms? The least important terms tend to be less competitive and therefore more likely to get listed first. You can easily achieve all of the guaranteed listings on these ‘unimportant’ terms if you leave them in the list.

Step 6: Save the keyword list.

You now have a comprehensive list of all the terms good for promotion. At this point you may choose to promote all or some of them. Either way, keep this list for future reference and refer back to it as you begin to expand your promotion activities.

Good keyword research is very often time consuming. And as important as it is it is usually overlooked in the promotion process. One of the best tools we have found for keyword research is WordTracker . This tool allows you not only to find how often a particular term is search but will also assist in finding additional terms related to what your site offers.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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