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Effective Keyword Targeting is the Foundation for a Successful Optimization Campaign

Professional Keyword Research is the foundation of any effective search engine ranking strategy. If you are not targeting the correct keyword phrases, you will fall into one of three categories:

1) Your keywords are too competitive and top rankings are dominated by highly authoritative sites, therefore top rankings will take years to achieve,

2) You will achieve top rankings and generate traffic to your site, but due to not targeting your audience correctly, your sales will be dismal, or

3) You will achieve top rankings but receive very little traffic due to lack of key phrase search volume. With proper keyword selection you will fall into a fourth category: You will achieve top rankings for targeted key phrases that produce substantial traffic, increased sales and long-term customers.

Effective Keyword Targeting is the Foundation for a Successful Optimization Campaign

How do you go about finding the right phrases to put you into that important fourth category? The answer is research and careful selection of your keyword phrases. Pole Position Web provides targeted keyword research and selection assistance with our targeted keyword, and ecommerce optimization strategies. We offer ongoing consultations at no extra cost to help select the most relevant terms thus driving the greatest amount of targeted traffic to your site.

The graphic below shows the balancing act that must take place for proper keyword selection.

Single-Word Search Terms

Many people think that if they can produce mass quantities of traffic, this is all they will need to produce sales. The word they usually use to justify this approach is “exposure.” Going after single-word phrases can generate excessive traffic, unfortunately, lots of traffic, in and of itself, does not necessarily produce quantifiable sales.

Let’s create an illustration of an airplane mechanic who wants to set up shop to sell his services. He decides the local mall will be the place to produce the largest amount of traffic. He wants lots of exposure for his new business, and knows the mall will provide plenty of people walking by.

First, the mechanic has the tremendous job of convincing the mall manager that this mall is the place for him. Through much convincing and gathering of special permits, he finally manages to get permission. Now he must build an airport hanger at the mall to house the airplanes that he will be repairing and arrange for the transportation of the aircraft from the airport to the mall and back. Finally, the mechanic is ready to open up the doors to his new shop, only to find that sales of his service are minimal to nonexistent.

While not a perfect analogy, you’ll find that optimization for single-word search phrases holds some of the same pitfalls:

1) Time and Effort: Single-word search phrases are extremely difficult to get ranked. Most of the time they require a lot of heavy lifting and what I call “foundation laying” before they will even break the top 100. Obviously this varies from industry to industry, but overall most experts will tell you to stay away from single word terms until your site has been established as an “authority.” Only then should you invest the time and money to target such terms.

2) Audience Targeting: Single words do not do an adequate job of targeting your audience. You can find yourself wasting valuable time and money working to get these keywords ranked, when you could have gone after more targeted terms that would have brought a more immediate return on your investment.

Everybody would like to have a site that generates a lot of hits, but if those hits are not quality, quantity will not compensate for the lack of sales achieved. You, like the airport mechanic, will soon find your investment has provided very little return.

Many-Keyword Search Phrases

The other extreme is to go after terms that are “overly” targeted. While multiple word phrases can be ranked much more quickly, you can find that you have targeted yourself out of any traffic at all. Let’s go back to the illustration of the airplane mechanic. Intent on not making the same mistake twice, the mechanic decides he will find his target audience and set up shop there.

This time he chooses to set up his shop at the end of the runway at the airport. The problem here, he quickly finds, is that airplanes do not often drive out to the end of the runway for repairs. The mechanic notices that he is hired almost 100% of the time when an airplane breaks down at the end of the runway. Unfortunately for him, the number of times this actually occurs is very, very few. While the mechanic has targeted his audience specifically, he has targeted too specifically, producing very little traffic to produce any sustainable sales.

Targeting too many words in your search phrases brings the same result. The timeframe to achieve top rankings for these phrases is quick and the hit per sale ratio is usually pretty high, however the difficulty is getting the hits to begin with. In this case the primary pitfall is:

Few Hits = Few Sales: Over targeting your keywords can produce quick search rankings. However, by doing this, only a small amount of traffic will be brought to the site, which in turn, fails to produce sustainable sales. The traffic that comes by is very likely to be buyers, but the actual numbers are virtually nonexistent. Again, return on investment is poor.

Multiple-Word Search Phrases

Since return on investment is what makes any business stay viable, you need to find a balance between single- and many- word search phrases. And this is the most difficult part of keyword selection–finding that correct balance.

In most, but not all, cases three- and four- keyword search phrases are usually the right balance between targeting your audience and obtaining quantifiable traffic that produces sales. For our airplane mechanic, the best place for him to set up shop is at the airport , but in a place easily accessible to all planes in need of repair. This is “the place” where the owners of the aircraft are likely to spot the shop and be able to easily taxi their aircraft over and leave it out of harms way. This is where the mechanic will find a substantial return on his investment.

For businesses looking to increase their ROI, a balance must be found that will target the appropriate audience while bringing in a sustainable amount of traffic and produce quantifiable sales.

Our optimization specialists take great care in the keyword selection process. By fully researching your industry and finding all potential variations of potential keyword phrases, we are able to put together not only a comprehensive list of possible targets, we also provide a comprehensive lists of recommendations for an optimization campaign that will boost your ROI.

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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