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Many businesses recognize that search engines can bring volumes of highly targeted prospects to their website, typically at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. Unfortunately, these same companies often overlook the most important part of their search engine marketing campaigns, which is keyphrase selection and evaluation.
Keyphrases (those phrases that potential customers are using to find products or services on search engines) are the building block of any search engine marketing strategy. It is essential that they are chosen carefully, or else the remainder of the campaign, no matter how effective the implementation, will likely be in vain. What follows is a three-step process that goes over the process of compiling, selecting, and evaluating the ongoing performance of keyphrases for search engines.
1. Compiling a Keyphrase List: Usually, companies are sure that they already know their ideal keyphrases. Often, they are wrong. This is typically because it is very hard to separate oneself from a business and look at it from the perspective of a potential customer (rather than an insider). Compiling a keyphrase list should not be, despite common practice, a strictly internal process.
Rather, it is best to ask everyone outside of your company for their input, especially your customers. People are often very surprised at the keyphrase suggestions they get - and sometimes dismayed to realize that an average customer doesn't speak the same language that they do. Only after you have put together a list of likely phrases from external sources do you add your own. As a last step, try to add variations, plurals, and derivatives of the phrases on your list.
2. Evaluating Keyphrases: Once you have compiled a master keyphrase list, it is time to evaluate each phrase to hone your list down to those most likely to bring you the highest amount of quality traffic. Although many individuals will base their assessment of keyphrase value based only on popularity figures, there are really three vitally important aspects of each phrase to consider.
3. Evaluating Keyphrase Performance: Until recently, judging the performance of individual keyphrases was a dicey proposition. Although it is possible to tell from your log traffic analysis how many visitors are getting to your site from each keyphrase (valuable information, but unfortunately not enough to do much with), it was very hard to decipher which phrases were bringing you the most quality traffic.
Recently, however, some sophisticated but affordable tools have been developed that allow you to judge the performance of each individual keyphrase based upon visitor behavior. This new software makes it possible to periodically analyze which keyphrases are bringing your site the most valuable visitors - those who buy your products, fill out your contact form, download your demo, etc.
This type of data, rather than the sheer number of visitors from each search phrase alone, is invaluable when you are refining your search engine marketing campaigns, since you can discard and replace non-performing keyphrases and put increased effort toward the phrases that are delivering visitors that become customers. This kind of ongoing analysis is the final piece of the keyphrase puzzle, and allows you to continually target the most important phrases for your industry, even if they change over time.
Conclusion: Keyphrase compilation, evaluation, and performance are all vitally important to any search engine marketing campaign. While high rankings in search engines are an admirable goal, high rankings for poor keyphrases will consistently deliver poor results. Integration of this keyphrase process into your overall search engine marketing strategy can dramatically improve your website performance (and thus your bottom line).
Copyright © - Scott Buresh. - Reprinted with permission.
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