SEO: Discover the Number One Missed Step

SEO: Why do it?

You probably rely on your website to generate qualified leads and perhaps even sales. (Or, if you don’t, you’d like to!)  That’s because you realize it’s easier to convert people who are looking for your product or service than to chase after someone whose focus is on something completely different.

Interruption marketing, such as cold calling in the middle of the family dinner, or advertising that breaks up a favorite TV show, has given way to inbound marketing through websites.

And that means one thing. Your website has to star at the top of the search engine rankings when your prospects type keywords related to your product or service category into the search on Google, Yahoo or Bing.

Why Not Use Pay Per Click Ads?

You could use Google AdWords to assure your position on the first page of the Google rankings. But there are a couple of problems with this.

First, most people know the difference between a Google ad and a natural, or ‘organic’ search result. And studies show that 70% of the time Internet browsers click on websites that appear organically. Also, research shows the majority of web browsers say they don’t trust paid listings. So you’re paying for something that already has a credibility issue.

Second, who wants to pay month after month to advertise when your website can appear naturally with a little knowledge and effort?

Discover the Golden Nugget Keywords

Today’s topic is the sadly forgotten, incredibly important task of keyword research.

When business people decide to optimize their websites many want to make it happen immediately. Often, they’re so impatient to get going that they don’t do the upfront work that’s going to save them time in the long run and lead to better results. It’s like setting out on the road to a new destination without a map or GPS.

They say something like “This is a marketing company so we’d like to appear on page one of Google for ‘marketing’.” And off they go to optimize their website.

The Four Questions to Ask Before Picking Your Keyword Phrases

1. Is your keyword or keyword phrase relevant?

Whatever the keyword you’re thinking of using, if it’s one your prospects use as well, they are probably typing it into the search engines. Are your prospects using this keyword? If you answer a yes to this question then you’ve cleared the first hurdle.

2. Does the chosen keyword generate traffic?

I go into the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to check this out. Just type in the keyword or keyword phrase you’re considering and see how many monthly searches there are. There are about 30.4 million searches a month for ‘marketing’ so it’s still sounding pretty good. Over hurdle number two.

3. Is this a battle we can win?

To figure out if you can win the battle you need to look at the number and strength of the other websites that are competing to climb in the rankings for this keyword.

How many competitors are there for the keyword?

To check out the number of competitors you can go to Google and type in your keyword. When I type in ‘marketing’ it gives me more than 2.4 billion results. All of a sudden I’m starting to think twice about this keyword.

This is when I start to think maybe I should add another word and make it a keyword phrase. There are two advantages to this. First the more words you use, the less competition. Second, and this is the really cool part, the more likely your web visitor is to convert to a client or customer. Why? Because they used a more specific phrase which is likely to generate a more relevant result. And what are you really looking for—traffic or conversions?

How Strong is the Competition?

So let’s suppose you’ve discovered a keyword phrase that is relevant, generates traffic and is not up against too many competitors. Now you want to look at the strength of the top competitors. I do this with software called Market Samurai. (Actually I do much of the above with Market Samurai—it’s a good investment).

You look at the top ranked websites and see how many back links they have, whether the keyword phrase is in their URL, title and description, whether they’re listed in DMOZ and Yahoo directories, and how many pages are on their website. You are going to have to compete with all these factors as well as create keyword rich copy and a website that’s friendly to the search engines.

Only after you’ve done all this research can you determine if it’s a battle you can win.

4. Is the keyword phrase profitable?

To determine keyword-phrase profitability, look at what businesses are paying to Google for the number 1 AdWord position. Whatever the cost per click is you can assume that it has been determined fairly on an open market. So that’s how valuable it is to have a click through on that keyword. Since the listing that comes top typically gets 42% of the traffic, this advertiser can expect 42% of the keyword phrase searchers to click through to their website. So, take 42% of the traffic for a keyword phrase, multiply it by the price for the Google AdWord and you’ve got the value of being number one for the phrase.

Bottom Line

Don’t start optimizing your website for a keyword phrase until you’ve determined that it’s relevant, profitable and you have the strength to compete for a first-page ranking on Google.

If you need help with search engine optimization and keyword research, call Carolyn Frith Marketing now at 610-340-0622 for your free 30-minute, no-obligation consultation or email


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