VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 7 POSTED ON: 8/9/2011
Keyword Research: Secrets the Pros Didn't Wish You Knew Keywords are a fundamental part of any online strategy for driving traffic, because they're the primary tools of the search engines. So a good working understanding of keyword terms is essential to any successful online business venture. In this section we will explain what keywords are - both high volume and long tail keywords - as well as how proper use of them impacts your online business. Finally, we'll demonstrate how to do effective keyword research using two free tools. When a person goes to Google looking for something (or to Yahoo or MSN) what do they do? They type some words into the search box. These words that they type in are called keywords. Let's say a student is doing a report about algae. They go to google and type "algae." "Algae" is therefore a keyword. But let's say the student, after typing algae, gets back 12 million results - way too many to deal with, and many of them not at all useful. So they decide to narrow their search. Now they type in "salt water algae in the Mediterranean." This now is what is called a long tail keyword. Basically, that means a string of words that narrows down a subject, as opposed to a single word that returns an extremely broad range of content. This long tail keyword search returns only about 68,000 results for the student - a much more manageable number. And if they are in fact looking for information about this type of algae, these are going to be much more useful results. The student is much more likely to read the article or watch the video or in some way interact with the content they get back as the result of this search. So if you were in the algae business - specifically the Mediterranean salt water algae business - you'd love to have this student check out your stuff. And, your goal would be to show up in the top 10 results on Google for his long tail keyword search. But if your business only dealt with Great Lakes freshwater algae, then this student wouldn't be of so much use to you. Nor would you be interested in ranking for either one of his searches: "algae" or "salt water algae in the Mediterranean." Is this keyword stuff beginning to make sense? Good, because I'm about to kick it up a notch. These two keywords - "algae" and "salt water algae in the Mediterranean" - are what we call non-commercial intent searches. In other words, the person who is typing this keyword phrase isn't looking to buy something (not likely anyway). It's a student doing research, like in our example, or it's a bored person looking for a funny/gross video, or it's an eighth grader wanting help with his "algebra" homework and he's a really bad typist so instead of "algebra" he searched for "algae". Unfortunately for you - since you're in the business of selling Mediterranean algae - about 85% of all internet searches have low commercial intent (in all industries - not just the algae business). In other words, only about 15% of the time is the person doing the Google search sitting there with a credit card in his hand. So your goal, as a business owner, is to focus on the 15% of internet searches that are likely to result in a sale. Before we explain why, we will say that there is a theory that a big chunk of the 85% of non-commercial searches are "pre-purchase" searches. In other words, they're people who aren't buying today, but who are likely to buy in a month, or in six months. This theory goes that if you form relationships with those searchers, then you can actually shape their perception of the market by communicating with them during their investigation phase, and thereby solidify your position as the person they come to when it is time to buy. It's a theory that has some merit - but nonetheless, for our purposes we're going to be focusing on the 15% of searches with high commercial intent. So do that, I'm going to show you how to use a couple of free sources for your keyword research. The first is Google’s Keyword Research Tool. The second, and probably less well known, tool is Microsoft’s Online Commercial Intent Tool. Start with Google's Keyword Research tool. https://adwords.google.com/select/ KeywordToolExternal It's a very simple page, as you can see here. But like many simple things, it is deceptively powerful. (If you're looking for something even simpler, look for the tutorial video that explains Google's Wonder Wheel) You have two choices for how to search for keywords with this tool. You can either enter a keyword or phrase, such as algae, or you can enter the URL of a website. Let's look first at the keyword phrase option by typing in the keyword phrase "mediterranean algae." (Make sure you complete the captcha - the letters in red) The google keyword research tool will then return results of the keywords that users actually enter into the google search area when they go to google.com and they're searching for keywords that are very close to what we originally entered. This is huge!!! Our results are sorted into several columns: • "Keywords related to term entered." Here, Google is just doing some of our thinking for us. Google knows that our next step might be to do research on some closely related terms - so they beat us to the punch and give us the results for a list of related terms, instead of just the one we asked for. • Advertiser competition. This column is telling us how relatively stiff the competition is for this particular keyword. Keywords with high competition (the boxes with the most blue space filled in) are good - it means that those are keywords that are putting money in lots of people's pockets. It's kinda like if you wanted to open a burger joint. Would you go to the barren stretch of highway, or to the busiest corner with 3 other fast food places? • Local Search Volume. This tells us how many times this particular keyword was searched for last month. In other words, how popular is it? How many people are interested in this topic? • Global Monthly Search Volume. This is the average number of searches, by month, over the last year - worldwide. • The last column, "Add," is nifty - it allows you to export these terms to a spreadsheet so you can study them later. The main thing we discover from this particular search is that "Mediterranean algae" is not something that very many people are interested in! There are no advertisers competing for any of these terms (all the boxes are empty white), and there's not enough data to tell us the search volume. But Google, being the helpful souls that hey are, gives us a hand. There is a second section of results called "Additional keywords to consider," below the first section of results. Basically google is saying, "Well if you're really stuck on this algae thing, here's some other terms that are a bit better." Now we can see that there are some advertisers competing for some algae-related terms; and we can also see that while "algae" got inquiries from 673,000 people last month, none of the other terms are comparatively very popular at all. This doesn't mean they are bad keywords, however. All that it means is that more people searched for something else. And while theoretically, more people are better - that also generally means greater competition. To explain this further, and how it might apply to your business, let's look at the term "algae fix," with its 1300 search volume. That sounds to me like something I'd type in if I had an algae problem I needed to fix! And people with problems that need fixing are usually people willing to spend money. If you were in the algae-problem-fixing business, would you settle for 1300 new customers per month? I bet you would. But to confirm whether this would be a good term or not - in other words, whether these 1300 searchers are potential new customers or not - we want to use our second free keyword tool, The Online Commercial Intent Tool or OCI. http://adlab.microsoft.com/ Online-Commercial-Intention/ This tool helps you determine the keyword phrases that people use when they are ready to buy. Just like google's tool, the OCI gives you the opportunity to do a search based upon a webpage URL or a keyword phrase (what they call a query). So we type in our chosen keyword phrase, "algae fix," select the radio button for query and click go. Sure enough, the commercial intent for the term "algae fix" is .92 [need arrow] - meaning that 92% of the searches for this term are likely to be someone who is looking to buy. So if you're in the business of fixing algae problems, this would be a great keyword for you to build into your online traffic generation strategy. Do you understand why? [what if the answer is no? what call to action do we give them?] Great! So now that you understand the theory let's create a list of action steps. 1. Come up with a list of 3 keywords, just off the top of your head, that you think a buyer of your product would be searching for on Google. 2. One at a time, enter these keywords into google's keyword tool. 3. Select the keywords that you would like to investigate further - you're going for the keywords with good advertiser competition, and which you think sound like buying terms. (You're starting with your own intuition, and confirming or denying with the OCI tool). They could be terms with either low or high search volume, as we've already discussed. 4. One at a time, enter these keywords into the OCI tool. 5. Based on these results, make a list, in order from highest commercial intent to lowest, of these search terms. You can omit any with lower than 60% commercial intent. 6. These keywords are now the starting point - the topic sentence, if you will - for your blog posts! So we've just learned how effective keyword research can tell you what you should be blogging about. In other words, the topics of your blog posts can (and should) come from your keyword research. However, there's another use for keyword research. And that is to generate tags for the promotional articles you're going to write. For every blog post you write, you should write at least one promotional article and submit it to the article directories. These article directories will send traffic back to your blog post - but you can help this process along by selecting effective keywords. Remember that the point of all this activity is to sell stuff. And online, the way you sell stuff is with something called a sales letter. A sales letter is (Are you wondering about the option on these two keyword tools to search by website URL? That's coming up in another section) Google Keyword Tool Type in the primary keyword that you want to search. This gives you a list of tons of long tail keywords based upon your initial search • how do I keep track of keywords and their traffic results, when I search them in a search tool? click on phrase match in the drop-down box on the right-hand side over the results so many people go after the top phrases on top Now type the longer-tail keyword up above, uncheck "synonym" and push button again
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