On average, about 75% of consumer pre-purchase search is done by using generic terms. According to the research by DoubleClick and ComScore Networks, only 18.1% – 28.5% of consumers searched for brand names. What comes to B2B, 64%of B2B decision makers use search engine as their 1st source of information before buying decision, reveals the research by Marketing Sherpa. Out of these remaining 36%, 87% claimed they use search engine at some point before the final decision. These figures show the importance of a right SEO&SEM strategy, yet sometimes the results are not as good as we expected. What went wrong?
Check your plan and see if you have followed these steps while creating your SEO campaign:
- Keyword Selection: keywords should be analyzed and chosen based on popularity, competitiveness, current ranking, referral, performance and relevance
- Search Engine Inclusion: make sure your website is indexed properly by the major search engines. It is a prerequisite to optimizing page content for keyword rankings
- Keyword-driven Optimization: once your site is indexed, web page attributes can be changed to increase the ranking they have in the organic search engines
- Inbound link Development: increasing the number of websites that link to your website can help increase the organic rankings for these pages
If the answer is yes and the results still do not correspond your expectations, go back to step one: check your keywords.
One of the most basic errors in SEO is to use too generic key words. When a keyword or a phrase has too large search volume, it means that the amount of other advertisers who compete for these words is too large as well. It means that if you do nothing to reduce the number of your competitors, your search engine results will never be well positioned. And if you do, you will need to pay too much per click. Surely not good for your business. It is necessary to find other ways (=words) to reach the target. Time to be more specific.
To identify the most effective keywords, consider the following:
- What language are your customers using to search? Use clients’ / your targets’ language, not yours. Are they teenagers, technical professionals, doctors…? Their normal vocabulary can be very different from yours.
- Have you selected keywords that match your website themes? If not, does your website need new content to match the keyword intelligence you’ve gathered?
- Do your keywords match the buying cycle of your customers? (Information gathering, product/service research, product/service comparison (keyword=compare), Product/service purchase (keyword=buy)
- What are the main advantages of your product/service?
- Are you targeting your specific products or services? Are you targeting your specific industry?
- How the customer is searching?
Victor Perez Acosta has some great practical examples on this subject in his article “Claves para encontrar las keywords adecuadas”. For example, to make sure your keywords are not too generic you can verify the popularity and the competition you will have by simply googling/yahooing/msning the keyword you want to use. That means, imagine that you have 5 key phrases that interest you. Make a table with 3 columns. In the first one put the keywords/phrases you would like to add, in the second one the approximate search volume (you can obtain it by free tools such as inventory.ouverture.com, keyword discovery, Google Adwords) and in the third column the quantity of the pages that show up in the search result. This way you can graphically see which terms suit you best. The aim is to calculate the Keyword Effectiveness Index by comparing the search volume with the quantity of the available pages coming out in the search results.
KEI: divide the quantity of monthly searches by the quantity of available pages.
Imagine that you compare two key phrases, A and B. A has a monthly search volume of 500 and 20.000 pages show up in the search results with this key phrase. So, the KEI is 500/20.000 = 0.025. On the other hand, the phrase B has a monthly search volume of 300, but only 1.500 pages show up in the list when you are searching with this phrase. The search volume is smaller, but the KEI is bigger: 300/1.500 = 0.20 (smaller search volume, generating 8 times stronger effectiveness, since the key phrase does not have much competitors.
However, KEI is an index that depends a lot about your priorities: think if you want to give more importance on search volume or the competitors you will encounter. Depending on your decision, you can simply add the importance factor to the calculation.
Very important thing to remember is to use the country specific keywords. Use always the country specific (whether it is UK, France, Spain, Finland) search engine to measure the popularity of the keyword, quantity of competition and your current results in that country. Track your rankings in the correct country: ranking you get in Italy with the keywords is not the same you get in the German website. It might sound obvious, but it is very many times forgotten.
With a little bit of analysis we can make great changes what comes to the selection of key words or phrases. Measure the current situation and ranking, use more specific keywords for a month and measure the results. These changes are likely to increase ROI and the CTR, good luck!