Thursday, April 9, 2009

Selection of Keywords – The second step

Once you know the purpose of the website well, selection of keywords becomes much easier and accurate.

By accuracy I do not mean just the most obvious/generic words, but also, the words accurate enough to get traffic to your website.

Let me first familiarize you with the concept of ‘Long Tail Keywords’:

If you plot the keywords that visitors have used to land on your website (which the analytics tool from google can provide) against the number of searches, you will get something like the graph below:

As you would notice, the ‘traffic per keyword’ in the head is around 7-8 times (or maybe more) of the tail e.g. 10 Head keywords would give as much traffic as probably 100 Tail keywords.

Across all websites, there would be a long tail which would primarily consist of much focused or specific searches.

Depending upon the popularity of the website, the length of the head and tail would vary.

If your company is well known and brands are popular, there are chances that the head would consist of the brand name or company name with most visitors having a popular/generic search.

But if you are a fairly new kid on the block, there are chances the searches would not be directed to your website in particular in which case, there would be a very long tail of specifics!!

Selection of keywords would depend a lot on the popularity of the website and the type of business you are in.

New Kid

If you are a new company, it would require a lot of brainstorming to prepare a list of keywords that a visitor could search for. Once a list is prepared, a re-look and re-re-look would help to finalize it.

Mostly, the popular words would have a lot of competition and hence, it would make more sense to pick up slightly lesser used keywords or should I say ‘more specific keywords’ (the tail!!).

  • The brown colored box gives the choice of columns you would want displayed:

    o Advertiser Competition: Tells you how competitive is the ad placement for that keyword.
    o Approx. search volume (for the most recent month): The number of search queries for that particular keyword for the most recent month
    o Approx. avg search volume: Average monthly number of search queries matching the keyword specified.
    o Search Vol trends: Graphic representation of search trends over 12 month pd.
    o Highest vol occurred in: Gives the month in which the searches for that particular keyword were the max.
    o Estimated avg. CPC: Gives the avg. cost each time a user clicks on the particular keyword
The pink box above gives the keywords that have been selected by the software and the numbers next to each keyword are the number of keyword ‘ideas’ that have been provided for that keyword group (shown below):

  • Once a list is prepared, brainstorm with colleagues and friends as to the different keywords that have a chance of being used by visitors. The list grows bigger.
  • Next is an important task of narrowing these down to the relevant ones:

    A look at the data would tell you that ‘search engine optimization’ as a keyword has 5,50,000 searches for the period of march alone. While this keyword seems like the most popular one, it is also very generic and would end up generating lots of results. It would not be possible for a relatively newer company to counter this kind of competition.

    Another look would give you keywords/phrases like search engine optimization service, search engine optimization software, search engine optimization for dummies, affordable search engine optimization…

    These words/phrases are more specific and towards the ‘tail’ of the search!

    So, it makes more sense for the younger/newer companies and those with a niche category to go for the ‘tail’ keywords/phrases.

    Now lets look at the oldies!!

The Oldies

Well…as they say. OLD IS GOLD!! These companies would be more popular ones with their brand names and company name in the ‘Head’ keywords.

Once you subscribe your website to, you would be able to view the source of visitors to your website. There are other tools available as well like omniture and webtrends.

In the example here, 75% of the traffic to the website comes through the search engines while 13% is direct and 12% through other referring sites.

A deep dig into this data would give us the following:

The brown box shows the keywords that were searched before being directed to the website.

Mostly, these would have their company name or brand names in the ‘head’ i.e. giving them the most traffic per keyword. While these keywords are important, a strong brand should be able to capture the unbranded search traffic as well too.

Ideally, the traffic drawn by the head vs the tail should be 40:60. However, as per researches conducted, most of the companies have this ratio close to 90:10!!

For each visitor that is a part of the head, there are 40 visitors in the tail. That’s the amount of traffic you are missing by not giving importance to the tail.
Also, having a long tail can result in a higher number of pages of website viewed by the visitors.

Let’s get slightly deeper into this…

The keywords that feature in the ‘Head’ are primarily the brand names or product names which goes to show that the visitors who use these keywords to locate you, know you…know that you exit and know what you do!

However, the ones who lie it the tail, know what they want but do not know that you exit and you can provide them what they need and hence, this part of the world called prospects are difficult to obtain and need more of your sweat and money to become your customers!! After all they are the ones who would grow your business.

So how do you tap into these?

Google offers a tool called Search Based Keyword Tool (SbKT). A snapshot of the same is given below:

Once you do that, what you get is:

(This is just some random website in picked up)

This page gives you the recommended keywords (blue box) and the number of searches that happened for the keyword in the last month we have data for (red box).
Next, it also gives the competition for that word (green Box) which can be categorized as high, medium and low and the suggested bid (the plum box).

Again, if you are an adwords member, ad/search share would provide you how many times your website appeared in the first page.

The last column (yellow) gives the webpage of the website that is most relevant to that keyword i.e. which page should be your landing page for that keyword.

Finally, you have a long list of keywords (especially if you have an adwords account). Select the long tail keywords and bid on them basis the budget you have.

There are many additional features on SbKT that would help you refine your search basis the amount you have to place a bid, the required level of competition for a keyword, ad share, search share etc…(Explore the tool!!!)

Hence, a well designed SEO would take care of the Head keywords and any visitor aware of you or searching for your brand name would land on your page automatically!! You don’t need to pay for that!! After all you have spent enough building a good brand name…

The Tail keywords can be bid upon … don’t miss them. They are important and would get you new traffic and prospects that would help you expand your business.

No comments:

Post a Comment