If you want your website to actually help attract new customers then it needs to rank highly in the search engines – this is pretty-much accepted by anyone wanting to do business online. However, the choice of which phrases or ‘keywords’ that business owners can often be misguided as they target keywords that won’t actually help them attract buyers.
The problem with using the most obvious keywords
Let’s imagine you run a business selling widgets. You’d probably imagine that chasing the top positions in the search engines like Google for the keyword ‘widgets’ is an obvious strategy. Well, there are two good reasons why this might not necessarily be your best strategy:
- Single keywords are notoriously difficult to gain top three ranking for because not only do you have your commercial competition but you’re almost certainly going to be competing against information pages from the Government, Wikipedia and other respected authority websites. Trying to outrank these websites for ‘informational’ keywords can be done but it’s a long-term project and can therefore be expensive.
- Single keywords offer high traffic but low conversion rates. In the on-line buying process, consumers tend to start-off with a single keyword for general research before narrowing down their search once they’ve established precisely what they’re looking for. An example might be:
TV’s >>> LCD TV’s >>> Samsung LCD TV’s >>> Samsung D5000 Series LCD TV
In the example above, the consumer starts off in ‘research mode’ where they’re not looking to buy a TV, they’re simply looking to gain an understanding of what TV would best suit their needs. By their fourth search, they use what we call a long-tail keyword because they’re now in ‘buying mode’ – they know what they want and now they want to find the best place to buy it.
Whilst the phrase ‘TV’s’ might offer the largest volume of traffic, it does not necessarily mean it’s going to help you gain more customers for a website selling TV’s.
We’ve see examples of websites where the owner has (generally for vanity purposes) obsessed about ranking for a single, informational keyword and when they’ve finally secured a top-3 position, seen a spike in traffic but only a marginal increase in orders which didn’t even cover the cost of the SEO to gain the top-3 rank. Conversely, we work with Clients who secure 90% of their traffic from keywords that are far from obvious but convert incredibly well because they target consumers when they’re in buying mode rather than research mode.
Think like a buyer
When you decide on which keywords to target for your website, it’s important that you think like a buyer. What phrases would somebody in buying mode be likely to enter into a search engine? In some cases, simply prefixing your primary keyword with a buying word can do the trick, such as ‘buy widgets’, ‘cheap widget supplier’, etc.
However, there is an awful lot of traffic available for long-tail keywords and your website pages should be optimised to target these phrases too. For example, ‘widget supplier in Surrey’, ‘where to buy widgets’, ‘cheapest site for Blue widgets’, etc, etc.
Where to find the best buyer keywords
The best place to identify buyer keywords is actually your own analytical data. If your website uses Google Analytics or a similar visitor tracking system then you’ll probably find that it contains some real gems. By looking at this data carefully, you’ll be able to ascertain what keywords your visitors used and if you’ve set-up conversion data, which of those keywords actually resulted in sales.
If you’re not using analytics (tut tut) then there are ways to gain this data but you’ll need to speak to an SEO company who will be able to help you identify suitable keywords. Of course you can also get in touch with us by using the form on the right or giving us a call.