Friday, 9 September 2016

3 Simple Ways to Multiply Keyword Effectiveness: Immediately!

A big part of my philosophy for strategic keyword management centres around three core activities:

  • Knowing how people become aware of your site;
  • Tracking how many of them actually visit your site;
  • Observing what they do whet they get there.

Retailers who have primarily a bricks and mortar establishment can substitute "site" for "shop", "salon", "showroom", "office", and so on. The principle is the same; this isn't about pure SEO.

So, why are these three aspects of keyword research so important?

Keywords Help People to Find You

It doesn't matter whether you are the author of a book, a web site owner, or run a seaside café, people find you because they have needs or desires.

They will express those needs and desires in keywords; whether they want to ask someone in the street, or search online.

Someone who is looking for a latté in Bournemouth is going to be a lot more interested in a café that has a big sign in the window saying "Best Latté in Bournemouth or Your Money Back!" than one offering "Cut Price Cream Teas for Students".

It's the same online.

When someone performs a query, they're only going to click on a site that appears to confirm their needs or desires through the use of keywords. Not just the keywords they type, by the way, but also those that make one sit more attractive than another.

Knowing what keywords people have used to find your site (whether they've clicked through or not) is useful. It's also a measurable statistic provided by the Search Console, and also, via integration with SC, in StatCounter.com (although they still call it GWT!)

And, this metric is also useful offline: just ask customers how they found you, and from that you'll quickly work out what internal keywords they had in their minds when they made the decision to choose your establishment compared to the others on the high street.

Doing this analysis -- and acting on the results -- takes you from merely advertising, to attracting.

Measuring Attraction Helps Build a Better Campaign


Once you know which keywords are getting you visibility, you need to know which of them are also getting you visitors, or better still, customers.

Typically, a keyword campaign can have one of several goals:
  • building awareness;
  • attracting new customers;
  • re-attracting existing customers;
In the first case, all you want to know is whether your brand is getting seen. Search engines are making that a lot easier these days by including extracts from the landing page associated with a keyword alongside the result.

Managing that meta-data is a vital part of SEO.

The second case is linked to actions. You need to know, having gained awareness, which conjunction of keywords and search entry lead to action. That means putting non-active keywords in the meta-data so that it is displayed.

A non-active keyword is one that is not part of the keyword phrase which defines the primary motive for a search user: for example, the query "latté bournemouth" will return a page of results, and if one of the displayed meta-data snippets contains the word 'free', that café may well find the attract more custom, but "free" is not an active keyword.

The resulting campaign may well be a combination of the active and non-active keywords, for example, a PPC campaign using the keyword phrase 'free latté bournemouth'. 

(I'm not saying that's necessarily an example that will work in the real world, by the way, but if you go through the motions, the result may well be positive!)

Finally, using trackable keyword phrases in your re-activation campaigns also helps to improve them; re-attracting customers by email or physical mailing is much easier if you have researched the keywords that your target market uses to find your competitors.

All of these work online as well as offline. Offline measurement methods just tend to be a bit more involved. Offline or not, however, measuring the behaviour that stems from a simple customer visit provides the best measure of how effective a keyword campaign has been.

Behavioural Analysis Measures the Effectiveness of Keywords


There used to be -- actually, I still use a variation -- a measure called KEI. This stands for Keyword Effectiveness Index, and was supposed to represent the relative ease with which it was possible to score highly in the SERPs.

It was a simple measure: all it really did was manipulate the anticipated volume and number of competing sites to try and gauge your chances of hitting the top 10.

Here's a funny anecdote, though.

On one of my own sites that I use for researching strategies, I have a highly effective keyword that isn't in the top 10. It's barely in the top 100. And, in terms of the CTR alone, it's reasonably effective:
What's more, as you can see from the screen shot, it's also not an isolated case; there's one right next to it with a similarly impressive CTR.

When I dig into the "Visitor Activity" log provided by StatCounter.com, I can see that, for the target market, these queries both have above average engagement based on the landing page:

  • higher visit time
  • more pages viewed
  • repeat visits

This view is derived from knowing which page a visitor is likely to land on as a result of the query (by conducting a live query) and reviewing the Visitor Activity for that URL.

Expanding the search to related pages confirms that this query is more effective than many that appear nearer the top of the SERPs. That is, for the pages that are also returned as a result (but even lower down the SERPs) they also show high levels of engagement and conversion.

This is part of the attraction of the so-called long tail, of course. More specific pages with highly niche information that don't necessarily attract the most traffic are quite often the most effective when measured in terms unrelated to pure volume and cost.

Bigger, as they say, is not always better.

For a solid, step by step approach to keyword research that has consistently proven to be unaffected by algorithm changes, download the Keyword Research Blueprint!