Choosing Effective Keywords
When you are trying to select the best keywords you might run into problems. It is possible that your keywords that you have selected are not the optimal ones and are not bringing you enough traffic.
Sometimes keywords that work for a while stop working. That’s why it is really important to always develop the right keyword selection strategy and test the new keywords all the time.
Creating your keyword list
Selecting the optimal keywords that will bring you the most visitors, improve your conversion rate, and make your site visible in search engines might be a difficult task.
You must not give up, it takes time to proper test all the keywords.
First of all you have to make a keyword list. Put down your suggestion, and also ask your costumers what keywords they would use to find your site or services.
You might just start using all the keywords that are suggested by keyword suggestion tools. And you can use thesaurus to get additional keywords that you didn’t consider.
Get enough keywords to cover all your services and avoid using very generic keywords that are used on almost every site that is even remotely related to yours. These keywords are incredibly hard to rank and that is the reason you should avoid using them. Instead use the keywords that are relevant but not used on many competitors’ sites.
When you start with your keyword list write down all the keywords that you think of. Don’t think for now about keyword quality. Many people will think that is it so easy to select keywords for your PPC campaign.
This first keyword selection step might be easy, but it gets much harder when you research and qualify words and phrases, then use them in PPC campaign.
Your keyword list will not stay the same. Each time you add content, change your site or something changes in the field your site is in, you have to update your keyword list and test again. Keyword testing is an ongoing process.
Your competitors are constantly revising and monitoring their keywords and PPC strategies.
Keywords are what draw potential customers to your web site. These possible costumers are already ready to buy, or they might be just the potential costumers that you can motivate into making a purchase or reaching a conversion.
Forbidden search terms and poison words
When you’re creating your keyword lists, it’s important to know that some keywords will not bring you high quality visitors but will actually decrease your rankings or get your site removed from search listings.
These keywords are called forbidden search terms or poison keywords. These words will decrease your pages’ rankings if a search engine bot spot them in your site’s title, description or URL. These words can either decrease or demolish your pages in ranking.
There is no official list with these words, but as a rule all the curse and vulgar words are included. When you use these words in your site with the goal of improving your rankings, your site might get delisted or buried from search results.
Two types of words are known to cause problems for your site, if you are using them in your PPC campaign:
Politically incorrect words (they cause especially big problems in countries like North Korea and China, where many internet sites are simply censored).
So the list of these words does not exist because it includes too many words. Many words can be excluded or even flagged by a search engine because those words are associated with search engine spam.
When it becomes clear that a word is used specifically to rank higher, even if it is included on a page full of unrelated links or content, search engines will examine the relationship of this word or phrase with other words on a page before search engine will decide how to rank that page.
So as soon as search engines crack down on a word or phrase, another one pops up to take over. Some people are confusing poison words with keyword poison.
Keyword poison is a special term used to describe overuse of keywords on the page. When you are putting the page together you must use your keywords only as often as it is really necessary, and not more than that. If you are inserting keywords randomly into page, you are risking your site getting lower rankings then usual, in worse case, your site might be excluded from search engine index and marked as spam.
There is another group of words beside poison words called stop words. Stop words are words that are so common on the Web that they are in most cases ignored by search engines and are completely useless in your PPC campaign.
Here is a list of stop words:
For example the search term “the night lamp” is a clear example how search engines ignores the stop word the. So basically they see only “night lamp” without “the”. So that means common words, called stop words, are ignored when searches are performed.
Forecasting search volumes
When you have put together your keyword list, and narrowed it down, you have to focus on budget that will be spent for that PPC program.
One way to find out how much will you get for a set budget is to forecast search volumes. It means that a company can control its marketing expenditures by predicting the performance of your selected keywords and desired positions of those keywords. So company can find out the amount in sales for every amount that is invested.
You should also decide what rank will be the best for your PPC campaign. No.1 spot is the most expansive and usually not the best choice.
You will have to balance your keyword costs (visitor clicks) with thecost per acquisition (CPA).
So if it costs $3 to have your link in first slot you will get 33.3 clicks for $100. So settling with third position might cost you only $2 but you get 50 clicks for $100.
On the other hand if your ranking position goes down, also the number of visitors decreases. On average there is approx. 20 % difference between first and second ranking slots in SERPs.
So it means higher you rank, more traffic you will receive. So working with lower budget might be better to focus on lower spots in SERP. On the other hand if you have an unlimited budget, you should target the no.1 position that is also the most expensive one.
You have to ask yourself if ranking higher means more goal conversions. If not spending extra money from your budget is probably a waste of money.
Let me explain this in more details. If you are paying $3 per click for no.1 slot in rankings and you get 33.3 clicks for $100, but only 1 percent of those visitors purchase something from your site, your conversion rate is bad.
But if you focus on no.3 spot that costs $2 you get 50 clicks for $100, the conversion is better.
You can also focus on more specific keywords that are not so popular and cost for example only $1. In that case you get 100 clicks for $100 and the conversion rate is even bigger.
So you are doing better with no. 3 spot than no.1 spot.
For start make a 100-200 keyword / phrases list. Use various broad and specific keywords / phrases. Use keywords suggestion tool like Google Adwords to determine the click volume and cost per click for each of those keywords or phrases.
You can then easily estimate search volumes and the cost of those search volumes. Also you should focus on other metrics that will help you find out the real value and cost of keywords from your list.
Those additional metrics are:
Clicks per Month
Average Cost per Click (CPC)
Additional metrics will help you increasing your budget’s effectiveness that you invest in your PPC program.
Keywords with lower cost per click are less popular and are usually less expensive then the popular keywords. Use some of these keywords to increase your goal conversions, because you are investing smaller amount of budget for the same number of clicks. And specific keywords are usually more efficient for creating goal conversions.
You have to understand that all information from keyword suggestion tools are based on historical data. So there might be changes in CPC, CTR, clicks per month for each season, month.
Important elements that affect performance results are also sales, competition and landing pages.
This is just another reason you should always test and retest your PPC campaign and make it more efficient.
Keyword testing is the process where you examine keywords and how many searches they’re included in, as well as what the competition for those keywords / phrases is. Once you’ve finished that research, you start to use your keywords on your site very slowly, monitoring your sites traffic and goal conversions after each new keyword is added to the site.
Even if it’s time consuming, keyword testing has the potential to improve your PPC program results if you do it properly. When you are doing the research you are finding out what your most effective keywords are; then you can use those keywords to improve your rankings and impressions.
Before you start you should know what you are testing for. You should ask yourself if you are testing to see the effectiveness of your recent ad copy, or do you want to know how the landing pages are attracting and keeping your visitors.
If you are experiencing a lot of bounces on your landing pages, you may need to make your landing pages stickier. Another question might be are visitors reaching goal conversions or does your ad placement really make a difference?
Finalizing your keyword list
After all that research, creating and narrowing of your keywords, you can finally finalize your keyword list. It is time to use these keywords in your PPC program. You are ready to earn money. Finalizing your keywords list doesn’t mean that that list is final. As I said before the testing is an ongoing process, so new keywords can be added, old keywords might be removed etc.
The Long Tail Search
Long Tail of Search is a popular phrase that defines 3 – 5 word phrases that site visitors are using when trying to find appropriate site. Long Tail of Search are actually non competitive keywords and phrases that are more specific as usual 2 word phrases. They more precisely describe your product or service.
The concept of the Long Tail of Search means that average internet user begins any search with a very broad term or keyword. For example, if he is using American spa, that term is broad enough to return far too many results to be useful.
So using the Long Tail theory, that are more precise and less common keywords and phrases, is usually the most effective.
Usually an average product site gets traffic by several types of keywords and phrases:
Product names and brands
General keywords and phrases
Long-tail keywords and phrases
You don’t know how effective is each Long Tail keyword until you have optimized your site and have some content on your site to attract it. There will be some Long Tail queries in your server logs, but there could be much more searches.
To properly use the magnificent effectiveness of Long Tail of Search, you need to create a lot of rich content.
To capture the Long Tail, you need to create content that not only is relevant to your product or service that you are selling on your site, but is also related to your product or service, even if the relationship is remote.
You should do this because you have to attract not only people who know about you and your product, or who know just what they need, but you need to attract people who have the same problems as your target audience and who are looking for a solution.
Here are some tips on how to make your keyword list most effective:
Delete all non related keywords from your list. An unrelated keyword is a keyword, that doesn’t apply to your site in any way. If you have keywords on your list and no content for them, you can either create new content and use those keywords in the content, or delete those keywords from your list.
Remove the keywords that have too much competition. Only if you have an unlimited budget you can keep them. Otherwise discard those keywords from your list.
Remove all the keywords that your potential visitors will most likely never use or overlook. In most cases you can tell types of keywords your potential costumers will use when searching for your site, service, or product.
Also remove all the industry buzzwords that someone outside of the industry might never use. Placing these keywords in the right place in your PPC campaign will be one step closer to your ultimate successful PPC program.