I have decided that with the growth of the search engine optimization (SEO) industry, it is essential to make sure that we don’t overlook the many newcomers. With lots of new business owners and webmasters checking out SEO for the first time there is a need to share information on seo basics with each other. This is the first in a series of articles designed to assist with the basic information required to start a search engine marketing campaign.
To start with, I wish to ensure we discuss the significance of a good foundation. When starting any SEO campaign it is tempting to leap straight in and start changing text. However, like any successful marketing strategy, it is vital to ensure that you know whom your audience is and how to reach them. In the same way traditional advertising agencies survey their demographic audience, search engine marketers need to ensure that their SEO campaign targets the correct keywords or search phrases. Target the wrong search phrase and you could end up getting great search engine rankings for keywords that have no search requests. A couple of hours now spent making certain the correct search phrases are targeted can save months of useless optimization.
When you started your company or created your products, you no doubt sat down with your friends, relatives and business partners and discussed the requirements of your target audience. You would have been foolish to stubbornly press ahead with your products without first assessing the market to determine if there was a need. Likewise, when you begin your SEO campaign it is important to brainstorm search phrases that are prone to bring qualified visitors to your website. Sit down with your co-workers and business partners and go over which keywords are relevant to the products and services you offer. Compile a preliminary list of 5-10 search phrases that you feel best represent your company and which you believe people would type into a search engine when trying to find you.
Consider the following factors when brainstorming:
1. Is your audience likely to search for industry standard terms or simple layman phrases?
2. Which of your products are in stock? There is no point targeting search phrases that are popular if you don’t actually stock that item.
3. Which products have the highest profit margin? If you had just a $.20 mark-up on a very popular product, could you sell enough online to produce a profit? A product that is less searched but has a greater profit margin would be easier to obtain a search engine ranking and would yield higher revenues.
4. Identify your biggest competitors. View competitor websites and see which products they may actually target; which search phrases do they have rankings for?
Make use of any PPC data
Odds are, your decision to begin a SEO campaign is fueled by your need to reduce costly pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. While dependence on PPC will be reduced with a decent SEO campaign, you can make use of your current PPC efforts when researching your search phrases to focus on. Analyze your PPC keywords and look to see which of them have brought the highest traffic levels, best click through rates and greater sales conversions. It is likely a search phrase that brought successful results through a PPC campaign will be very relevant in your mission for obtain top search engine positioning.
Expanding your Keyword list
Once you have completed your brainstorming and have compiled your list of 5-10 core keywords, it’s time to move on and expand that list. A list of 5-10 search phrases will not, as I am sure you will know, bring the volume of search engine traffic needed to make your website successful. However, that list will be an important tool when determining which phrases to add to the mix. At this point, you have to turn to the search engines themselves and research which search phrases are in fact being typed into Google, Yahoo, Bing et al. Fortunately there are some very useful tools you can use to expand your list. The most well known are: WordTracker, WordStream and Google Adwords.
This is a 3 part series. Look for the other 2 parts to this series: Part 2: Determining Competition and Part 3: Selecting Your Keywords