The 5 Basic Fundamentals of Selecting Keywords that Rank

@Nicole | Conversion Optimization, Search

Optimizing your website and landing pages for search is critical for your brand’s online reputation and driving more traffic to your site to help your business get found. The value of having a high-ranking search result on the first page of Google results should be clear to marketers because the majority share of search traffic will to go just a few terms on the front page—and the valuable, attractive content they represent.


But how do you know which keyword are you attracting quality traffic to your website? How can you rank higher for keywords that your potential customers are searching for?

Optimizing Your Keyword Search to Be Found

The major pitfall that marketers make when choosing their keywords is selecting them based on how they think about their products and services. The trick is to put yourself in the mind of a potential customer. They might be thinking of terms that don’t relate to your industry terms. There are 5 steps that can help you not only identify which keywords are relevant for your search channel optimization but will inform you of the proper messaging.

Develop Buyer Personas

Involves the development of buyer profiles that includes the demographics, business needs, and online behaviors that will drive your strategy to convert them through the sales funnel:

Awareness (when a prospect gets acquainted with your brand or realizes they have a need for your product/service)

Research/Education (when a prospect identifies the problem and researches potential solutions, including your product/service)

Comparison/Validation (when a prospect examines the options and begins narrowing down the list of vendors)

Purchase (when a prospect decides from whom to buy).

Perform a Keyword Search 

Select 3-5 words that are most obvious to your potential customers might use to search for your business in search engines using keyword tools such as the Google AdwordsOverture KeywordSEO Book Keyword and Keyword Discovery to understand how popular they are and consider alternative suggestions. (Note: In the tool, have “exact” checked within match types in order to search for terms closest to the original phrase or word you enter. The tool will then generate a list of potential keywords that relate to the original. Download the list into a spreadsheet in excel in order to dig through each word fully.)

Analyze Keyword Performance

Select your targeted keywords and score them on their popularity and relevance and widdle down your list to 5-10 keywords to rank. Each keyword will display the “Local Monthly Searches,” which provides the amount of search volume behind it as well as its competitive ranking. Look for keywords that have a high number of searches and a low competition level. Continue this process for all of the words and phrases you selected from your site’s landing pages. If a highly relevant keyword appears in the tool’s search results that you had not searched, you can take your research further by placing it in the tool itself.

Apply a Keyword Density Strategy

Use your list of keyword mix of highly competitive and non-competitive keywords, keywords across the spectrum, or keywords that will be less competitive in bidding and begin to align your keywords to top level page content on your website and landing pages building them into the content to increase density including H1/H2 tags, urls, meta titles and descriptions, blog categories, image descriptions and content links. You can test your website with a keyword density tool.

Measure the Conversion Activity

Use website analytics and/or Google Adwords, marketing automation and CRM applications to attribute visits, leads and customers to your search engine  referrals; the goals of this analysis is to determine what keywords are too difficult and/or don’t resonate in landing pages for conversions and find the keywords that can start driving traffic and leads immediately. Consider long-tail keywords as alternatives and analyze your website to learn how to improve your authority to rank for more difficult keywords.

Keywords that Achieve Search Campaign ROI

Ultimately, your goal is to identify which keywords are generating clickthroughs, refine their ability to convert and track to actual conversions on your website and/or landing pages. You can understand which keywords are impacting the bottom line and report the ROI of your search marketing. Your analysis should include:

  • Leverage tools such as Google Webmaster Tools which organizes your keywords in order of “impressions.”
  • Calculate your CTR (click through rate) %CTR = Clicks/Total Impressions x 100%.
  • Focusing on improving the click through rate of the top contributing keywords in terms of traffic to your website by evaluating the following:
    • What is the user’s intention when making the query?
    • Does the title tag reflect the user’s intention for making the query?
    • Does the snippet that the search engine collects reflect the user’s intention for doing the query?

Ultimately, your optimization work should focus on the text definition which is indexed by the search engines (the exact key phrase and its definition will be clearly highlighted in the search engine result) which improves your site’s search engine presentation and click through rate.

Additions & Feedback

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