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One of the key skills you must develop when undertaking Search Engine Optimisation is the ability to identify and choose keywords that your clients are going to use, or I should say, most likely going to use to visit your website or to search for in a search engine. There are lots of great tools out there that will help you find the right keywords but be warned always test the results you get because there are anomalies in some of these tools that can cost you time and money. I want to examine a number of steps to follow to test that you have the right keywords.
There are a range of tools that you can use to work out what keywords are going to be most appropriate for your market, some of them are free, some of them you need to register and some you have to pay for. The tools include –
2. Google AdWords
4. Free Keywords
5. Your Website Session Logs
6. Yahoo Advertising
7. Keyword Locator
8. Keyword Elite
9. Good Keywords
10. Competitors Websites
Before investing in the keywords you have found always check to see if the keyword is in fact as popular as the resources tell you in that search.
I recently had a situation recently where one keyword we found “advanced wealth planning techniques” was supposed to have 250 hits a day coming in from Google. We garnered this information from a range of different sources however what we found was that this was not the case, in fact those keywords prior to writing this article actually only get between 2 and 5 hits per day.
One of the most important lessons both I and my team learned from this was to ensure that you run a trial of the keywords in pay-per-click programs before you actually purchase any domains that use the keywords to ensure that the keywords really do get the traffic the keyword tools tell you. The way my team achieves this, is we will create the sales pages for the product or service that we want to sell and trial it on the key search engine we want to optimize the new website for using one of our existing websites.
For example, if we know that a certain keyword will get the most traffic on Google, then we will certainly use AdWords to prove that the traffic really is there. If we new that Yahoo was the major source of traffic for the keywords then we would use Overture.
Generally we will test the keywords for 2 to 3 days. Longer tests maybe necessary but two to three days is normally a good indicator. Once we are confident that the keywords get the volume of traffic we are looking for, we will then stop the advertising, secure the domain name and then implement our products onto that domain and optimize the webpages for that product or service. This ensures we are not caught in a situation, which we have been in the past, where we have domain name which contains keywords that are totally useless.
The best tool I have found for quick testing your keywords is Google Adwords. One of the core reasons I like using this resource is that you can immediately test your keywords rather than waiting anywhere up to 5 days for the other Pay-Per-Click engines like Overture.
One of the other ways that we look to see if the keywords we have chosen are in fact worthwhile is to look at what our competitors are doing. However, use this technique merely as a guide because they could be making the same mistakes as you. We know of a few people who copied what we were doing with the keywords mentioned before and they would have been achieving no traffic off those keywords just as we were.
The key to success in any business whether it be online or in the traditional world is to test and measure. The way we test to make sure that the keywords are being used is to check our logs and see who is actually referring traffic to our site. In ASP code there are a number of Session Values that will contain this information. We check our sites each day to ensure that the traffic is coming from our target keywords.
If they are not coming from the keywords we are targeting and the customers are buying our products we will then look at the keywords that are being used and find out how competitive they are and whether we should be optimizing our site for those keywords. Search Engine Optimisation and Internet marketing is really a science and like all science, you need facts and figures to make decisions so the better quality statistics you can collect the easier it is to make a direction change.
For example, we recently had a situation where we started getting a couple of hundred hits per day for a 5 word statement that was being used in both Google and Yahoo to find our site. Whilst a couple of hundred hits per day may not seem very many our conversion rate on that key statement was running around 70% which is huge for any Internet business. The bizarre part was that our website was actually place at number 97 in the search engine results for both Google and Yahoo.
What we did at this point was to simply write a number of articles on the keyword topics. Submit the articles to related sites, including article directories and then ensured in the Author Bio Section we included Hypertext that included the Key Word Statement back to the associated page. The result was that we increased our ranking from 97 to the top 5 and we gained a 70% conversion rate on all people who visited that webpage.
The key issue though is to make sure that the keywords you are using are what your buyers associate with. Sometimes I find that a client’s perception of what keywords a person would use to search for a product is far more different to what their clients are actually using. Whenever we are looking at that issue, we simply go back to the client’s logs for the last 6 months and troll through the data and find out how their clients are finding them.
The secret to search engine optimization for any website is in the logs because it will tell you very clearly what people are using to get to your site and more so which search engines they are using.
When you are looking at buying a new domain or building a new site, make sure that you really do your homework to identify the right keywords that people will use to find your products or services. Before committing to buying a new domain that contains your keywords always test to see that the keywords are actually being used and that there is sufficient volume to justify the purchase.
Remember, the reason why we test and measure is to ensure that you are making a sound investment. If you get it wrong, you are going to have to spend more money to correct your mistake and nobody likes having to spend their own hard earned money.