Often I hear from clients that they want a lot of web traffic, that if only they had the traffic, some random percentage would convert to sales. That is true to an extent but wouldn’t you rather have 50 customers, over 1,000 visitors? When optimizing for the search engines it is possible to evaluate which keywords are of most value, and through ongoing optimization of a site you can achieve fantastic conversion rates without needing huge traffic volume.
I am a small business SEO, so right off the bat I am at the disadvantage that a lot of the articles you read apply to much larger enterprise level businesses. I chose to be a small business SEO because I believe in the small businesses value to America, and because often the small business is in greater need than the larger business with a huge built in marketing budget. When I get your small business onto page one of Google, that is an accomplishment when you consider how many people are linking to these larger name brands. That one small local business stands out, and the hits they get from being there quickly turn into sales.
Let’s use the example of “san antonio medical text books”. I don’t have a client that sells medical texts, but let’s assume I did, and I optimized for phrases related to medical text books. I could target ‘book store’ I could target ‘text book’ I could target a pretty wide variety of subjects, but how likely is a person searching for ‘book store’ going to need my medical text books? The traffic may come, the site may get hits, but the conversion rate would hardly be noticeable because these terms are related, but not necessarily supportive of the goal of our site.
This is why Keyword Research is so important, and it pains me to see the web sites designed BEFORE any kind of SEO or Keyword Research has been done. When you put the SEO as an afterthought to the development of your site, you have to work backwords, and as any business owner can attest to, no one wants to pay for the same work twice.
So once again, our friend the Google Keyword Tool comes into play, and we sit down with the phrases we feel will generate sales. On average I try and build a list of 5 or 6 keywords that are related and can be worked into site content without much issue. For the most part, small businesses live or die by a single keyword and you start by making an educated guess about which keyword that is, and then follow the search volume over time to attach value to each keyword.
Ryan Kelly from @PearAnalytics makes a product called SiteJuice which we’ve talked about before. SiteJuice assigns value to each of your keywords, and Ryan tells me that in future versions of SiteJuice you’re going to be able to assign specific value based on your industry to those keywords. So just because you come up under “san antonio book store” doesn’t mean the value is there that you’d want targeting “san antonio medical text books”. I’m really excited to see the progress there as that will make tracking the value of these keywords that much easier.
What are your top performing keywords? Do you even know? Contact an optimizer near you and tell them you want an hour of their time to talk about your existing analytics. See what they can tell you about your best performing search terms and see if you can better target those phrases. At the end of the day, you don’t just want big numbers in the visitors column, you want a hige conversion rate, and targeting the RIGHT keywords is the way to get there.
What are your top performing keywords?
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