Keywords are of primary significance in any SEO or SEM project, but to determine which keywords perform best is always tricky. From a list of hundreds or maybe thousands of keywords that you may have gathered using your favorite keyword selection program, it is always a challenge to pick the ones most appropriate for you.
In my opinion, keywords are of three basic types:
1)The ones you desire,
2) The actual phrases that people type in search boxes, and
3) the keywords that stimulate searchers for action, or in other words perform Call to Action.
It is important to realize the value of keywords and use the most appropriate ones in each scenario to maximize your keyword conversions and improve keyword rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).
The following points are noteworthy in selecting most appropriate keywords.
Consider the Search Volume
After you have compiled your initial research and gathered tons of keywords, simply log in to Google's Keyword Selector Tool (my recommendation) or Word Tracker or any other tool that gives you search volume comparison.
Now, one by one put all your keywords or preferable phrases in these tools and note the search volumes, advertiser completion, etc. After the list is compiled you need to arrange it by ascending or descending number of search volume (i.e. number of searches in a given period of time; the higher the better!). The ones with negligible search volume or no volume at all should be neglected at this point and you should focus on the ones that have the search volume.
If you have a big SEO budget, just focus on the keywords with the most search volume and try to optimize your pages for these. If you utilize the right SEO plan & strategy, you will soon be getting visits, and with time your rankings will improve.
Another benefit with High Search Volume Keywords is that they somewhat represent the actual behaviors of people searching online and hence you will have better chances of getting clicks.
Consider Advertiser Competition
Right from the above compiled data you can get another important factor to consider, the Advertiser Competition (i.e. number of people buying ads on those keywords indicates business value!). Whether you are looking for keywords for organic search optimization or Adwords, it is always important to consider the advertiser competition. Higher advertiser competition is a way to judge the performance of keywords, and which ones drive conversion. Actually this technique is based on the theory of “following the competitors” the more the competitors the higher the conversion value that keyword/phrase contains.
Using Google Analytics
If you have a relatively old Web site and you are receiving some traffic, you can quickly identify the keywords that bring you not just traffic, but the traffic that is converting. In Google Analytics, segmentation of reports and setting goals is an ideal way to learn the best performing keywords. It works both for Adwords and organic SERPs. Google has set up a YouTube channel for this purpose.
It is not a good idea to only focus on the keywords related to your product and marketing. Rather, you should use keywords that include the use of your products. In this way there is a better chance of getting quality traffic, and your rankings in SERPs will be far better due to less competition.
People use the Internet for shopping, but many of them do research before making a purchase. Conscious customers always do some credibility research about the brand and product they are going to buy. Keeping this approach in mind, you should also focus on keywords and phrases in your title tags that contain an “informational” tone. Remember that the title tag is first visible to your visitor in SERPs. If you succeed in making visitor believe that you are the best source of information for their desired keywords, you are on the winning edge.
Use Keyword Suggestion Tools Properly
Keyword Tools have variety of uses and are often overlooked. Apart from the keyword search volume, there are keyword suggestion tools that provide you good alternatives and synonyms for the ones you are looking for. When using the keyword suggestion tools, always remember to check search volume and competition research to get only the keywords that convert. SEOMoz has some good tools for this purpose.
Understand User Behavior
MSN ad center has launched tools that let you calculate the buying intention of the searcher. Now whenever you are about to finalize keywords for your products, always remember to calculate what buying intention probability is, related to this particular keyword.
Consider the Demographics
It is always important to know your target and ideal audience. Although anyone can buy anything, there is always a best age group, community, industry, etc. related to your niche. When focusing on keyword selection, always keep in mind the target audience and use words and synonyms related to that particular group. The more accurate you are in your research the greater chance of conversion you have.
Do Not Change Keywords Too Often
Allow at least six months before you take action to choose different keywords. Keyword success depends heavily on other factors. For example, it is possible that you have the right keywords in your title and meta, but the audience that is getting the results might not be the best one to convert. There could also be a market recession related to your niche, and although you are getting traffic, conversion might not be enough. However, this doesn't mean your keywords are not good, but rather it is just a temporary glitch. Be patient.
Using Analytics and Live Monitoring Efficiently
Google Analytics is not always the best choice for your business; there are many other analytic tools that allow you to monitor your Web site traffic live. Live monitoring is a very important aspect of analytics. If you are able to see in real-time how your visitors find you in SERPs and what their response is after they see your landing page, I think there is no better way to find the keywords that really drive conversions.
Keyword rankings and keyword conversion depend on several other factors, ones I hope to cover in future articles. Kindly post your feedback and questions in comments below.