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  • The Golden Rules of Keyword Research

    We recently published a post on the golden rules of paid search, leading to extensive debate here at SEOptimise Towers on how some companies get it wrong.

    The Golden Rules of Keyword Research
    Image credit: edmittance

    There are online marketing forums out there filled with baffled businessmen and women who are unable to explain why their PPC spending has not resulted in the promised returns.

    Because they do not really understand how to choose keywords, their results were not what they could have been if they had researched them more thoroughly or used an agency.

    So, here are our recommended top tips for choosing the best keywords for your paid search campaign. As always, please feel free to add to the list.

    Be relevant
    Make sure the keywords you bid on are relevant to your product and not hugely general. If your company sells ergonomic keyboards, then buying advertising on the keyword “computer” is not going to do you much good.

    In fact, it will be costly and any traffic it does push to your page will most likely quickly leave.

    Be specific
    It may be worth bidding on some relevant and competitive keywords but you should also spend some of your budget on highly specific terms.

    These are likely to be cheaper and, while fewer people will be searching for them, those that do are more likely to be interested in your offering and result in a sale.

    For example, if you sell ethical jewellery then bidding on the competitive term “engagement ring” will drive relevant traffic to your site.

    However, while those visitors may buy a ring, they have not expressed an interest in your specific offering. Searchers looking for “ethical engagement ring” have already expressed a particular interest in your product angle. The same would apply for users searching for tailor made holidays, as opposed to the far more general term “holidays”.

    Be local
    It can be a great idea to bid on localised searches – often people like to look for a nearby service provider, meaning that could be one more edge you possess over your competitors.

    So while it may still make commercial sense to bid on the all-encompassing competitive term – for example, SEO – it is likely to be a good idea to also bid on a more localised alternative – for example, Oxford Search Engine Optimisation.

    Be smart
    The great thing about the web is that it is measurable. There is no need for guess work because many analytical tools exist to show you which keyword terms are the most successful.

    Such programs will also reveal the bounce rate of a given keyword, allowing marketers to make timely decisions and to quickly move their budget to maximise potential returns.

    For example, if you sell fancy dress outfits and bid on “Peter Pan”, then that could drive thousands of visitors to your pages.

    However, if your analytics tools show 87% of those visitors leave straight away, then you can clearly see that this is not an appropriate term. Try adjusting it, maybe “Peter Pan costume” would result in fewer hits but more conversions.

    Be sneaky
    What terms are your competitors bidding on? Positioning yourself above your peers is an important goal, both for raising your returns and simply gaining a strong and authoritative market presence.

    It can be tricky to assess competitors’ search marketing efforts but it is not wasted time. As well as flagging up keywords it may be profitable to bid on, their pay-per-click advertising may also give you an insight into the focus of their organic efforts.

    That can help you reassess the focus of your own, to ensure you remain in the strongest possible position.

    Be flexible
    The importance of each individual rule depends on your product. It is essential you keep track of your campaign’s returns and be prepared to change tack at short notice to keep ahead of the curve.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    33 Responses to “The Golden Rules of Keyword Research”

    1. ? | “The Golden Rules of Keyword Research | SEOptimise” ( http://tinyurl.com/byrwto )

    2. SEO keyword research principles but good for thinking ppc. like the whiteboard and postit notes http://tinyurl.com/byrwto

    3. The Golden Rules of Keyword Research | SEOptimise: There are online marketing forums out there filled with baffl.. http://tinyurl.com/byrwto

    4. The Golden Rules of Keyword Research | SEOptimise http://tinyurl.com/byrwto

    5. MikeSalzburg (Michael.Mrazek@ncm.a) says:

      Web Advertising: die besten Kewords f

    6. The Golden Rules of Keyword Research: We recently published a post on the golden rules of paid search, leading t.. http://tinyurl.com/byrwto

    7. xlr8ted (john ) says:

      ~ The Golden Rules of Keyword Research: http://tinyurl.com/byrwto

    8. RT @the_gman: The Golden Rules of Keyword Research http://is.gd/kFkd Precise and good!

    9. Susan RoAne says:

      As always, great tips. WIll share with my PPC guru. THANKS!

    10. Nik Kamboj says:

      Thanks for some nice tips. I am currently working on a SEO campaign and would like to apply the above suggestions.

    11. Jim Hobson says:

      Great article. One area where we frequently have to have in depth client consulting is the relationship of competitor keyword research for PPC vs. SEO purposes. We’ve had clients want their SEO driven at PPC terms, where they find their competitors, and we have to explain that SEO should be geared for terms that PROSPECTS use and PPC terms are always terms where SELLERS want to be found but are not necessarily terms used by PROSPECTS. We then explain how PPC (keywords/phrases) can bolster SEO (keywords/phrases), and increase the breadth of your online exposure. This discussion always includes explaining that while there is some overlap in efforts that the time (cost) required for SEO research is separate from PPC research. And there are always the side conversations on relevance, long tails, etc. And yes, it often takes a LOT of explaining to get clients to “get their head around” the subject matter. The clients that take the time to understand the concepts, and let us do our work unfettered, always see far better results than clients that micro-manage our work.

    12. Jacinta says:

      Great article, we recently discussed PPC and how it is sometimes misused. People need to understand that all traffic isn’t good and to focus on quality traffic not necessarily quantity.

    13. Agent SEO says:

      Great article. There have been many times where a client of mine doesn’t quite comprehend the keywords they should target, or have misconceptions about what keywords bring traffic. This leaves it up to me to explain most of the points you’ve brought up in the Golden Rules!

    14. Todd Mintz says:

      For example, if you sell ethical jewellery…

      What is “ethical jewellery”? :.)

    15. Yeah it all stems from keywords. If you don’t have the right keywords you are going to go in the wrong direction.

    16. Good article. Sometimes I think some people just don’t realize how much traffic there is for more obscure but highly relevant terms so they just end up bidding on broad keywords such as ‘computer’.

      One extra tip I’d add is to research negative keywords. For example, if you’re promoting laptops you’ll probably want to add ‘repairs’, ‘batteries’ and ‘straps’ in as negative keywords (along with quite a few others).

    17. There is a reason they are called keywords. Getting the right words on your page or on PPC is the key to getting traffic.

    18. MarketingMan says:

      I have to agree that if a client micromanages the ppc its a lost cause, they will always end up paying more if they do. best case was this client who was paying 3k per month on google and yahoo and msn now pays 3k just on google because they absolutely cant get their head around why they don’t always show up absolute #1 for their given keyword. expense expense expense. their could be a $4 dollar difference in my scenario with this client in being on top of adwords and sometimes on top or second. They read a book or 2 or sspend a year on the phone with us and bingo, they think they can run our company, lol

    19. Thanks for the nice tips and I am currently working on a SEO campaign and would like to apply the above suggestions.

    20. Ann Vilong says:

      Ethical jewelry stones are cultured in a lab, not mined in a third world country where people are often killed in the quest for getting their fair or not so fair share.

    21. Tony Roland says:

      Thanks for propelling us forward in our web based advertising.

    22. Goran Web says:

      I like the sneaky point. I like to buy the competitors names as they usually are not very expensive yet they will bring the exact target audience. Great post. As for ethical jewellery I assume you mean, blood diamonds etc.

    23. Keywords research is important part of SEO. Many business owners like to rank with more competitive short keyword, they almost forgot about their objective sometime whether is traffic or conversion. Ranked for short and competitive keywords can give you more traffics, but might not high conversion. Ranked for long and niche keywords can give you higher conversion rate.

    24. Great introductory article. I can not stress enough the importance to small and medium businesses of keeping it local. All of our clients have seen a much greater return when they localize their SEO efforts. Many of them do not have the budgets to compete with the Global Corps so we keep it local and once local is optimized we start looking regional. Being Flexible is right up there with keeping it local and being able to measure the result of your changes.

    25. Top 30 Internet Marketing Articles of February « Affiliate Marketing Resource says:

      [...] The golden rules of keyword research – Rules behind what you should do when performing keyword research. [...]

    26. [...] The Golden Rules of Keyword Research (SEOptimise): Choosing keywords for PPC should not be too difficult, as long as your keywords are relevant, specific, local, smart, sneaky, and flexible. Explanations within. [...]

    27. Tom Beckett says:

      Fantastic introductory article. Ive been running around the web trying to hoover up as much information as possible and this really spoke to me.

      A great example, is the peter pan comment. Ive found this to be 100% true with conversion vs pure traffic. This is a really profound statement!

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