5 tips for a successful keyword strategy

keywordsI went to a Google Adwords seminar recently, courtesy of I.T. support and training company Lucidica, and learned some useful strategies for bidding on selected keywords.

I won’t attempt to recreate the entire seminar via this blog post, but it got me thinking about keyword strategies in general. The result was this blog post, detailing my top 5 tips for choosing the best keywords to optimise, whether on your website or for a Google Adwords campaign:

1)    Think logically. Before you even start trawling through any search data, have a good logical think about the keywords your Average Joe punter will use when they are looking for your services online.

2)    Think laterally. Once you’ve come up with a list of words that are relevant to what you do, start thinking about how people are likely to use those words in the context of an internet search. For example, you may offer online accounting services, but your prospective client is probably more likely to type ‘accountant London’ than ‘online accounting services’ into Google because it’s a more obvious fit for their requirement (i.e. to get their accounts done from or near their base in London).

3)    Be specific. The last thing you need is irrelevant traffic that doesn’t result in sales for your business. Therefore, make sure you’re targeting focused, unambiguous keywords. If you sell car insurance for ladies in Scotland, you’ve got four elements of your product offering that you can mix and match in your keyword selection, e.g. “ladies car insurance”, “car insurance Scotland”, “ladies car insurance Scotland”, all of which are more targeted than just “insurance” on its own.

4)    Be realistic. To continue with the example in point 3, optimising the word “insurance” on its own would be a waste of time, not only because it’s irrelevant and applies to many products that our hypothetical business doesn’t offer, but also because it’s also intensely competitive. A small-medium sized website with a modest marketing budget would stand no chance against the industry heavyweights in ranking highly for such a competitive keyword. On the other hand, a business wanting to dominate a niche that has not yet been saturated may benefit from targeting some generic keywords alongside more specific terms.

5)    Verify with data. Never base your keyword strategy on assumptions: make sure the data backs them up. Use the free Google Keyword Tool to check the search volumes of your preferred keywords to make sure you’re on the right track. To go back to the example in point 2, the term ‘accountant London’ had, at time of writing, received 8,100 Local Monthly Searches, compared with just 260 for ‘online accounting services’. Remember that a successful keyword strategy is one that balances volume and relevance.