Sometimes I’m reminded that the internet is a lot more complicated then it seems at first glance. Sometimes I forget how hard it is to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer. Usually, all I have to do to be oh so gently reminded is spend a few hours doing keyword research. That will bring almost anybody back to reality, especially someone like me that is not a very patient person (type “D” personality all the way).
I was reminded of this just today as I searched using Market Samurai to find one of those golden nugget keywords that would drive lots of qualified traffic to my website.
It’s a really good thing that I’m in this business, because frankly if I had to worry about maybe manufacturing a product, rather than spending a day with my computer, staring at a screen looking for that combination of parameters to be a successful keyword – it just wouldn’t happen.
After launching our new eLearning Website, I needed to get this done to get the marketing efforts going. So I thought I would compile a list of the things that keep making me have to start over with my search for the great keyword.
A couple of quick points about the keywords we’re looking for here…
- You should have one primary keyword to start. This is the tough one.
- You should have 8 to 10 sub-keywords to start. This should be driven by your primary keyword – so it should be easier to get some longer tailed keywords.
Now the search begins and this is where the pain also begins… below I outline the process of what consistently beats the supposed golden nugget keywords off my list and sends you back to the research drawing board:
Although I am using Market Samurai to do this research, you can obtain most if not all of this information utilizing free tools on the internet. I just find for the cost of Market Samurai it’s nice to have it all under one roof and it’s easy to use.
Plug in a keyword that your potential customer would search for in need of your service/product.
OK so you got it right, a keyword that is relative to your business and your potential customer would search to find you.
Now, let’s beat it off the list so you can pull your hair out a little…
1. What’s the search volume?
This is obviously important because simply you thinking people would search a particular phrase is not justification itself. Check out the search volume. If it’s not more than say 100 searches a day – do you really want to spend hundreds of hours and months of work towards ranking for the word? I would suggest not! So make sure you have the search volume that justifies the work.
2. If your word survived the volume test…
– you’re lucky – you’re past step 1. Now, what about the competition. Highly competitive words can take a really long time to outrank, if ever, and therefore need to be approached with caution. We look at competition from the perspective of competing sites. Ideally, you would like a keyword with no more than 100,000 competing sites. Of course, lower is better, but sometimes this just isn’t going to happen.
Did your keyword just fall off? Mine did!! OK back to step 1… I’ll be back.
3. Phrase Match – Skipping this might crush your marketing efforts!
Alright hopefully you found some really great keywords by this point, but unfortunately, there is still more due diligence. We now want to look at the Phrase Match Searches (PBR) out of broad match searches. This is critical because you just don’t want to be chasing what you think is one thing, but the world thinks is another. Pat at Smart Passive Income did a great job of outlining how this can really change the numbers and if not caught, it can completely waste your time, money and resources chasing the wrong phrase.
For example, let’s say I’m looking at the keyword “online business courses” that passes point 1 and 2. Daily search volume of 250 searches, and competition level of 17,700. However, the PBR is 16%. This is pretty low and I’m curious why. (Technically our eLearning program is all about business courses to help businesses succeed online so it seems like a natural for a keyword).
When I shift to “Phrase Match” though I see that this keyword’s actual search volume is coming from four keywords that really have nothing to do with what we are offering. Had I chased this keyword phrase I would actually be chasing about 40 searches a day – big mistake.
4. Trending is our fortune teller
At a quick glance, I want to take a look at the trending. Although this parameter may not stop me from optimizing on a particular keyword, it might be the final nail that turns me back to step 1.
If a keyword search volume as displayed by the quick reference graph is trending down, it’s probably not a word I want to base longevity on.
The reality is a golden nugget keyword optimized right (you on page one) can be incredibly valuable. None the less, the task of completing the research can be painstaking. I cannot stress enough – it is a pain worth feeling as the alternative can really suck.
I’d love to hear from you. Let me know if this is helpful if these are the parameters you use in determining good keywords or to just say hi.