Imagine going to a library in search of books covering a specific topic. Then imagine how frustrating it would be to find that the library had no index; the only way of finding the relevant titles would be to browse every volume on every shelf.
Think of keywords as being the internet equivalent of a library index; a website without carefully selected keywords in the text would be pretty much like our library without an index. Search engines such as Google depend on them to locate relevant web content. That is why a supplier of online content that obviously wishes their material to be accessed and ranked by the search engines, has to be very diligent about how they go about finding the most effective keywords.
Keywords (which can be phrases as well as single words) should be embedded in any content placed on the website in order to attract relevant search traffic. As well as within the main body of the content, they should also be placed in the titles and the meta-tags (a short description of the content to follow).
Here are some rules to follow for keyword selection:
Is the keyword relevant?
Content suppliers have to form a profile of a prospective searcher/purchaser for each site. What word(s) would bring them to the site via a search engine? Is the keyword sufficiently relevant to drive a healthy flow of traffic?
Does the keyword work in a real web search?
Feed the selected keywords into a search engine and see what happens. If ads appear on the top right hand side of the organic results, you have hit pay dirt. This is a sure sign that the keyword is valuable – and if multiple ads appear, it could be priceless. With results like this, the word is highly conversion-prone and almost certainly very lucrative.
Use Google AdWords and Google Analytics
To test if the keywords chosen for a website are really effective, Google AdWords can be a most valuable source of information, especially when used in conjunction with Google Analytics.
Content suppliers can buy a sample campaign to test selected keywords at Google AdWords. Just select “exact match” to drive traffic to a particular page on the website and then watch what happens over 200 to 300 clicks. Keywords in less demand may take longer to generate this volume – possibly a week or several weeks – whereas more heavily trafficked keywords may take only a day or so. Suppliers can use the tool to measure the traffic generated by the keyword, as well as the conversion rate (ie, how many visitors become customers).
As an example, let us say a search ad generates 5,000 impressions of which 100 become visitors to the site. Of those, three convert to become paying customers, generating $300 in profit. That means that the keyword that drove the visitors is worth $300/100 or $3 to the website. If a keyword generates around 5,000 impressions a day, a click-through rate of between 30 and 40 per cent is quite likely – and with it a number one ranking on the search engine. If that translated into 1500 to 2000 visits a day, each worth £3, the site is likely to generate a walloping $1.75 million a year.
Google Analytics will offer detailed information about the visitors to the site, allowing content suppliers to see how they were referred (including from search engines), and to track conversion goals. It offers invaluable data on which ads and keywords are working, and which could usefully be discarded.