Ask an SEO how they source target keywords and you’ll probably get a variety of answers:
“It’s intuition – I know what will convert, and what people will search for.”
“I use Google’s Keyword Tool and choose results with high search volume.”
“I search for obvious keyword and pick the one with the most results.”
While intuition can be very useful in online marketing campaigns and Google’s free Adwords Keyword Tool is immensely valuable for SEOs, neither of these popular and established methods of selecting keywords are the best for SEO success.
The best keyword research tool for effective SEO isn’t free, but it works. It’s Google’s very own Adwords advertising platform, and with the right strategy it’s the ultimate keyword research and testing tool for data-driven SEOs.
Why SEO campaigns without Adwords data often fail:
A lot of SEOs are hesitant to invest in paid search marketing. Since SEO traffic is free – aside from an obvious investment of time and energy – they reason that it’s a much better idea to choose keywords with strong traffic and optimize solely for them.
If traffic is your only goal, it’s an intelligent strategy. After all, keywords that attract a large number of searchers can put your website in front of a large audience, and a large audience is bound to be filled with buyers – right?
Not so. As any PPC marketer can tell you, not all keywords are winners. In fact, a very large number of keywords that might look like winners at first glance are the direct opposite – popular yet worthless search terms that attract tire-kickers, not buyers.
Starting an SEO campaign without proven data on which keywords will bring you customers and which will bring you tire-kickers is a recipe for disaster – a recipe that, in this case, could cost you a significant amount of wasted time.
How Adwords can rapidly speed up your keyword research:
Never build links or optimize your on-site content without conversion data for your target keyword. This lets you know exactly what you can expect when your website reaches the first page of Google for your target keyword – a roadmap, if you like.
Before you add a new keyword to your SEO plan, run a small test using the Adwords Search Network (preferably with partners disabled) and a modest budget. As little as $100 can often buy you actionable data that proves a keyword is worth targeting.
During your keyword test, use a headline that’s similar to – or better yet, exactly the same as – the headline used on your organic results. This guarantees that you’ll see the same conversion rate from organic traffic as you will from paid search traffic.
A great way to quickly assess keywords is to start a small Adwords campaign with ten of your highest-traffic organic keywords. Let them rack up a few hundred clicks each and then check your conversion data to find the winners.
You might be pleasantly surprised by which keywords convert, and which don’t. A lot of the keywords that you might have thought were profitable might not be, and keywords that you previously ignored might be lucrative, attainable assets.
Expanding your SEO campaign using data from Adwords:
One of the best ways to expand your SEO campaign is to gradually turn off your paid search ads as your organic results begin to move up the rankings. As you move from the second page to the first for “online marketing” – as an example – delete the target from your campaign and let your organic result capture the traffic instead.
Then, take the budget that you were spending on “online marketing” and move it to another keyword. You can keep repeating this process as you find great keywords, expanding your campaign by actionable data rather than by optimistic intuition.
Adwords data is by far the most reliable information for SEOs, which is why it’s very surprising that so few SEOs invest heavily in Adwords. By arming yourself with this valuable research tool, you’ll be able to rapidly craft effective SEO campaigns.
There’s nothing worse in the world of Los Angeles SEO than wasted time. Drive your campaigns forward using data and for a small cost, you’ll be able to reach the top of the search results in a fraction of the time that your competitors will need to catch up.