“I would like my website to come up #1 in Google when I type…”
When one starts to talk about SEO to a client eventually a statement like that will enter the conversation. This is normal and is usually a good starting point for keyword research. When getting started on a client’s SEO it is usually best to start by getting a list of keywords from the client as a baseline. Most website owners know their business better than we do, so we start by getting a few ideas from them.
One of the toughest things that people have wrapping their heads around when starting any kind of SEO campaign is keyword research.
The thing about keyword research is that it is not just about creating lists of keywords. You need to compare the number of people that type the keywords into Google and compare the number of competing websites that already rank for those keywords. One of the toughest things to do is let go of what you thought was an amazing keywords phrase that actually brings zero traffic to a website.
For example a Golf Retail Website owner may call up their search engine specialist and tell them that they want their site to rank for “low price putters.” The search engine specialist then does a bit of research and finds out that the there is no traffic for the phrase “low price putters” and counters with “cheap putters.” According to the Google Keyword Tool “cheap putters” has 5400 searches per month.
So keep in mind that in theory you could attempt to rank for any keyword phrase that you wanted, however some keywords are more effective than others. That is the importance of Keyword Research.
Another factor is conversion. Perhaps you have spent $10,000 on a SEO campaign, your site is ranked for a few fantastic keyword phrases, and you are getting 1000’s of hits to your site on a daily basis. Sounds like a successful campaign right? Well what if none of those visitors converts into a lead, or a sale? At this point you may have dropped 5 figures into ranking for keywords that do nothing for you.
This is why patience and testing are important.
SEO is a patience game and results will never happen overnight. Work from an SEO campaign will often take months to years to be fully realized. This is why testing is so important in the early stages. Here is my advice to those that will be starting an SEO campaign:
Do the keyword research, compile a big list of keywords, and then start a Google Adwords campaign. This way you can test and track which keywords are giving you the best conversion rates. You may find that there is a keyword phrase that you can easily rank for that only gives you 10 hits per day but has a 10% conversion rate. Although 1000’s of hits per day may seem awesome, its the conversion rate that is important.
So next time you are thinking about increasing the traffic to your website through SEO, I would suggest that you invest a couple $1000 into a 3-6 month Adwords campaign first so you can test the conversion rate of the keywords first. You need some help? You know who to call.