Using the right language to target your various audience groups is critical to your success within the search engines. Keywords help you to accomplish a number of important business tasks online, including:
- Attracting buyers interested in the products and services, or information and programs, you offer
- Establishing your online authority among users and the search engines for the content related to what you offer
- Helping to keep your online content focused and highly targeted
- Managing the effectiveness of your pay per click campaigns
- Building your online audiences on your social media sites
- Attracting media to your news stories
- Enhancing the effectiveness of your online directory listings such as Google Places and any industrial directories you list with
- Disseminating information related to the new products and services, or information and programs, you are promoting
- and more.
Conducting research to uncover the best keywords and phrases for your purposes is not an easy task. The first thing you need to do is establish whom you are targeting and how they think of what you offer. This may sound simple but I am always surprised at the steps that are often overlooked. Many businesses incorrectly assume they know the language used by their existing and potential customers to refer to what they offer and they use only these assumptions. For example, your firm may have a particular way of referring to your product or service that is not yet shared by those who would benefit from it. You may refer to your product by its brand name such as the ‘MachDuster;’ however, your targeted buyers may search for it by the result it achieves for them such as: remove dust from cnc machine. (Hopefully I have just made this up and am not infringing on anyone’s copyrighted brand!)
The point is you can use your assumptions as a starting point but your list should also include such things as:
- All possible applications
- Industries served
- Similar products/services it may be mistaken for
- Competing brand names
- Geo-targeted locations
If you’re building a keyword list for use in a pay per click campaign you will also want to include words that could negatively affect your results and your budget. Make a separate list of ‘negative’ keywords that includes such things as:
- Terms that are too broad such as ‘waterproof’ (could include waterproof mattress as well as waterproof foundation)
- Acronyms like DAS (which could mean Distributed Antenna System, Dependable Auto Shippers, and even Departmento Administrativo de Seguridad – you get the picture!)
- Locales not relevant to your business such as ‘sandblasting pa’ if you only serve Connecticut
- Products/services that are spelled similarly to yours but are not relevant
The point is to be aware of keywords that can adversely affect your lead or sales generating results while eating away at your campaign’s budget. Pay per click campaigns can get expensive very quickly if the keyword list is not managed properly. For more information about keyword building for search engine marketing campaigns read Julie Batten’s ClickZ article.
Rule of thumb for building your keyword lists: start with your assumptions but do the required research that uncovers the full range of keyword and phrase possibilities that accurately and effectively identify what you are offering and whom you are targeting. Know where and how you are going to use these lists – your website, ad copy for your search engine marketing pay per click campaigns, alt text for your images, anchor text for your hyperlinks, title tags, content you create for use off-site on social media, news sites, and relevant third-party websites, etc. – then use them to strategically develop your content for maximum results.