I’m not a complete newbie to the SEO sandbox. I’ve always considered myself to be knowledgeable enough to be dangerous, but not a whole lot more. I’ve helped clients to high level SEO tactics, and I knew how to utilize Google Keyword tools. Heck, I even beat out everyone to the #1 spot for Angelina Jolie joins Twitter. But now that I’m into SEO consulting full time, it’s a completely new animal. No longer does dangerous work for a skill set, I need to be deadly.
So the first thing I was thrown to the wolves on in my search for becoming deadly was keyword research. Keyword research is one of the most important, valuable, and high-return activities in the search engine optimization and marketing fields. Here is the dumbed down version of what keyword research is: figuring out what words and combination of words consumers are typing into search engines to find your product or service.
When you utilize search engine tools like Google Keywords, you can get mounds of data that show you analytics on the traffic inside of the search engine to each word and combinations of words around your product or service. But word of warning before you get deep into the analytics: don’t assume you know what your keywords are. Best practice advice is to ping your network (ask friends) that would be a potential searcher for your product or service and ask them what they’d type in the search box. You could save yourself time and money with 30 minutes of proof research. Google Keywords and other tools can most likely point you in the direction of other keywords, but an organic approach of asking those in your social sphere what they’d type into search is something that beats any tool.
A mistake you want to avoid when asking your social graph, or generating your own discovery reports of keyword research, is to think and ask in the mindset of transactional queries, not navigational or informational queries. Here is how you remember the differences of the three:
- Navigational – searching for a website they don’t know the exact URL but want to find
- Informational – searching for more specific information, but it’s purely an information grab
- Transactional – searching for something with the intent on a transaction — whether a new free account (you gain their personal information like email), or a $100,000 sports car
Businesses are interested in more business. 2,000 new views a month that can be tracked to 20 new sales, is not better than 200 new views a month that can be tracked to 40 new sales. The end game is always about acquiring new clients and making new sales. Big visit numbers are only as good as the sales numbers that follow. Thus, Transactional searchers are the kind of searchers that you as a business should be interested in. I like dumbing things down, (even if for only myself) so let’s dumb down our searchers:
- Navigational — Wonderer’s
- Informational — Learners
- Transactional — Buyers
Now that we know what keyword research is, finding out how consumers are searching for your product or service — and the mind set we should be in when researching our keywords, Buyers; we have our first notch on our belt moving from dangerous to deadly in SEO.
The New Guy