Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Keyword Research
I was working with a new full service SEO client the other day and we were discussing the keyword research we had done for their website when the business owner asked if I had looked at the existing keyword conversion rate data when conducting the keyword research. Did the conversion rates influence the keywords we had researched? I thought this was a very smart question. On paper it makes perfect sense to target keywords that have a high conversion rate, but sometimes what looks good on paper might not work in practice.
Imagine a long-tail keyword that sent 5 unique visitors to your site each month and 2 of them converted, let’s say they signed up for your newsletter. That’s a 40% conversion rate! That’s definitely a percentage that looks great on paper. Now let’s say that a broader keyword sent 350 visitors to your site each month and 15 of them converted. That’s just over a 4% conversion rate, a far cry from that 40% of your long-tail keyword. But that’s why it’s important to look at the big picture and not let the conversion rate alone pick your keywords! In the long run, that broader keyword is going to send a lot more traffic and generate many more conversions than the long-tail keyword. Even if only ½ of the conversions from the broad keyword are as qualified leads as the long-tail that’s still 7 or 8 great leads a month (and just from one keyword). That’s more leads than the long-tail sends visitors!
Long-tail keywords are incredibly valuable for your SEO, and a well optimized website should incorporate a good mix of both long-tail and broad so you reach the widest and best possible target audience. Visitors that used long-tail keywords to find your site are more likely to convert but broader keywords are going to send more traffic your way, giving you more opportunities for conversion. That’s why you want a mix!
You can use Google Analytics account to evaluate which of your keywords currently have the highest conversion rate. With that information in mind, as you go through the keyword selection process you’ll be able to make better decisions about which new keywords to keep and old keywords to cut. For instance, let’s say you top performing keyword with a conversion rate of 27% only sends 15 visitors a month. But the #5 top performing keyword (with a conversion rate of 18%) sends over 400 visitors a month. You top converting keyword might not actually be as valuable as your #5 converting keyword in reality.
When optimizing your website, looking at a keyword’s conversion rate is a good way to determine if it’s worth keeping on your site. Remember, you should really only be targeting 2-5 keywords per page so some potential keywords just aren’t going to make the cut. The conversion rate is definitely a factor worth considering, but it shouldn’t be the only reason you decide to keep or lose a keyword.