Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Keyword Research
Your keyword research is not set in stone. The best keywords for your SEO program are bound to change as your business, industry and searcher behavior evolves. For instance, the concept of “social media marketing” didn’t even exist until a few years ago and now it gets 165,000 searches a month in the US alone. This now highly coveted keyword has also spurned thousands of long tail variations including phrases like “social media marketing consultant,” “social media for small businesses,” “social media analytics” and many, many more. The most successful businesses recognize when the lexicon of their industry is changing and evolve with it. The best SEO programs are the ones that are willing to adapt and change as needed—if a keyword just isn’t working for you and your audience why waste your time on it?
That’s why periodic keyword analysis is so important for SEO. You need to make sure you are still targeting the right keywords for the right audience and that those keywords are actually driving traffic to your site. But what should site owners be looking for during their keyword analysis? How can you tell what keywords are and aren’t the right fit for your website?
Organic traffic from year to year.
One of my favorite things about Google Analytics is that it lets you compare date from year to year. This is a great way to see what kind of impact your non-branded keywords have had on your website. If a keyword is “working” for you, keyword analysis should show a noticeable growth in organic traffic from year to year coming to your site thanks to that keyword.
For instance, let’s say during your onsite optimization process you decided to target the keyword “social media marketing consultant” on your website. In 2011 that keyword sent 123 people to your site but in 2012 it sent 347—that’s a good sign that keyword is working well for you. On the other hand, if in 2011 it sent 123 people and in 2012 it only drove 59 organic visitors something might be up. Are people still searching for consultants or are they looking more for experts? Have you been creating content that focuses on your expertise as social media marketing consultant or have you been targeting other keywords? A rise is organic traffic is fairly straightforward, but a loss of traffic might be attributed to a variety of factors worth looking into. Keyword analysis helps point the rest of your SEO analysis in the right direction.
Keyword conversion rate.
Let’s say “social media marketing consultant” sent 123 people to your site in 2011 and 19 of them converted (filled out a lead form, downloaded a white paper, etc). That’s a 15% conversion rate. Now in 2012 you saw 347 visitors from that same keyword and 57 of them converted. That’s a 16% conversion rate. While there is no “right” keyword conversion rate, keyword analysis can tell you what keywords are doing the best job of driving traffic to your site AND how well those keywords are doing at driving the right traffic to your site (via the conversion rate). Getting more traffic is good, but getting more targeted traffic is better. Keyword conversion rate shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all of your keyword analysis, but it is one more data point worth looking at.