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An SEO’s Ultimate Keyword Primer


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Keyword basics

Key·words (ke’wûrds’) — the cornerstone of search engine optimization (SEOand search engine marketing (SEM).

Every aspect of crafting a website-for-profitrevolves delicately around carefully chosen and strategically placed keywords. Behind the scenes of every top-ranking sales page lies a company’s systematic campaign to win dominance in an escalating battle over specifically targeted keywords. The stakes can be high. Billions of $$ have already been earned and billions more are in the queue waiting to be tapped.

Clearly, keywords are big business. There’s much to be gained by getting them right. Go slowly! Select carefully! …while the effort required can be great, the rewards for mastering the trade are substantial. Keywords may very well be ‘key’ to the greatest financial opportunities of our time.

So, you think you understand keywords?

Maybe you do. Maybe not. Know for a certainty that before you take another step toward online profitability, your degree of success will be mirrored by your own comprehension of all nuances that revolve around the concept of keywords, such as—

  • what they are,
  • when they will be used,
  • how to find them,
  • and what to do with them once you have them.

The money keywords that trigger sales.

Keywords are the words and phrases people use in their online searches. Be aware that sometimes the searcher’s motives are purely academic. Other times it’s research in preparation for making a purchase decision at a later time (maybe 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, 5 months?). Typically this time span relates to the dollar amount being spent, someone spending $20 will not typically spend the amount of time researching a product as one that spends $500.

Therefore, with large ticket items the process often involves a number of websites, and in today’s market many variables can be in play. We have different platforms and devices such as Desktop or Mobile, Local or Non-Local, Social influence and platforms and even good old word of mouth – these all will typically play a part in the purchase process.

However, a money-transaction ensues only in the final case, when a researcher becomes a buyer and uses specific keywords to locate the product or service they know they want to purchase.Of course, a site might use keywords tempered for all steps of the buying process. But realize that it’s only in the latter case—when a searcher becomes a buyer— that there’s any statistically significant chance for an online company to make a sale in an unbroken…

keyword > search results > go to website > add to cart > complete sale

…buying process.

So, while all steps of this purchasing research process involve keywords, only one type (statistically speaking) consistently leads to making sales. That’s why today’s professional SEM’s (search engine marketers) stress and strain to identify the keywords customers are using when they are ready to BUY their product or service.

Sure, their secondary focus is to work keywords into their information pages that funnel (re)searchers to sales pages as they’re preparing themselves to buy. But the professionals know the difference. They know to focus their efforts on determining exactly which keywords people use to buy and which ones they use to research. Then they reverse-engineer the process by building their buy keyword-pages first before broadening their focus toward crafting their information pages that’ll capture the (re)searchers as well.

For example…

If a consumer is looking to buy a new tablet, they might keyword (re)search Google for tablet. Obviously, they’ll get results that offer a wide variety of brands with an almost endless selection of features. At this stage they are researching.

After seeing so many results, they will begin to research what is the best brand and model for their purposes. Soon they may learn about why some people like iPad’s better than Android tablets, and vice versa, why many prefer Android. Quite likely many will ask their friends, or be influenced by their friends choice in tablets via social media like Facebook. Eventually they will narrow their search down to a particular brand and model based on this research, and they are ready to BUY.

At some point they become convinced the Google Pixel C is what they want and has all the awesome new features available Let’s suppose it becomes their tablet of choice.

That’s when the savvy online shopper enters a highly specific keyphrase—something like Google Pixel C …lo and behold, here’s what Google returns:

Google Pixel C Tablet SERP

It doesn’t take a behavioral science major to figure out that one of these top listed sites is likely to get that consumer’s purchase as soon as the (re)searcher turns into a buyer.

Ironically, those informational ‘funnel pages’—the pages that scored well for keywords like Best Android TabletTablet Reviews10″ tablet, and so forth are what primed the pump for this sale. But, ultimately, they were left out in the cold like the nice guy on a blind date with a hottie who’s still pining away over her last boyfriend.

While TabletAndroid, and Reviews were important keywords, the page that got the girl, …uh, sale, was the page with the specific tablet model. We’re not alone in this theory, notice what search queries trigger Google’s Merchant Feed / Shopping Knowledge panel, when you see Google Shopping show up, that was a Query with Purchase Intent that shoppers have used in the past. Google’s AI isn’t dumb, it has billions of data points to work with, and that shopping panel on the right is a very BIG clue.

So, your job is to also reverse engineer the keyword buying process for your market, making sure your pages score well in the keyword searches your customers are using to buy. Once you’ve covered that base, then you can build your informational funnel pages to help snag more of them.