Monday, July 20, 2009

Keyword Wars - Episode 1

Keywords deserve more attention than the brief discussion on the long and short tail in our last post. If you do any business on the internet, or believe any of your customers use the internet to find your company, the more you know about keywords the more you will be able to take advantage of their power to attract customers.

Keywords are the words and terms web surfers use to find information on the internet. Studies indicate that surfers respond better to information that repeats the keywords they used to find it. In other words, if someone enters the term “red tissue paper kites” into a search engine, he or she will be more likely to choose a result that delivers exactly that keyword term.In addition, search engines will present results that most closely fit the search term. So, if you sold kites and created content and link information for your web site using the term “red tissue paper kites”, and your competition didn’t, your site would be listed at or near the top of the results – and the customer would be more likely to choose your link because it’s near the top of the rankings and it reflects exactly what he is looking for.

The big question is – what are the words and terms that potential customers use to find companies and products like yours on the internet? Search engines want you to succeed on the internet because, if you do, you will likely spend more on internet marketing. To help you get started, there are a number of free keyword search tools, such as Google Adwords Keyword Search Tool, that you can use to find the search terms that relate to your company, product and market segment.

That’s the start. Keywords are very powerful tools and your competition has the same access and ability to use them as you do. Depending on your business segment, keyword competition can be fierce – and costly. Fortunately, there are ways to put keywords to work for your internet marketing without necessarily breaking the bank. Using the long tail keywords we discussed in the last post is one of them.

In Our Next Episode:

Luke finds Leia in grave danger – what keywords will he use on his PDA to find a solution?!

By Stephen Da Cambra

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Long & Short Tail Tales

Search keywords are hot commodities.
As we all learn more about how our customers shop on the internet, keywords open a link between seller and buyer.

Keywords take the guesswork out of your internet marketing. Enter the name of your product or industry into a keyword search tool and ~ * poof * ~ you have all the words and terms your potential customers use to find your business or product on the internet. Use those words and terms in your internet marketing and watch your conversion rates go up.

That’s the good news. The bad news is: you are not alone in knowing the good news. Every day, more businesses learn more about how their prospects use the internet and the value of keywords. Depending on your industry, countless other companies could be creating web content using exactly the same keywords as you. Pity the poor shoe store trying to get noticed by internet customers for terms like “shoes” and “footwear” – imagine the number of other companies trying to get ranked on search engines for the same keywords. Loyal readers of this blog will know that if you are not on the first page of search results – a total of 10 spots – you are as good as invisible on the internet.

The Long and Short of It

Luckily, there’s more good news. While there might be lots of competition for rankings on the most popular keywords in your market segment, there are many other keywords that, while not as popular, still produce results. Their lack of popularity makes it easier to get good rankings for them.

In our shoe store example, while a Google search for “shoes” produced 302,000,000 results, a search for “leather sandals” got only 10,000,000 results.

If the keyword popularity for any given industry is graphed, it would probably look a little like the image above.

Tale of The Short Tail – Relatively few keywords enjoying lots of search popularity. Getting a good ranking when your customers use these keywords will get results, but it will cost more and take more time.

Tale of The Long Tail – Lots of keywords with fewer searches. In some cases, ranking can be had for long tail keywords without too much effort – and for a lower cost.

The Moral of the Story

Chasing short tail keywords can have a huge payoff, but they carry a heavy price tag. Similar results can be had by ranking for a number of different long tail keywords – for less cost and less effort.

The End

(Not really "The End", keyword marketing is, so far, a never ending story about finding out as much as you can about your customers’ internet shopping habits.)
By Stephen Da Cambra