Category Archive: Paid Search

  1. 3 Remarketing for Search Strategies for Success

    Author: | 1 Comment

    Remarketing for Search is an amazing product that now allows you to utilize remarketing audiences in search. You can target audiences based around who has or hasn’t visited whatever page of your site that you want through different audience strategies. Combine all the various audience strategies with the various keyword strategies you could employ, and you’ve got yourself quite the list of options! Today, I’ll be showing you three strategies to get you started using Remarketing for Search successfully.

    Hopefully you’ve got your site coded with your universal AdWords remarketing tag, so you can build out audiences in AdWords based on URL now. If that’s the case, you should be able to see estimated audience sizes for Google Search based on audiences you’ve already built out. I’ve found when I create new audiences based on URLs, the estimates for audience size are at least there by the next day.

    sempo_remarketing1

     

     

     

     

    1. Marketing for Special Seasons/Sales

    The first strategy is utilizing special audiences and keyword lists in combination with remarketing for search during special seasonal or sale periods. A perfect example of this is an eCommerce site during Christmas. Think about the product or service you’re advertising during this special season. Think about all the super generic terms you could use to describe your product or service or that people could be searching for that could possibly result in a conversion for you. There’s a good chance you’d never bid on those keywords because they’re so crazy competitive and likely to have low CTR and low conversion rates, right? Well, with Remarketing for Search, you can pre-qualify your audience and actually use these crazy keywords!

    Using the example of an eCommerce site during Christmas, you’d want to target keyword lists that are generic for the season and for your items. So, let’s say it’s a site that sells a wide range of gifts. A possible keyword strategy for them would include “Christmas gifts,” “Stocking Stuffers,” etc. These keywords are very high volume in terms of searches and high competition during this time.

    sempo_remarketing2

     

     

     

     

    If you pre-qualify your audience for this campaign to be people who have visited your site, you could see great results. They’re already familiar with your brand, so if they hated you before and you make it clear in the ad who you are, they’ll likely choose not to click. But if they were semi-interested before, and choose to click over again, they’re way more likely to buy.

    This also allows you to lead to special landing pages. For stocking stuffers, the landing page could be the most popular items under $15, for example.

    If you’re familiar with remarketing, then you’re familiar with all the awesome custom combinations you can make to target specific people. The most popular option for this is targeting people who have put something in your cart and not actually purchased it. Also, with this awesome product, you can target multiple audiences and use the bid modification system to change your CPCs for each. It would look like this:

    sempo_remarketing3

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Here, I am saying that I want to show ads to all people who have visited my site, and I’ve set my CPCs to be appropriate for that size/quality of audience. However, if people have put something in the cart and not purchased it, I consider them more valuable and there are obviously fewer of them, so I want to bid an additional 40% to my max CPC.

    2. Use Negative Audiences To Exclude Valueless Traffic

    In the first strategy, I talked about how to target audiences with special keyword lists and modify the bids based on the quality of the audience. In this strategy, I’m going to talk about how to use negative audiences through Remarketing for Search to funnel traffic in your account, allowing you to better target and optimize.

    Like the eCommerce site at Christmas in the last strategy, I need an example, so I’m going to use a monthly subscription service site. It’s not surprising that this client doesn’t want to pay for clicks when someone is currently a paying member. Before Remarketing for Search, I would have just had to block their brand name and hoped for the best, even though that would leave our brand wide open for competitors to bid on and get top ad position.

    However, now, we can develop a strategy that will help out tremendously with this issue! You simply create an audience for the first page your members see after logging in, and then add that as an exclusion to all your search campaigns. This would prevent your ads from showing to anyone who is currently a paying member. That would look like this:

    sempo_remarketing4

     

     

     

     

    With this strategy, you can be sure anyone seeing an ad has not logged into your members site in however long you make your cookie live for (I would recommend the max cookie like, here).

    This strategy can also work if you’re trying to block people who use a part of your site that doesn’t make you money. Let’s say you have a retail portion to your site, but you also have a careers page. You might want to include an audience that targets your careers page as an exclusion at the campaign level in your branded campaigns. This would prevent any wasted spend where people are searching for your brand just to submit a resume.

    3. Include Audiences In Search Campaigns Just For Bid Modifiers

    In my first strategy, I went over how to develop special Remarketing for Search campaigns to target special keywords and audience combos. In the second one, I went over how to use negative audiences in your regular search campaigns to increase their value. In this third strategy, I’ll go over how to use targeted audiences in regular search campaigns to create a hybrid search and Remarketing for Search campaign that improves value through allowing bid modification for audiences.

    With this feature, you have the ability to layer any remarketing audience in with any search campaign. The difference between a strictly Remarketing for Search campaign and this hybrid version is the difference between targeting options for “bid only” and “target and bid.” In the “bid only” mode, you’re telling Google the bid modification you’d like for that audience, but telling it to continue showing to the general search audience for the keywords in that campaign as well. Here’s an example:

    sempo_remarketing5

     

     

     

     

    In this case, I’ve decided that people who have visited my sales page are more valuable than the general search audience, so I’d like to increase my CPCs by 20% for them. This allows me to set CPCs that are appropriate for the general search audience, but set specific ones for any remarketing audience I’d like, in accordance to their value/quality.

    In theory, if you are cool with people who have been to your site clicking on your ads, you could utilize this strategy in all your search accounts.

    Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily SEMPO.

  2. Battle for conversion

    Author: | 2 Comments

    When you have managed to attract traffic to your website, the next problem arises: how to lead visitors to the goals which we want them to complete, in other words – how to convert inbound traffic into sales.

    In this article you will find a review of several tools which could be used to increase the conversion and make users happy J.

    The process of conversion improvement consists of several stages. Each of them is equally important as the information obtained from the previous stage is used for the next one.

    It’s not difficult to increase the conversion

    You just need to:

    • understand website goals.
      Website goals may be of two types, at least – transitional and final. What final goal means is clear: for online store it could be purchase, for Groupon – sign up, and so forth. But on the path to this goal some transitional goals may exist.Important. Your goals and goals of your users are not always the same. Fancy dress and simple process of purchase are not synonyms. Think as a user, even as an inexperienced one.For example, users may want to fly to Thailand, others’ dream destination is Paris or Barcelona – they look for tickets many times, compare hotels, but make purchase only after several months. In this case the path from transitional goal to final is really long and this chain should be tracked.
    • define entry points and their distinction.
      Users which arrived from the organic search and frequent buyers may require different information from the service.
    • consider all possible paths from entry point to the goal.

    But it is not possible you may say! That is why it is required to define the most important paths and make them as easy as possible.

    • be flexible, monitor and experiment
      The most interesting part – on this stage the first three stages are run on circles, while you collect the information and study the results.

     

    Tools review: how to track and adjust the process

    So let’s say you are analyzing the website with information about air tickets. The main goals are: the search on site, newsletter sing up, and the most important, but suspended in time goal – air ticket purchase.  This feature – suspended goals – became available not so long ago, and it is really great option.

    After we have set up the goals, we need to gather the initial conversion statistics – it will be out starting point. Depending on goals number as well as visit and transaction frequency, the initial data could be collected in a few hours or several weeks.

    Setup goals may not only help evaluate the efficiency, but detect the website problems as well. For example, thanks to conversion report, you may find out that JS doesn’t work properly and half of users are not able to reach the goal.

    When initial data is finally at our disposal we can start out. Let’s look at the tools which may help us in this.

    We will begin with Yandex.Metrica
    Yandex. Metrica offers several marvelous tools for in-page analysis thanks to which you can understand what prevents the user from reaching the target page.

    Form analysis – one of the major tools used by online stores and service-based companies with unusual registration process. The instrument shows how many users began filling in the form, how many of them did to the completion and where majority abandoned the process. Excellent feature that helps create forms for people indeed.

    Link map – allow you to see where in fact users click, what interests them and how they use the navigation.

    Scroll map you will find out in seconds till what length the page “works”. The more content in blind zone, the more you will have to change.

    Click path analysis – gives you insight on how user arrives at your website, where he goes then and how close he is to the final point when he quits the process.
    The tools mentioned above fit the best for static analysis, meaning that before making such analysis, you will have to gather enough data for long period of time – week or month.
    Click map without additional settings is convenient to apply for such pages as the main page. But what to do if your website has lots of pages of similar type but with different URLs, and you would like to see the overall picture of users’ behavior?  This is where urlFilter comes handy. With the help of this filter you can group several pages into one. For example, if you wish to group all the pages in the search on site you will have to write the following piece of code:
    yaCounter.clickmap({

    urlFilter: function(urlOrig) {

    var url = window.location.pathname.toLowerCase(),

    prefix = ‘http://’ + window.location.host;

    if (url.substr(0, 8) === ‘/search/’) {

    return prefix + url.substr(0, 11);

    }

    // other groups

    // …

    return urlOrig;

    }

    });
    In the report you will see these pages with full URLs, but when you will view the map, the result will be common for all the pages.

    Webvisor – a unique and free of charge function in Yandex.Metrica. Some time ago Webvisor was a separate product, but in 2010 Yandex purchased the code along with the team and starting from 2011 this functionality is a part of Metrica tools.

    Webvisor allows to view users’ activity in motion, it records their actions – clicks, filling in the forms, moving mouse (it is a separate and fun bonus which indicates that user was bored and needed some useful information to entertain)  – and then plays it for you as a video.

    Webvisor comes into play if there is a page which users steadily leave and you need to find out why they can’t continue the path and reach the goal.

    Now let’s talk about Google Analytics
    These days Google is transforming Analytics from just statistical instrument into A/B tests and usability experiments platform.  You will find an enormous functionality there.

    Universal Analytics is a Google Analytics future. Not all the features in Universal Analytics work properly at the moment, as they are in beta version, but, no doubt, they offer great functionality. New Analytics version works faster, offers wider limits, allows sending queries from backend, and so on. Besides, new opportunities of Google Analytics will be implemented only in Universal version.
    We are interested in Conversions section.

    The last three ones (Reverse Goal Path, Funnel Visuzlization и Goal Flow) allow to see the overall picture of what is going on the website even for really large projects.

    If additionally to this features you will set up events, you will be able to receive the picture of how user navigates through your website.

    For example, Goal Flow report gives you a visual picture of how visitors arrived at your website and reached the goal, and whether they took the path you expected them to or there was another funnel.

    Now let’s talk about the most advanced and cool Google Analytics functionality – ability to transmit events from server and tracking them offline!

    For example, the same website offering information about air tickets, doesn’t sell anything itself – the purchase is completed on third-party website, so we can’t track the event as are not able to place tracking code there. With the time we receive sales data, but it is still unclear, what source contributed the most.

    Google helps everyone who has transaction offline solve this problem.

    Google unified the interface responsible for the interaction with analytics servers. All the queries come to URL www.google-analytics.com/collect and acquire the same set of parameters, regardless whether we use backend-e or frontend-e. The one distinction is that in js-e we have at our disposal already finished and useful function with the help of which we can send any events:

    // connecting analytics.js

    ga(‘create’, ‘UA-XXXX-Y’);

    ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘category’, ‘action’, ‘label’, value);
    On the server side thought the whole query is sent as POST payload, coded in form-urlencoded

    POST /collect HTTP/1.1
    Host: www.google-analytics.com

    v=1
    &tid=UA-XXXX-Y
    &cid=555
    &t=event
    &ec=category
    &ea=action
    &el=label
    &ev=value
    You may notice the additional parameter cid — client ID. This is also a new opportunity in Universal Analytics. If before only Analytics could define what a visitor is, now we can manually specify our ID.
    Here is the official documentation to help anyone, who would like to try offline tracking out.

    This method could be applied for conferences, shops, concerts. You just give the users unique coupons and then check in Google Analytics events whether the user has made the purchase.
    Working on conversion improvement could be an endless process. Once there is new chapter on the website, new functionality or special offer, it is time to start working towards better usability, higher conversion and website simplicity.

    If you are already using offline analytics from Google, please tell us about this in the comments below!

     

    Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily SEMPO.

  3. Google Not Provided: Privacy Issue or Just a Ploy to Get More AdWords Sales?

    Author: | 10 Comments

    GoogleNotProvided Just last week, numerous SEO blogs and news outlets reported that Google is soon going to start encrypting all search activity both for users who
    are signed in as well as those who are not. The only exception will be clicks on ads, which Google will not encrypt. As you can image, this has many marketers up in arms and others simply scratching their heads wondering what comes next. Are there going to be any benefits for marketers, or is this the end of keyword data as we know it?

    The Quick Basics: What Does Google “Not Provided” Mean? Hubspot reminded us that the discussion of encryption actually started back in October 2011 when Google announced that any users who are logged in to a Google product (Google+, Gmail, YouTube, etc.) would have encrypted search results. Essentially, a marketer would not be allowed to see the keywords someone used before visiting his/her company’s website, so knowing which keywords to optimize for was a struggle. As any good marketer knows, keyword insights open the door not only for optimizing an actual webpage but also for improving content marketing, retargeting, identifying audience, and much more.

    The Real Reason Why: Is Google Doing this to Enhance Their AdWords Sales? Google is claiming it is for extra protection for searchers—a completely valid reason that makes sense. However, many in the field are a bit skeptical. Marketing Land feels that Google might be attempting to block NSA spying activity, while Search Engine Watch threw out the idea that Google might soon release a new “premium” version of Google Analytics where users would pay a monthly fee in order to get access to full keyword data. A more popular opinion is that it could be to drive more people to use Google AdWords. Since ad clicks are not part of this new announcement, how can we not jump to that conclusion? Many are telling small businesses to use AdWords in order to gather this organic data. Consider some quotes from around the web:

    - QuickSprout: “Even if Google goes with ‘not provided’ for all your data, you can still uncover new keyword opportunities by using keyword research tools or spending money on AdWords.”

    - Search Engine Watch: “At this time advertisers still get full keyword referral data from Google, while there is speculation this could change sometime in the future, there is also the necessity for advertisers to be able to determine conversions from the traffic they are paying for.”

    - Search Engine Roundtable: Coming from a Webmaster World thread, “Go fully broad match on every single keyword and pay AdWords for your data.”

    - Moz: “Optionally, we can use AdWords to bid on branded terms and phrases. When we do that, you might want to have a relatively broad match on your branded terms and phrases so that you can see keyword volume that is branded from impression data.”

    You certainly can’t blame anyone for giving users this advice because it is good advice. In fact, we’d give that advice ourselves. In short, Google’s plan has worked perfectly. It’s clear that AdWords is going to benefit and privacy was just a secondary thought in Google’s mind that happened to work perfectly when informing the public. Nevertheless, for now all we can really do is believe Google and move on to the next part of any announcement—create a new strategy that works.

    Your Reaction: What to Do With Google Not Provided The first thing to understand is that the new change isn’t going anywhere so it’s time to react, whether you agree with Google’s decision or not. Fortunately, there are ways to cope without falling into their trap and spending a lot more money on AdWords; there are still things that you can measure using search data that isn’t necessarily keyword data. Consider some of your options below:

    - Other search engines. The keyword trends you will find with search engines such as Bing and Yahoo are very similar to those you would find on Google. These engines have not encrypted their keyword data, so put your focus here and on the keywords that work.

    - Traffic from organic. You might not be able to see the exact keywords people are using to find your website but that doesn’t mean you can’t see your overall organic traffic just like you’ve done in the past. It might take a bit more work, but figure out what you’re doing in the way of keywords and how your traffic is performing and then find correlations.

    - Use filters and track landing pages. You might not be able to see the exact keyword someone used, but if you can set up a filter on all of the ‘not provided’ traffic and see which landing page those people landed on, you can get an idea of what it was they were searching for when they came to your website.

    - Google Webmaster Tools. You can view your top pages and top search queries in GWT where you get clicks. Although you can’t see anything past 90 days, it’s still something that can help you keep track of your progress.

    - Google Trends. This will help you see quickly if you are improving or you need to ramp up your efforts.

    In the end, this Google update is just something else that will force marketers to adapt, but it isn’t going to take away your job or ruin your chances in the results pages (after all, everyone is in the same boat). Many see this as a positive move for the industry because it will force websites to create great content and put a focus on things that will really produce a great website. As a user, you’re going to be a little bit safer. Do you think this change was for privacy reasons, or do you think Google was more interested in lining their pockets with some increased AdWords sales? What are you going to do in response? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.

     

    Photo Credit: lumicall.org

    Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for the nationally recognized SEO agency HigherVisibility.com that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country.


    Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily SEMPO.

  4. Battle for Conversion

    Author: | 2 Comments

    When you have managed to attract traffic to your website, the next problem arises: how to lead visitors to the goals we want them to complete; in other words – how to convert inbound traffic into sales.

    In this article you will find a review of several tools that can be used to increase the conversion and make users happy.

    The process of conversion improvement consists of several stages. Each of them is equally important as the information obtained from the previous stage is used for the next one.

    It’s not difficult to increase the conversion

    You just need to:

    Understand website goals - Website goals may be of two types, at least – transitional and final. What final goal means is clear: for online stores, it could be purchase; for Groupon, sign up; and so forth. But on the path to this goal, some transitional goals may exist.

    Important. Your goals and the goals of your users are not always the same. Fancy dress and simple process of purchase are not synonyms. Think as a user, even as an inexperienced one.

    For example, some users may want to fly to Thailand; others’ dream destination is Paris or Barcelona. They look for tickets many times and compare hotels, but they make a purchase only after several months. In this case, the path from transitional goal to final is really long, and this chain should be tracked.

    Define entry points and their distinction - Users who arrived from the organic search and frequent buyers may require different information from the service.

    Consider all possible paths from entry point to the goal - But it is not possible you may say! That is why it is required to define the most important paths and make them as easy as possible.

    Be flexible, monitor, and experiment - The most interesting part – on this stage the first three stages are run on circles, while you collect the information and study the results.

    Tools review: how to track and adjust the process

    So let’s say you are analyzing the website with information about air tickets. The main goals are: the search on site, newsletter sign up, and, the most important but suspended in time goal – air ticket purchase. This feature – suspended goals – became available not so long ago, and it is really great option.

    After we have set up the goals, we need to gather the initial conversion statistics – it will be our starting point. Depending on goals number as well as visit and transaction frequency, the initial data could be collected in a few hours or over several weeks.

    Setting up goals may not only help evaluate the efficiency but detect website problems as well. For example, thanks to the conversion report, you may find out that JS doesn’t work properly and half of users are not able to reach the goal.

    When initial data is at our disposal we can start out. Let’s look at the tools that can help us in this.

    We will begin with Yandex.Metrica

    Yandex. Metrica offers several marvelous tools for in-page analysis that you can use to understand what prevents the user from reaching the target page.sempo blog xx

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Form analysis – one of the major tools used by online stores and service-based companies with unusual registration process. The instrument shows how many users began filling in the form, how many of them did so to completion, and where the majority abandoned the process. Excellent feature that helps create forms for people indeed.

    2

     

     

     

     

     

    Link map – allow you to see where users click, what interests them, and how they use the navigation.

    Scroll map – you will find out in seconds to what length the page “works.” The more content in the blind zone, the more you will have to change.

    Click path analysis – gives you insights into how a user arrives at your website, where he goes then, and how close he is to the final point when he quits the process.

    The tools mentioned above work best for static analysis, meaning that before making such analysis, you will have to gather enough data for a long period of time – week or month.

    Click map without additional settings is convenient to apply for such pages as the main page. But what to do if your website has lots of pages of similar type but with different URLs, and you would like to see the overall picture of users’ behavior? This is where urlFilter comes in handy. With the help of this filter, you can group several pages into one. For example, if you wish to group all the pages in the search on site, you will have to write the following piece of code:

    yaCounter.clickmap({
    urlFilter: function(urlOrig) {
    var url = window.location.pathname.toLowerCase(),
    prefix = ‘http://’ + window.location.host;
    if (url.substr(0, 8) === ‘/search/’) {
    return prefix + url.substr(0, 11);
    }
    // other groups
    // …
    return urlOrig;
    }
    });

    In the report, you will see those pages with full URLs, but when you view the map, the result will be common for all the pages.

    Webvisor – a unique, free-of-charge function in Yandex.Metrica. Some time ago, Webvisor was a separate product, but in 2010, Yandex purchased the code along with the team, and since 2011, this functionality is a part of Metrica tools.

    Webvisor allows viewing users’ activity in motion. It records their actions – clicks, filling in the forms, moving mouse (it is a separate and fun bonus that indicates that user was bored and needed some useful information to entertain) – and then plays it for you as a video.

    Webvisor comes into play if there is a page that users steadily leave, and you need to find out why they can’t or don’t continue the path and reach the goal.

    3

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Now let’s talk about Google Analytics

    These days Google is transforming Analytics from just a statistical instrument into A/B tests and usability experiments platform. You will find an enormous functionality there.

    Universal Analytics is a Google Analytics feature. Not all the features in Universal Analytics work properly at the moment, as they are in beta version, but, no doubt, they offer great functionality. The new Analytics version works faster, offers wider limits, allows sending queries from the backend, and so on. Besides, new opportunities of Google Analytics will be implemented only in the Universal version.

    We are interested in the Conversions section.

    4

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The last three Conversion Goals – Reverse Goal Path, Funnel Visualization, and Goal Flow – allow you to see the overall picture of what is going on the website even for really large projects.

    If additionally to this features you will set up events, you will be able to receive the picture of how user navigates through your website.

    For example, Goal Flow report gives you a visual picture of how visitors arrived at your website and reached the goal, and whether they took the path you expected or if there was another funnel.

    5

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Now let’s talk about the most advanced and cool Google Analytics functionality – ability to transmit events from server and tracking them offline!

    For example, the same website offering information about air tickets doesn’t sell anything itself – the purchase is completed on a third-party website, so we can’t track the event as we are not able to place tracking code there. In time, we receive sales data, but it is still unclear as to what source contributed the most.

    Google helps everyone who has transactions offline solve this problem.

    Google unified the interface responsible for the interaction with analytics servers. All the queries come to URL www.google-analytics.com/collect and acquire the same set of parameters, regardless of whether we use backend-e or frontend-e. The one distinction is that in js-e we have at our disposal already finished and useful function with the help of which we can send any events:

    // connecting analytics.js
    ga(‘create’, ‘UA-XXXX-Y’);
    ga(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘category’, ‘action’, ‘label’, value);

    On the server side, though, the whole query is sent as POST payload, coded in form-urlencoded

    POST /collect HTTP/1.1
    Host: www.google-analytics.com

    v=1
    &tid=UA-XXXX-Y
    &cid=555
    &t=event
    &ec=category
    &ea=action
    &el=label
    &ev=value

    You may notice the additional parameter cid — client ID. This is also a new opportunity in Universal Analytics. If before, only Analytics could define what a visitor is, now we can manually specify our ID.

    Here is the official documentation to help anyone who would like to try offline tracking.

    This method could be applied for conferences, shops, concerts. You just give the users unique coupons and then check in Google Analytics events whether the user has made the purchase.

    Working on conversion improvement could be an endless process. Once there is a new chapter on the website, new functionality or special offer, it is time to start working toward better usability, higher conversion, and website simplicity.

    If you are already using offline analytics from Google, please tell us about this in the comments below!

    Roman Viliavin, Partner at Promodo SEM Company.

    Unconventional Thinker and candidate master of chess. Roman has been working in the field of search engine optimization since 2005 and is the moving spirit of the company. Participant and speaker of all major events in SEO business. Roman has successfully completed dozens of projects and gladly shares his experience with SEO community via articles and various online and offline publications. Follow Roman on Twitter and Facebook.

  5. Do Your Keywords Account for Every Stage of the Customer Buying Cycle?

    Author: | 1 Comment

    At the end of the day, the main goal of most SEO campaigns is to drive more targeted, organic, non-branded traffic from the SERPs to your website. The keywords you target on your site and with your content marketing efforts have a significant impact on the kinds of searches your website will rank for. Not everyone is going to search for the same thing in the same way, and depending on where searchers are in their buying cycle, they might be looking for different kinds of information. That’s why your keywords have to cover every stage of the customer buying cycle and include both informational and commercial keywords.

    Informational Keywords

    Informational keywords tend to have the highest amount of search volume because they are being used by searchers at the very beginning of their buying cycle and can lead searchers down many paths. Since these keywords have more search volume, they are “worth” a lot more to the companies targeting them with their SEO, since even 10% of 20,000 searches from one keyword would be a nice bump in organic traffic. This increase in competition makes it that much harder to rank well in the SERPs for these informational keywords, simply because so many other sites are fighting for top billing.

    Let’s say I am an inventor and I need to hire a patent attorney. I have no idea how much I should pay for their services, how to tell if a patent attorney is trustworthy, and so forth. So my searches for “patent attorney” are going to involve more informational and broad keywords at the beginning as I’m looking to gather as much information as I can before making a final decision.  As I learn more, I might search for things like “patenting my idea,” “how to patent my invention,” “invention patent,” and more.

    Broader keywords don’t usually convert as well as long-tail keywords because, as I mentioned before, they can take so many directions based on user intent. For instance, when I did a quick search for “patent attorney” the 4th site I saw in the SERPs (after all the local listings) was about how someone can become a patent attorney. As an inventor, that doesn’t help me very much. However, an actual patent attorney isn’t going to avoid targeting “patent attorney” as a keyword simply because some of the searchers might be looking for a new career path. This informational keyword could drive a lot of potential business to their site early on in the buying cycle, giving them more time to educate, inform, and build a rapport with those visitors. As the inventor, I might not pick up the phone and call the first result I click on, but maybe I scope out their services, read some of the blog, download a white paper about filing patents, and file that particular attorney away in the back of my mind. As I continue my searching and move further along my buying cycle, if I see that site again I might be more inclined to click back over.

    Informational keywords are an important part of your SEO program because they can help introduce your website to a wider audience and help turn your company into a resource for those customers as they move through their buying cycle.

    Commercial Keywords

    Commercial keywords tend to be used by searchers who are further along in their buying cycle and are getting ready to pull the trigger. Obviously words like “buy,” “download,” “order,” and so forth are strong indicators that someone is looking to convert soon, but not every commercial keyword has to include a purchasing word like those. For example, let’s say I was interested in starting a vegetable garden in my backyard. My informational searches might be things like “planting a vegetable garden, “easy vegetables to grow,” “first time gardening tips,” and so forth. I’m not necessarily looking to buy anything just yet; I’m just trying to get a better understanding of what I’m getting myself into. However, as I move through my buying cycle and am getting ready to actually start planting, my searches might evolve to included things like “vegetable garden starter kit,” “vegetable garden soil mix,” or “raised vegetable garden bed.”  I don’t specifically say I want to buy something in my search phrase, but what I am searching for indicates I’m looking for a specific thing as opposed to general information.

    Commercial keywords are an important part of your SEO campaign because these are the keywords that tend to make the money. While the conversion rate might be higher, more long-tail and specific keywords also tend to have a smaller search volume, meaning a smaller pie for you to drive traffic from. For instance, “vegetable gardening” might drive 3,000 visitors to a particular site while “organic vegetable garden pesticides” may only send 50 in the same time frame. However, someone using the more commercial keyword knows what they are looking for specifically and might be more inclined to buy sooner rather than later.

    When it comes to SEO, you have to make certain that your keywords cover all stages of the buying cycle—all the way from the initial information gathering phase right up until the point where they pull out their credit card. Depending on what you are selling and how much it costs, the buying cycle might take several months to complete. Imagine if you had to lay down $10,000 for a product—you would probably take your time, right? Or your customer’s buying cycle could be relatively short if it’s a relatively straightforward purchase. But a good SEO campaign seeks to target both informational and commercial keywords because it helps your website appear in the SERPs for the broadest possible audience.

    About the Author

    Nick Stamoulis is the President of Boston SEO solutions company Brick Marketing (http://www.brickmarketing.com/). With over 13 years of industry experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his SEO knowledge by writing in the Brick Marketing Blog and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO newsletter, read by over 120,000 opt-in subscribers.

    Contact Nick Stamoulis at 781-999-1222 or nick@brickmarketing.com