Find keywords with high commercial intent and watch your sales skyrocket.Keyword research for search engine optimization falls somewhere between a science and an art. I’m a numbers guy and love the science of it, with a little research you can determine some very important facts for your keywords:
- Search volume
- Total traffic
- Estimated traffic at a given rank
- Relevance to your existing content
And if you drill down into the data further there are a slew of other useful tidbits you can dig up, but the one question that can’t be answered simply by looking at the numbers is:
“If I do the search engine optimization work and get the traffic for this keyword will they buy my stuff?”
We recently had a comment about this on our The Truth About Link Velocity blog post:
I’d like to thank Uwe for his comment, as it motivated me to write this post for you.
I’ve seen this before with new clients when they join our link building program. Maybe it’s happened to you?
You pick (or someone else picks) a keyword or group of keywords to target and spend time (usually months) and resources optimizing for them only to discover when you get top rankings (woohoo, we made it!) nothing happens…
You get an increase in traffic, but your sales are flat, the visitors are either bouncing back to the search engines or they are browsing around your site but not buying anything.
Now this just sucks… There is no other way to put it. You have worked hard and gotten the rankings, now where is the increase in leads and sales?
Well, I’d say about 99% of the time this is due to one of two reasons, and both can be easily fixed if you identify them.
Why they don’t buy reason #1:
Your offer (the stuff you’re selling) simply does not convert your traffic into leads or sales. If this is the case one of two things are going on: either your offer stinks and no amount of targeted traffic will generate sales or the page on your site the user landed on did not answer their question.
To try and figure out what your problem is take a look at your Google Analytics, specifically at your bounce rate and the time spent on the page.
If your bounce rate is low, and they are spending some time on your site, then I hate to say it, but your offer stinks. Fix it! Change your copy, add a bonus, split test everything, get some sales and conversion training, see what works and stick with it.
If you discover you have a high bounce rate, and people are just jumping right back to the search engines when they come to your site it means you are not answering the question they had. Take a look at the top referring keywords for your page and ask yourself what your users are looking for, what problem do they have that your stuff solves. If you answer that question in your content they will stick around, and if your offer is good they just might buy from you
Why they don’t buy reason #2:
Your keyword(s) has low commercial intent.
What the heck is commercial intent and why should you care?
Commercial intent is basically an indication of what the searcher wants to do based on the words they searched for.
In an oversimplified way we can break searches down into three main categories; navigational, information-seeking, and transactional. Lets say our searcher is interested in patio furniture:
- Navigational Queries: The searcher knows where they want to go and types in a brand name like “Sears”.
- Information-seeking Queries: The searcher wants to learn more about the subject and searches “different types of patio furniture”. Our searcher is in a discovery phase and researching the topic, they are most likely not ready to buy yet, but may be soon if they find the information they were looking for.
- Transactional Queries: These are the golden nuggets, in an ideal case our searcher would search to “buy patio furniture online”. Now we’re talking, this searcher already has their credit card in hand and is ready to make a purchase, the search “buy patio furniture online” certainly has a high commercial intent.
Comercial Intent Tools
Tools to help us identify the commercial intent of a search come and go, the best resource used to be provided as a service of the Microsoft Ad Center and was recently taken offline, and even when it was available it worked sporadicly. So we take an in-house “use your brain” approach to find the golden nugget keywords with high commercial intent.
When doing keyword research for clients we try to break down every keyword we are looking at by grading it’s commercial intent on a 1-10 scale (10 being the highest).
Now, like I mentioned earlier, this is not an exact science so please don’t beat me up about it. Just consider what a searcher wants to do when searching for a given keyword.
Here are a few examples for commercial intent values I would assign to keywords if I sold cell phones and accessories on my website:
- “Do cell phones cause brain cancer” 0 Commercial Intent
- “Distracted Driving” 1 Commercial Intent
- “Distracted Driving Solutions” 3 Commercial Intent
- “Cell Phone Reviews” 5 Commercial Intent
- “Buy Cell Phone” 7 Commercial Intent
- “Buy iPhone 4GS Online” 10 Commercial Intent
Someone searching for a keyword with 0 commercial intent is just looking for information or research, they are not in a buying mood. While someone that searches for a phrase with a commercial intent of 10 already has their wallet half way out of their pocket and is ready to buy. Obviously we want the 10’s, but I’ll typically optimize for anything 5 and over.
One more important fact to consider when choosing your keywords; the keywords you target MUST be SPECIFICALLY RELEVANT to the stuff you sell and the information on the page you are optimizing for it.
To take our “Buy iPhone 4GS Online” search as an example, it clearly has high commercial intent, and if we send our searcher to a page containing information about and selling the iPhone 4 I think it’s safe to say we have made a sale, however if they end up on a page that offers bluetooth headsets they are going to head right back to the search engines and find what they were originally looking for.
Your content must answer the users the question and provide a solution to the problem they searched for, pushing your own agenda here will get you nothing but an empty cash register.
If you don’t want to deal with search engine optimization, and simply want someone to discover high commercial intent keywords for your site and optimize for them, take a look at our search engine optimization service, most plans include keyword research…
If you have any questions or feedback please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!