There must be more nonsense written about key words and search terms than virtually any other subject on the net. No wonder everyone’s confused. There’s also a sporadic ‘are key words dead?’ debate that goes in and out of fashion.
Of course key words and and search terms matter. Even if algorithms ended tomorrow, visitors would still need to know they have come to the right site for the products or services they want.
But how much they matter – and what they should be – depends on a large number of factors. The key words and phrases potential visitors are using to find your products or services may not be as obvious as you might think (and owners of shiny new businesses often have difficult facing the fact that Jo Public uses far more basic and specific search terms than they anticipated). You may have developed a new product or service which no-one has really searched for before, so there are no precedents to help you. And search terms you consider obvious can put you in entirely the wrong ‘company’ in terms of actual listings.
Let’s say for example that your business provides specialist research for public sector bodies. If you use the search term ‘research services for public sector’ the top listings are an odd mixture of quangos, links to actual published research and … inevitably … large recruitment and IT consultants. This may initially look promising. Your specialist company has very little competition! It will achieve page 1 ranking with no trouble at all! But it also indicates few, if any, are using this key phrases as a search term to start with. And, if they do, you are likely to be outgunned by the headhunters who can afford to support their rankings with AdWord spend as well as a serious commitment to marketing, social media and PR.
Yes, there are apps that can help you analyse key words and search terms and there is no shortage of companies (mostly based a very long way from the UK) promising to help you achieve ‘number on in Google’ (without necessarily saying what for). But the truth is, for most businesses there is no simple, silver bullet and the ease of researching the ‘right’ key words/phrases is in direct proportion to the difficulty of achieving ranking for those search terms. Key words for ‘permanent makeup’ for example, are easily researched but the competition for page 1 ranking ferocious and (in most cases) dependent on a substantial AdWords spend.
But there is some good news. The knack of good key word research is to stop thinking about robotic short cuts and start thinking hard, and creatively, about the problem you are trying to solve.
At Two Lizards we believe time spent considering key words and phrases from all angles is always time well spent – even if your site is going to be more brochure than e-commerce.
And because we are primarily marketers rather than just web designers or web developers, we can consider your key word challenge from all angles. Not simply researching your competitors but considering the specific job your site has to do, the content, your strengths and weaknesses and a raft of other factors, before making initial recommendations.
Initial because, whatever anyone else has told you, organic SEO (unsupported by AdWords campaigns) is a gradual process in which learning from web analytics informs the development of the site. So key words/phrases which are attracting visitors are developed and other search terms added to send the number of visitors on an upward curve, month after month, year after year.
We are proud of the SEO work we have undertaken for companies as diverse as Showerpower, True Beauty Salon & Medispa and Akiko’s Music Room. For True Beauty, for example, we doubled the already considerable number of site visitors within a year.
Of course all this is only any good if the clicks turn into business. And that is where, again, our marketing focus makes a real difference. The SEO feedback we give our clients and the recommendations we make goes beyond key words/key phrases and visitor numbers to analyse ways in which the whole site can work as hard as possible to maximise leads and/or sales: for example constantly looking at navigation, making it easier for customers to respond or buy, making it less likely that they will bounce out of the site before they have the information you want them to see.
We also help our clients make full use of local business listings where relevant. As a Horsham-based advertising and marketing agency we are particularly knowledgeable about Surrey and West Sussex local area marketing but help clients all over the UK to make the most of what are mainly free listings and which can help, if used well, to boost rankings.
So next time you consider the question of key words or read a feature or blog promising magical insights into the workings of Google, consider this: key words and phrases are a tool – a powerful one – are so are only effective if working as part of an overall website and marketing strategy. And they take time and trouble to get right.
To find out how our key word research and SEO services can help you, simply email us or call us on 01403 731 028.