<< by on January 29th, 2009
Keyword selection is often one of the most difficult tasks that we have a hard time getting clients to “Buy In” on. We do exhaustive research to find the optimal keywords for each client based on their product or service offering and give clients that research to show the benefits and drawbacks to each keyword choice for optimization.
Invariably, the conversation of “brand” comes up. Companies spend millions trying to come up with the exact phraseology to give their product a service offering a positive perception with customers as being better than it really is. The problem is very few people really buy into this kind of “language” when searching. The search volume numbers clearly show that as the case in almost every instance, with the exception of actually well known brand names.
Case in point: almost every automotive manufacturer has a program for “certified pre-owned vehicles”. Brand-centric people might be aghast at actually calling those products “used cars”, as it might damage the carefully created perception that they have crafted with using terms like “certified” or “pre-owned”. The facts are that in SEO you shouldn’t ignore the most relevant search term with the most volume just to promote your branding message. Doing so essentially eliminates HUGE quantities of relevant traffic. Searchers after all are looking for relevance to their search query more than the warm happy feeling that your brand message might be portraying.
We have had clients in very cutting edge technologies that have told us. ‘I don’t care what the search numbers say, our product is so new and more advanced than the typical “Widget” we want to differentiate our product and “name” it our own name. Searchers will learn to find it over time.’ This “chicken and egg” strategy almost always results in a number one search engine ranking for a search term that never gets any traffic.
I’m not saying to ignore the ways you want to “brand” your product or service. But if you are selling a “Widget” don’t banish calling it a “Widget” on your website content and don’t ignore the term “Widget” as an SEO keyword, just to promote how you would rather be perceived. If your product is “widget” software and the overwhelming majority of people perceive it as “widget” technology don’t get all bent out of shape about calling it technology if it means you get incrementally more traffic that is still highly relevant.
Study your analytics and know the keywords that people use to find your product. It usually goes against the brand you would like to promote. Do you sell a “Widget X-3500i”, well chances are searchers overwhelmingly search without your preferred use of dashes and spaces, instead searching “Widget X3500 I”. Do you sell a “5-door” car? Chances are searchers know it as a “hatchback” instead, despite your insistence on trying to distance the car from the term “hatchback”.
The point is your product or service is what searchers perceive it to be. You have to acknowledge it and optimize your SEO to it. It’s possible to “brand” your offering how you would like it to be known and use the best SEO keywords at the same time, just be clever with your copy writing.