<< by on October 16th, 2009
We do very extensive keyword research for all of our SEO clients to help them drive the greatest volume of relevant and targeted traffic possible. We always get the clients “buy in” and approval for those keyword choices.
Invariably, despite the approval of the keyword choices and the explanation of the actual process of how we are going to work on improving search engine rankings for those keywords, there comes a moment when we get some push back from some clients on making site content edits or on developing all new site content using those keywords. At that point, the conversation usually starts all over again as to why the keywords chosen really are the best choice.
Frequently, this is the “make or break” point when you learn if your SEO client has drank the “keyword data Kool-aid” and bought into doing what it takes to get a top ten ranking on their selected keywords. Common themes usually discussed at this point include:
- This keyword goes against the “brand image” that we want to be perceived as;
- I’d like to think that we are perceived as being a little more sophisticated than that keyword; or
- The semantics argument. Example: Our product is ______ software not ______ technology.
At this point, we usually have to revisit the goal of the site and the SEO work and it always comes down to “I want more sales!”
To meet that goal, you can’t ignore the data of how people actually search for what you are offering.
Example: You want to brand yourself as selling “Pre-Owned Certified Vehicles” but the simple reality is that most people just search for “used cars”. The difference in search traffic isn’t even close. Google’s keyword tool shows that “used cars” had approximately 1.2 million searches in September 2009 and “Pre-owned Certified Vehicles” didn’t even have any measurable search volume in September 2009.
Site Owners need to make the decision with their site content on what’s more important to them – More actionable targeted traffic (more sales) or maintaining their brand image with less actionable traffic (less sales).
Regardless of which direction the site owner decides to go, the keyword eventually selected is almost always going to have to have a page of the website devoted to it to get a top ten ranking. That keyword can’t just be tucked away into the unseen code of the web page – it has to be on the page and viewable by everyone that sees the page.
All of this sounds quite obvious, but it’s an almost constant issue, because there is frequently a disconnect between the marketing and branding minds in charge of a website and the data driven reality of how people actually search.
The “art” of SEO content editing takes both the reality of how people actually search for what a site is offering and melds it with a branding image or message.