The longer I work in the SEO industry, the more I realize that Keyword Phrase Analysis is one of the most important parts of a search engine marketing campaign. These days, my process involves working
directly with the business owner and/or marketing director, and creating at least 2 to 3 versions of the report. Obviously, the final version will be the most complete and comprehensive and the previous ones are destroyed to avoid any future confusion.
Why do this? From an optimizer’s perspective, I understand deeply how people search on the Internet, but I will never know what each individual keyword phrase truly represents to a client. This is one reason why I ask the client to explain their business model to me in layman’s terms and also explain the different type of product/service groups they offer with corresponding sales percentages. By doing this, I better understand where the opportunities are, and also what “SEO direction” the clients wishes to head towards.
When the first “Version 1” report is created, I have an immediate conference call with the customer to review it. The first thing we do is remove any phrases that are not applicable, then, we quickly discuss each individual phrase and how it impacts their business. Also, the client usually adds phrases to the list because the review process creates/stimulates new thoughts they didn’t have previously. It’s sort of like thinking about one thing and it leads you to think about something you previously never considered. You can see how the ‘back and forth’ ultimately creates a really good targeted list.
In the worst cases of keyword analysis, websites are optimized for undesirable terms that continually bring in the wrong type of customer. In addition, this lead generation problem occupies their staff’s time with having to answer emails and phone calls, which either results in a “zero sale,” or the lead is referred to another business who actually offers that solution. How does this happen? Usually it is because the SEO provider offered to research the keywords and the customer approved the work without actually taking a look at it. In even worse scenarios, the customer submits a list of words to the optimizer, and they are not run through the proper SEO research software to verify they are even viable terms. Viable terms are considered phrases that have a sufficient number of searches per month with an associated reasonable level of competition. Either way, this problem occurs because both parties did not collaborate and the customer was not properly advised by a professional.
With the best cases, an ever growing flow of good, new customer traffic is being either sold to via an online shopping cart, or the website email form is being answered along with a ringing telephone. As more visitor traffic arrives on the site, usability reviews should be done at least twice per year, because the lost opportunity cost of having a less than adequately functioning website can be massive. Another good rule of thumb is to refresh the keyword research report every six months because search behavior changes over time. There may be new industry words to gain and/or the customer may be offering a new product line or service the website is not currently featuring.
In summary, never forget the first impressions are the most important. The optimizer and customer should work together methodically, using each other’s knowledge of their field in a collaborative effort to uncover the best opportunities for keyword phrases. Another great byproduct of this effort is that a more professional and respective business relationship is formed and it’s a “win- win” for both parties.
***More info relating to this story***
Keyword Expansion: How to Expand Your Keyword List Past Your Initial Research
About the Author: Rhett DeMille, the owner of PalmettoSoft, is a leading search engine optimization consultant located in the Charlotte NC and Charleston SC areas.