It is particularly fitting, with the Olympics but hours away, that we sit here on our digital soapbox once again and preach the importance of First, Second and Third in the organic search results. This is important, as 60% of users click on the top three results of any search, so in search ranking terms, Gold, Silver and Bronze are where we should be aiming for.  Gaining these lofty heights in a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is not easy, but once attained they can make a fundamental difference to your business, and essentially, your sales. Similar to an athlete with that medal swinging around their neck, the offers of business and opportunities for growth are huge.
While it may be simple for you to say “Ach its fine, when you Google us we are near the top” and you may well be, it is important to ensure that you are aiming in the right direction and attracting the right kind of traffic. Keyphrase research is of course just one element in the mega mix that are ranking factors, but they are one of the most important. So in this week’s blog, I am going to charge head first into the depths of keyphrase research tactics, and give you some examples of how we do things here at Levy Mac HQ.
First of all we start with the fundamentals. Your keyphrases should take into consideration three elements. They must be Relevant, Realistic and Provide a Return. The phrases must be relevant to the services you provide, thus gaining trust with both the users and the search engines. And whilst there may be phrases that will drive legions of users to your site, they may not always be the most suitable, as big terms come with big competition, so getting results in that vertical can and will take a ton of time and effort. So the ranking dream is to strike a nice balance between product/service specific keywords and high traffic product terms that will bring buying customers, thus providing a solid return on investment.
There is no point taking a blunderbuss approach and guessing phrases that your audience and potential new customers are using to find your services, and by not qualifying the phrases you want to perform, you could be fishing in the wrong pond all together. So, to explain the process put on your nerd hat and dive Scrooge Mcduck style into a pile of lovely analytics.
In Google Analytics, we can download lists of each and every keyphrase which has successfully directed users to the website, and thus gain an insight into the efficiency of the keyphrase terms currently being used to find you. This gives us an understanding of the mind-set of those approaching the website. Are they using generic  product terms, are they using permeations of a certain phrase or are they using phrases that are nowhere close to the services that you provide. It shows us how long people are staying on the site and if they are bailing off immediately after entry. It also highlights if they were new to the site or if they have visited before, all great info when determining what phrases are bringing in the right people with the right mind-set.
Once we have this data, it can be sieved into manageable lists, and we can straight away identify which phrases are candidates for your keyphrase list. For example, a whisky site selling single malt whisky, the keyphrase “Single Malts” will be a contender, but the opening times of the shop may not be.
When we have this sieved data we can build a skeleton keyphrase list. We collate information from the client and process that using the Google Adwords Tool. We can see how many searches/month a phrase receives local and globally as well as the level of competition on the phrase, giving us an idea of potential traffic and audience we can draw towards our site. By selecting the suggested ideas closely related to the search terms, we can develop a list of applicable and relevant phrases.
Now we have a qualified version of our keyphrase list we can start to analyse our findings. We will have a blend of phrases that attract high volumes of traffic, phrases which attract small yet focused traffic volumes and client based suggestions. From this list we can develop various prefixes of the phrases, be it “rare” or “exclusive”, “Limited Bottling” etc. As our example client in this instance ships whisky abroad, we consider phrases like “Free Shipping” and “Shipping to USA”.  We develop specific long tail keyphrases and high traffic short tail phrases and from this, create a comprehensive list as our keyphrase targets. We will also, of course, take stock of the competition for these keyphrases on the SERP and keep an eye on the contenders.
Once we have an awesome blend of short and long tail keyphrases we can start to create content around those phrases and begin our off-site SEO strategy. That is when the real fun starts!