Keywords are a vital part of creating an SEO campaign. When talking about developing PPC campaigns, proper keyword development is critical. After all, improperly chosen keywords can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. But how does methodology differ when choosing keywords for SEO versus choosing keywords for PPC?
Choosing Keywords for SEO
There are a few important things to keep in mind when choosing the proper keywords for SEO.
1. Use the Right Tools – When choosing words for SEO, most people consult a number of different tools like Google Adwords Keyword Research Tool, Bing Webmaster Tools, Google Webmaster Tools, and SEM Rush. There is no single perfect keyword research tool which is why working with several different ones is a good way to find the best keywords.
2. How many searches is too many? – Don’t select keywords with too many searches unless you already have a high ranking website or have other methods of driving traffic to the page. Once keyword searches start hitting 5 digits, it’s time to start looking for different keywords. You can rank for keywords with tens of thousands of searches, but if you are strictly relying on organic search, it’s going to take a long time.
3. The Three Bears of Keyword Selection – Avoid both ultra-short tail and ultra-long tail keywords. If the keyword is too short and too broad, you’ll likely never rank for it unless you are optimizing for the word “cookies” and you’re working for Oreo or Chips Ahoy!. An overly specific keyword phrase like “cookies that have chocolate chips and whole grain flour” isn’t going to get enough searches to be worth optimizing for either. You need to find a nice balance.
For example, you have an online store that sells chocolate chip cookies. That keyword gets an average of 201,000 searches. You can optimize for the word cookies but then build a list off of that core term. Let’s look at a list of keyword searches for chocolate chip cookie variations.
Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies gets 14,800 searches, gluten free chocolate chip cookies gets 8,100 searches, sugar free chocolate chip cookies gets 1,000 searches, and dark chocolate chip cookies gets a very reasonable 590 searches. These would all be viable options to optimize pages for while simultaneously optimizing for your core keyword.
One very helpful feature in keyword development are Adwords competition scores. When you download the information from Adwords, it provides a score from 0.00 to 1 in the competition column, instead of low, medium, or high. The closer to 1 a term is, the higher the competition. So, based on core keyword, search volume, and competition, sugar free chocolate chip cookies would be a viable keyword for product page optimization.
Choosing Keywords for PPC
Choosing keywords for pay per click involves the same tools as you would need for SEO keyword research. But since you are going to be paying to drive traffic to the site, you don’t have to worry as much about search volume. With PPC keyword development, you would be more concerned about the competition and suggested bid columns in the table below.
“Chocolate chip cookies” would actually be a viable term to use for PPC. With a competition of .22 and a suggested bid of $1.33, this is an affordable term that is sure to get plenty of impressions and good ad placement. Our SEO keyword selection, however, no longer looks as attractive. “Sugar free chocolate chip cookies” has a fair search volume, but the highest competition score of all 8 keyword terms, plus, at a suggested bid of $2.25, it is a potentially expensive keyword. “Chocolate chip cookies with nuts” has the second lowest competition of .12, but the highest suggested bid at $4.03.
Remember, in PPC landing page optimization, you don’t need to worry about keyword saturation as you do when developing pages for SEO. You can go for keywords that get larger search volumes, as long as your targeted landing page has relevant content. You can also change your keyword focus frequently and with dynamic keyword placement, target a list of similar terms very easily.
Finding a Balance
So where does all of this lead? Keywords will continue to be a relevant part of SEO for as long as content development is a part of SEO. Choosing the right keywords from the start is an essential part of a successful SEO campaign and a vital part of a successful PPC campaign. The divergence occurs because of the difference in intent for each set of keywords. SEO is concerned with having properly formatted and informative content on the page whereas PPC drives traffic to that relevant page. The marriage between SEO and PPC can be a tricky one but a skilled SEO team can optimize content for both verticals.
Remember, the most important part of choosing keywords is tempering your expectations. Even if you were to turn out the most perfectly structured and optimized page of content for the most optimized website ever created, it is still going to take several months for it to start showing organically in the SERPs. And sometimes A/B testing is going to be needed to figure out whether or not the right words or even the right pages were selected for PPC.
If you are looking to optimize your site for Long Island SEO or if you need help with your PPC, let the team at Active Web Group help. Our SEO and PPC team work together to create a cohesive campaign and will deliver the results that you need. Call us today at 800-978-3417 or click here to get started.