March 9, 2008

Increasing Online HITS through extensive Keyword Research

On the title line, I mentioned HITS instead of conversions and there is a reason for that. I'm not altogether certain that conversions will increase just because the number of HITS for any given website increases.

SEO - Search€ Engine Optimization
SEM - Search Engine Marketing
SERP - Search Engine Results Page
HITS - number of times your webpage is clicked
Conversion - depends on the type of industry. For ecommerce this would be the number of time you sell something and users enter their credit card numbers. For industries other than ecommerce, this could (but not necessarily) be the number of times users request for more information. Its always good to define conversions.

SEO is an interesting aspect of SEM because alot of it has no real information. The search algorithms haven't exactly been revealed to anyone in particular and most of the available information are experienced when you create your online marketing strategy and begin implementing through trial and error and by reading extensively into other experiences of other SEO websites. Some of the better SEO Guru's will provide better information than others. This include Aaron Wall's SEO Book, which I have, btw. I also read through Searh Engine Watch almost on a daily basis. I enjoy reading blogs from all over and sometimes wish I had more time to do so. On the other hand, I wish I had more time to write this blog.

One very important subject that I learned through the course of this journey is that you never really know what people are searching for until you start looking for it.

During the course of optimizing my real estate website, I did an extensive keyword search. Initially my job was only to optimize them for the real estate industry in the Cayman Islands and that is almost done. I just need to get them some relevant links to increase their SERP position. But during the course of my keyword search, I stumbled upon keyword after keyword all relating to real estate and because of this I suggested that they also optimize for these relevant keywords.

Choosing and targeting keywords

Again I am going to mention that I cannot say, with 100% certainty that their conversion rates will increase just because their SERP position for their keyword, or additional keywords will increase. Until they reach first page position for these multiple keywords and I see for myself that their conversion rates actually increase, that will be the only time that I will be able to say, Yes, it does works.

Targeting a keyword is tedious work because if you don't already have the landing page available specifically for that keyword, then creating it, from scratch will be alot of work. Thankfully I have content writers who can deliver. I just pretty much email them my requirements for keywords and how I want the content to be delivered and after about 3 days, they usually come through for me.

From the content, I ensure that the landing page is also technically relevant to the keyword search. I ensure that that landing page is similar to the other landing pages already present in the first page of the SERPs for those keywords. I also create short-list of relevant links that is easily visible to the user. Of course I insert rel=nofollow tags to external links and ensure that my semantic structure is correct.

So lesson of the day is to know and understand your keyword/s. Chances are that you will find alot more than the obvious and that when you do it is your decision to pursue or reject them. Currently I am going to pursue my newly discovered keywords and I will probably get more hits as an effect. Will I get more conversions? Probably, yes but I won't be jumping the gun here because personally, its much easier to get a hit than to get a conversion. Creating a website that enables those conversions should be a priority but that is another topic altogether.

I am a firm believer that websites should be able to draw the fine line between optimizing for the search engines and creating one for its users.

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