Intermediate training on Search Engine Optimization.
Intermediate training on Search Engine Optimization.
Keyword Strategy Prepared by Brandon Steele
Introduction At the conclusion of this training you should understand: The Importance of Keyword Rankings How Keywords Relate to the Product Life Cycle The Purchase Decision Model The Demand Distribution Curve Keyword Strategy On Site and Off Site SEO
The Importance of Keyword Rankings Search Results Click Through for 1st Page In Yahoo Source Yahoo
What About for Google? Source Richard Hearne of Red Cardinal
What about the 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th Pages? Source Richard Hearne of Red Cardinal
Introduction – Slow growth and little demand as product is intro
Growth – Market begins to accept offering and increase in demand rapidly fuels sales
Maturity – Increased competition and market saturation
Decline – Competition begins to exit the marketplace as sales decline
Question: Where does the new SHU MBA we are introducing fit?
Product Life Cycles and Keywords At the introduction stage there may be few searches, if any, for the program At the maturity stage there may be a longer, more diverse, long tail Keywords selected in the introduction stage may no longer be applicable during the growth stage Distance learning vs. online learning Consumers are generally better informed during the maturity stage than they are at introduction or during growth
Unsought Products Definition: Products that the consumer does not know about or does not normally think of buying. Special Category: New Unsought Product – Products at the introduction stage of their life cycle. Consumers may want these or may not But, they are not familiar with them and so are not actively seeking them out Marketing must be a push strategy Go where the consumers are, instead of waiting for them to find you Will likely be very little direct / specific keyword searches
The Purchase Decision Model Triggered by internal or external stimulus Personal – Commercial – Public - Experiential Several Processes & Criteria Key is to understand & reduce perceived risk Consumer may experience dissonance
Key Points Re: The Consumer Evaluation Process The consumer is trying to satisfy a need The consumer is looking for certain benefits from the solution The consumer sees each product/service as a bundle of attributes that together work to satisfy the need Consumers pay attention to those attributes that deliver their perceived sought after benefits Key takeaway is that it’s the CONSUMER’S PERCEPTION!!!!
3 Behavioral Keyword Groups Keywords from the Learn Stage Prospects are gathering information to determine what can solve their problem Examples: mba salaries, marketing job growth 2. Keywords from the Shop Stage Prospects are gathering information that helps them decide on a specific solution. Queries are generally more specific than in the learn stage. Examples: online mba degree 3. Keywords from the Buy Stage Information that prospects need to validate their decision and make the purchase. May not have visited your site during any of the other stages. Examples: online mba degree, gonzaga university review
Keywords and the Purchase Decision Model Learn Stage + Shop Stage Learn Stage Keywords Shop Stage Keywords Buy Stage Keywords
A Common Definition of Long Tail “Long tail keywords are a type of keyword phrase that has at least three, and some times as many as five words in the phrase. Long tail keywords are used when the website wants to refine search terms to the web page, as well as when the searcher is looking for something rather specific.” ~ Brickmarketing.com
Why that definition is misleading… There can be one-word keywords in the long tail There can be specific queries in the body and head There can be generic queries in the long tail Keywords in general are used when the website wants to refine search terms or when the user wants to refine their search query
A More Precise Definition of Long Tail Long Tail keywords are low frequency searches on the demand distribution curve. Key Points: In "long-tailed" distributions a high-frequency population is followed by a low-frequency population, which gradually "tails off" in a tangent curve. Important Note: The events at the far end of the tail have a very low probability of occurrence.
Low Frequency Searches on The Demand Distribution Curve Another look at the Keyword Demand Distribution Curve…
Notes on the Long Tail Fewer query frequency (relative) Can be one word queries or multiple words A long tail keyword in one distribution curve, may be a body or short tail keyword in another Conversely: A body or short tail keyword in one distribution curve, may be a long tail keyword in another Long Tail keywords in one distribution curve may receive more queries than head keywords in another You don’t make your money IN the long tail you make your money ON the long tail It’s the aggregate of the long tail keywords that is profitable, not the individual keywords within the long tail
Common Long Tail Truisms That Aren’t Always True Long tail keyword queries are long There’s gold hidden there in them long tails!!! Long tail searchers are at the decision stage of the purchase decision model Long tail keywords convert better Long tail keywords are cheaper to target in PPC It’s very hard to rank for short tail keywords These are all Hasty Generalizations!!!
User behavior and Demand Distribution “The probability of a re-query drops (from almost 50% to less than 20%) as query frequency increases from the tail to 100+ occurrences” ~ “Understanding the Relationship between Searchers’ Queries and Information Goals” by Downy, Dumais, leibling and Horvitz (CIKM 08) “The differences in distribution of actions following a query observed seem to be related to the query frequency rather than the query length” ~ “Understanding the Relationship between Searchers’ Queries and Information Goals” by Downy, Dumais, leibling and Horvitz (CIKM 08) “The relative steepness of the power-law indicates that users do not need many words to formulate information needs or that the diminishing value of adding words appears soon.” ~ “A Study of Query Length” by Arampatzis and Kamps (SIGIR 08) The average query length was 2.30 words, the longest were in the education category and had a mean of over 3 words per query. ~ “Patterns of Search: Analyzing and Modeling Web Query Refinement” by Lau and Horvitz
Understanding Keyword Tiers Tier 1 (top priority): These keywords are a close match to your program offerings or site’s content and contribute to having a viable market Tier 2 (medium priority): These keyword are not exact matches, but still are related to your program offerings or site’s content, however they may offer less demand frequency or lower conversion rates Tier 3 (low priority): These keywords are not exact matches, but still may be topical to our program offerings or site’s content, however conversion rates may be lower
Increase brand awareness and buzz, that is: stimulate brand demand Diversify away from brand keywords
Selecting the Right Keywords Understand where your program fits into the product life cycle Brainstorm an initial list of keywords: Jury of Executive Opinion: Faculty, Reps, Marketing Managers, Student Services, etc. Competitors Google Analytics Gut check based on available information Use the list as a spring board to focus your selection efforts Run the list through a keyword research tool to verify interest Refine your list by weeding out keywords: with little demand that because of too much demand may not offer a return relative to the effort expended to rank for them From your final list sort your keywords into the 3 tiers Understand where your keywords fit on the demand distribution curve and where they fall on the purchase decision model After you’ve selected your keywords select the landing page (reverse may also apply)
On-Site SEO URL: Depth, Length & Keyword <Title> Tag: Keyword Meta Description Tag: Pull and Keyword Body tags: <h1>, <h2>, <strong>, etc. Content: Density, Proximity and Freshness Information Architecture: Indexability Most Importantly: Have valuable and relevant content that is well written.
What About the Meta Keywords Tag? Not presently factored into Google’s algorithm However, IS used for Google’s custom site search service Bing does factor it in, but unclear how much weight given to it Yahoo does use it to populate paid inclusions Fire and forget: Include it when launching new content, but understand that it likely offers very little ROI and accordingly shouldn’t preoccupy much of your time.
Title Tag Example Important Note: Title Tag doesn’t just factor into your search ranking, but also influences the click through rate from the SERP and helps shape the expectation of the prospective student.
Meta Description Tag Example Important Note: Meta Description Tag doesn’t just factor into your search ranking, but also influences the click through rate from the SERP and helps shape the expectation of the prospective student.
Body Tag Examples Important Note: The body tags can make usability easier by breaking up content sections, calling attention to important points and by helping to match the page’s content to the prospective student’s expectations of what the page is about.
On Site SEO and the Long Tail Diversity and length of the long tail means you realistically won’t be able to optimize for every keyword Also makes it hard to play the expectations game Limited market viability means that it may be futile to try to optimize for a single keyword or even a handful of keywords Think through your strategy before you use a long tail keyword in your URL, <title> tag or page tags
How Do You Rank for Long Tail Keywords? Proximity Matching: When Google doesn’t have a direct match, it serves up a proximal match It does this because “20 to 25% of the queries we see today, we have never seen before” (UdiManber) So, all things being equal you can rank for long tail keywords simply by targeting body or head keywords Put another way: when you target higher frequency keywords you may score a 2for: the higher frequency keyword + some long tail keywords
Off-Site SEO Link Building: directory, article, blog, paid, link hubs, etc. Popular Definition: Links are votes to your site. The more votes you have the better chance of winning the Google search contest. This definition is misleading! A better way to understand it: Citations in scientific papers The more citations from other papers an original paper has, the better we can estimate the value of that original paper Links create an “information economy” where the “content cream” rises to the top because the most experts refer to them Quality of link trumps mere quantity of links Anchor text gives the search engine an idea of what the page that is being linked to is about Important point: Links are from other sites to your site, not from within your site (or IP) to other pages on your site (or IP)
Link Hub Example Link hubs are sites that link to your competitors This indicates a likely predisposition to linking to content related to the industry you are in Could be directories, paid links, etc Enter URL of 2-10 competing websites and when links overlap, Hub Finder flags linking URL http://training.seobook.com/hubfinder
Evaluating Keyword Campaigns Criteria: Have rankings increased in Google? Has site traffic increased? Is the bounce rate indicating a potential problem? What are the conversion rates?