Valuing Keywords

Every time a user types a search phrase into a search engine, it is recorded.  Keyword research tools will allow you to retrieve this information, but they cannot directly show you the value of the keyword or its importance in search engine ranking and getting traffic.

To understand the value of a keyword, we need to research further.  The following is a straightforward and valuable process for determining the value of a keyword:

  • Evaluate – Is the keyword relevant to the content on your website? Will users who find your site through the keyword find the answer to their question(s) on your site? Will the traffic generated by the keyword result in you achieving the goals (financial, organizational, etc.) of your website? If the answer to all of these questions is “Yes,” continue.  If not, try another keyword.
  • Search – Plug the keyword into the major engines.  Determine if there are search advertisements running aside the organic results.  A plethora of search ads indicates a high value keyword.  Multiple search ads above the organic results may indicate a highly profitable keyword with a high conversion rate.
  • Try – Purchase a small, sample campaign for the keyword at Google AdWords.  When setting up your campaign, choose “exact match” and point the traffic to the most relevant page on your website. Measure the traffic generated, track impressions, and measure conversion rate over the course of at least 250-300 clickthroughs.
  • Analyze – Analyze the data to estimate the value of a single visitor to your site with the given search term or phrase.  For example, assume that in the past 48 hours your sample campaign has generated 10,000 impressions.  Further assume you received 200 additional website visitors and 6 these additional visitors have converted for total profit of $600.  In this example, a single visitor for the sample keyword is worth roughly $3.00 to your business. Analysis of some recent data from AOL, indicate that if your website had a number one ranking in the organic search results, these 10,000 impressions in 48 hours would generate a clickthrough rate of 30-40 percent.  These clickthroughs would yield 1500-2000 visits per day, at $3.00 each, or from $1.6 million to $2.2 million dollars per year in additional profit for your company.

The lesson here is quite clear:  like all things web, you can learn a great deal by iterating though a number of possible approaches and analyzing the data.

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