What are Keywords?
Once you’ve decided to start your own online business (pretty much whatever it is, from a blog to an ecommerce site), you’ll first want to get a firm grasp on how your visitors/potential customers use the Internet. In particular, you’ll need to learn what exactly they use the Internet for.
It would certainly be great for your site if every person who logged on was doing so because they had their credit cards in hand, and were looking to buy precisely the kinds of products and services you offer. But, of course, we live in the real world. Rather, most people use the Internet to get information. That search for information often takes the form of trying to answer questions that these individuals have been unable to find answers for elsewhere. That quest may or may not lead them to your product or service. So how do people tend to go about finding answers to their questions? As you might guess, these days most Internet users tend to rely upon search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Whilst very few users won’t have used at least one of these three search engines, there are also hundreds of other search engines available. However, those other search engines generate far less traffic than the big three (Google alone garners well over 60% of the Internet search traffic), so we’ll focus our attention on the big ones. As you probably know, a person uses a search engine like Google by typing a word or phrase into the search box.
This specific word or phrase is the key to your success, because the word or phrase indicates exactly what that person is looking for. Let’s say, for example, that the individual is interested in losing weight. If they type the phrase ‘weight loss’ into Google, the search results page will provide two things, “paid” and “organic” search results. Go ahead and Google ‘weight loss.’
Notice the yellow box at the top of the page, and the narrow column that runs down the right side of the page. These are paid search results which companies have paid Google to have their text (and links to their company websites) displayed whenever someone searches on the term ‘weight loss’. Not surprisingly, you can see that these companies appear to be selling weight loss and diet products and services.
The majority of the page displays the so-called “organic” search results. This means that the Google search engine determined these web pages to be most naturally (or “organically’”) related to the phrase ‘weight loss’. The phrase ‘weight loss’ is what we refer to as a “keyword term”.
You can see the importance of the keyword term by the fact that the phrase ‘weight loss’ is highlighted throughout both the organic search results and the paid search results. In order to maximize your business opportunities, you’ll need to research and identify the terms and phrases that potential customers will use when they look for the kinds of products and services you’re selling.
After identifying those keywords, you could certainly launch a paid advertising campaign, with Google AdWords or one of the other paid ad services. This would be an easy way of driving lots of relevant traffic to your website, right? Unfortunately, because of the level of competition for the attention of prospective customers, it’s very easy for beginner advertisers (and even some advertisers with more experience) to end up spending a lot of money but have very little to show for it.
New websites may well choose to do paid advertising until they are more firmly established, and instead focus on getting the best organic search results placement for their website. This can take longer but it’s safer to start with and, ultimately, organic search gives you the bedrock to build upon – most people who really understand the Internet will tell you that building solid, quality content over time is the way to the top of the search engine rankings. You can do this by using keyword research skills and optimizing your website accordingly.
To do this, you really need to “get” the search engines. Remember, we’re talking business, here: you don’t need to be a rocket scientist (mostly), but you do need to understand it and get it right. Don’t go in blind. In our opinion, the ‘king’ of keyword tools is here. They have a wide range of tools and a high proportion of professionals in the business of keywords rely on this tool every day.
What’s a targeted visitor?
You begin an online business in order to make money, right? Well, some reading this may be more interested in a hobby, or another purpose blogging, perhaps. But if it’s business you’re interested in, it’s probably apparent you’ll have a greater chance of making more money from individuals who are interested in the kinds of products and services you sell. Let’s use the example that you run a website that promotes a product which helps people lose weight.
So, the types of people you want to find and visit your website are those who are interested in becoming thinner. Conversely, if a visitor to your website isn’t particularly interested in losing weight (but is instead searching the Internet because they’re interested in video games or gardening), then it is unlikely that they’re going to convert into a paying customer. Or, perhaps, they’re looking for reasons why people lose weight (e.g., illness, etc).
Subtle differences make a big difference. This is the concept of a “targeted visitor”: a person who is already “in” your website’s topic before they find your website and see the products and services you offer. It’s not hard to see why the most successful web business are those who get traffic comprised of individuals who are already interested in the products or services offered by that business.
It’s essential to your success that you build you individual website pages to contain and focus on the individual keywords that relate to your products and services. In addition, it’s likely that your appearances on a given search results page won’t be limited just to pages on your own website. The search engine is likely to find and list many external resources, too. These will include marketing-type materials that you may publish through other websites. Go ahead and type a generic search term or phrase into your favorite search engine. Chances are that near the top of the natural search results there will be links to external aggregations sites like YouTube and EzineArticles. This is something that you want to emulate as well.
So, in order to make sure you’re driving the greatest number of targeted visitors to your website as possible, you first need to create a site in which each web page is focused on the particular keyword terms and phrases that you’ll identify. Second, you’ll support this by creating promotional materials (again, using the relevant keyword terms and phrases), and making sure these are properly distributed on the Internet. Finally, once your website is live, make sure to submit your web address directly to the major search engines. Each search engine has a page that permits you to do this:
The search engines would eventually find your pages, of course, but using these quick submission forms helps the process move forward more quickly. Next time we’ll be digging into the detail of Keyword Reasearch.