At first glance, one might think chaos is a state to be avoided in
business. I adore chaos because there’s possibility in it.
Decisions in the face of chaos
This doesn’t mean I don’t make a decision [when chaos exists]. This doesn’t mean I don’t like order, too. I love chaos, and I love order. The gift of chaos is that you entertain a number of possibilities and that’s the perfect state
to be in when you are researching and choosing good keywords for your
pay-per-click (PPC) or search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns.
The good type of messy
With acceptance of chaos, you can choose to have an open mind about where to take your business next [image Chaos Is a Friend of Mine, Creative Commons, by Roots Up]. Whatever keyword research tool you use, you end up with hundreds – perhaps thousands – of potential keywords to use in your campaigns. It can be messy and messy doesn’t have to be bad.
How to research keywords
In my previous article on the 7 Sins of Search Engine Optimization, I discussed the basics of conducting good keyword research by using the Google Keywords Research Tool. It’s free and, since it’s made by Google, it’s easy to use.
How to narrow down your keyword list
First, use the most powerful computer on Earth – your brain. Review the list and remove single-word keywords that are not specific. If I sell dresses, then “dresses” would be the first to come off the list. “Wedding dress,” “prom dress,” and “bar mitzvah dress” would definitely stay if I sold those. Better yet would be three-word key phrases such as “beach wedding dress” or “blue prom dress.”
Those longer key phrases tell me exactly what people want. If I can provide what they want, the key phrase will stay.
If I can’t, it goes into my negative keyword list.
After you use your brain…
Use a combination of your brain and a gut check. Do you see branded terms in there? You must make a decision if you want to aim for coming up in search results for someone else’s brand. If someone is searching for “401K contribution,” are they going to want your guide on how to invest in 401K plans? They probably want to find out how much they can contribute this year and are not in a buying frame of mine.
A negative keyword list (and how it can save you money)
Negative keywords are used in PPC to let Google know you don’t want
your ads to appear when certain words are searched. For instance, you
sell formal shoes and only formal shoes. You would put the word
“athletic” on your negative keyword list to avoid having your ad show
up when people search for “athletic shoes.”
Taking time to create a negative keyword list saves you advertising money. Because it fruitless to spend on ads for completely unqualified leads that won’t click on your ad.
Use keyword lists to come up with new ideas
Do you want to create a business or a product for your current
business? I’ve stumbled across some intriguing ideas while researching
keywords. Keyword research allows you to have a powerful market
research tool at your fingertips. Use it to discover new ideas or to
refine the ideas you have.
Value of keyword research and counsel (vs SEO/PPC)
After conducting keyword research for clients, I’ve steered people away from using me for SEO and PPC work. A professional speaker came to me and paid me to research keywords for a product of his. After doing the research, I found out that people are not searching for his product or for his kind of product online. He’d had great sales through his e-letter and in “back of the room” sales at his speaking engagements when his sold this product with his other products. I told
him I wasn’t able to help him further and saved kept him from wasting money in marketing the wrong way.
I invite you to enjoy the possibilities that keyword research can bring you when creating new products or new marketing campaigns. The world of web searches offers a messy, yet intriguing, store of possibilities for you to use to improve your business.
- Deborah Ager and SEO at Women Grow Business;
- Perry Marshall and PPC training for your business;
- Warrior Forum on PPC discussion boards.