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Keywords that Make Sense: Targeted Commercial Intent

Most businesses understand how SEO (search-engine optimized) content can drive visitors to their websites. Keyphrases focused on your business offerings can usually bring interested viewers in – but do they stay on your site? Companies large and small now need to ask themselves: Are we focused on search volume…or on commercial intent?

Here’s the difference. When keywords are focused on volume alone – perhaps targeted at broad-level phrases that define your organization – you’ll risk seeing lots of visitors, but very little business. If your keywords are purely informational, your viewers will be mining your site for knowledge – but won’t be purchasing anything. If, on the other hand, your keywords are shaped around the types of searches buyers are performing, you’re much more likely to attract viewers who are actually interested in making a purchase.

As you’re trying to decide which keywords to use – and which to avoid – as you’re crafting your SEO content, keep these simple, intuitive strategies in mind.

Use Buy-Now keywords to draw in last-minute customers. These types of keywords, which include phrasing like ‘buy,’ ‘coupon,’ and ‘discount,’ will lure in customers who are searching for deals just before making a purchase. Craft keywords around sales you’re having, incentives you’re promoting, or special holidays approaching. For example, if you’re in the business of selling sporty, stylish accessories, you might create keyphrases like “Buy cute accessories online,” “Sporty accessories free shipping,” and “accessories discount.” You won’t see as much traffic as you would with simpler, more information-based keyphrases, but the customers you do attract will be much more likely to buy.

Use Product keywords to make it clear what you’ve got. Focus your keywords around specific brands you associate with, like Apple, Sony, or Calvin Klein. Or, keep keywords more general—think ‘laptop computer,’ ‘surround sound system,’ or ‘men’s clothing.’ Tie in words like ‘affordable,’ ‘top-rated,’ and ‘best’ for language that “converts” to clicks and purchases. Customers are likely using those types of terms alongside product names to suss out deals and see what’s available.

Bolster your SEO with informational keywords, which could add credibility to your brand and organization, even if you aren’t necessarily attracting buyers. Informational keywords use phrases like ‘how to,’ ‘DIY,’ and ‘how do I’ to lure in those customers who have questions about your offerings. Search for keywords with high search volume (‘how to’) and low competition (‘how to accessorize for tennis’). Then, keep track of the traffic that comes in – you can use email or social media promotions, for example, to implant your brand in the viewer’s mind.

Then there are tire-kicker keywords – those that make you want to kick something out of frustration. Tire-kicker searchers are looking for phrases like “free” or “download” – smart people, in other words, who don’t want to spend money. Nevertheless, these phrases can be adapted when paired with other types of keywords, like product keywords. Giving something away for free, after all, can seal a customer in for life.

Now that you’ve got the skinny on keywords, use Google’s Adwords Suggested Bid feature to analyze the work those keywords are doing for your bottom line.

Google’s Adwords Suggested Bid enables you to view real-world data about the commercial intent of any given keyword. By browsing varying suggested keywords, you’ll be able to see which ones advertisers pay the most for – and which, thus, are most likely to draw in revenue—not just clicks.

Here’s how to access the Adwords Suggested Bid database. Log into your Google Adwords account, and then choose “Keyword Planner” from the Tools and Analysis Menu. Choose “Search for a new keyword” to get started, and then enter a single keyword into the search field. Try clicking “Get Ideas” without inputting any other fields – this way, you’ll ensure the broadest, most general list of words.

Viewing keyword lists through Google Adwords makes it easy to identify which keywords are valuable and which are merely informational. For example, a keyphrase like “SEO content” will likely earn a much higher pay per click than a keyphrase such as “What is SEO content?” The latter of the two keyphrases is informational, and will likely attract only those seeking knowledge – not a product or service.

Finally: when in doubt, just type your keywords into Google and see what comes out the other end. Are you eliciting informational-type websites, or are you directed to those promoting an actual product or service for sale? Does your website come up when you search related terms? Which websites do appear, and how can you take cues from those? Consider aesthetics and “look and feel” as you explore competitor websites, but keep an eye out for keyphrase-heavy content as well.

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