The Secret to Great SEO Keywords: Site SearchFebruary 16, 2011 By Thierry Costa
Keyword research is an important component of any online direct marketing effort; particularly if you're working hard to improve results for your search engine optimization campaigns. However, if you limit keyword research to terms people are using on Google, Bing and Yahoo, you're missing out on data that can help you market to your customers even more effectively: your own site search.
Keywords customers search for on your own website—for instance, very specific product names like "UGG women's boots"—as opposed to general search terms they use before getting to your site—like "boots"—can yield new ideas for connecting people to your site content.
The beginning of any keyword research effort is using solutions such as Google's Adwords Keyword Tool, KeywordDiscovery or Wordtracker to uncover the terms your target audience is searching for on Web search engines, how often they search and which other websites appear when people search for these terms. By using these keywords, you expect to improve your natural Web search rankings and deliver targeted traffic to your site.
However, search terms—and especially combinations of search terms—are as varied as the people who create them. The sheer numbers of unique search terms created by Internet users make it difficult to monitor and analyze trends or get a good idea of effective terms potential customers would use to get to your site. Recent studies estimate that up to 40 percent of all search terms are unique, which means the keywords you come up with simply provide educated guesses as to how you can attract customers to your site. To get a more focused picture of keyword terms, you should gather information from your site's own search box. This will strengthen your keyword list with terms your customers use, so you don't have to rely on guesswork.
You may find that site search keywords are very different, and often more specific, than the keywords people use to find your site via search engines. For instance, someone may have come to your site through a Google search for the term "medical professionals list." However, using the search box on your site, they refined their search by typing in "anesthesiology professionals San Jose." Those are the kinds of long tail search terms you can build a keyword campaign around.