The Secret to Great SEO Keywords: Site Search
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.
Here are a few tools for building keyword lists for site search:
- Most site search and analytics platforms supply you with a list of the top keywords and long tail combinations of keywords customers are using when searching your site. You'll often discover search terms that aren't currently on your keyword list—terms that might not turn up in Web search keywords. Use these search terms to adjust your SEO or pay-per-click campaigns and significantly increase conversions. Our customers often use this tactic for their search marketing campaigns and get better results over time.
- It's helpful to use analytics products, like Google Analytics and Coremetrics, to understand how people search for information on your site. These tools help you dig even deeper to find search terms that your customers think of before you do. These terms can be used to optimize your site and drive greater traffic, and they are effective terms to include in paid search campaigns.
- To save time, you can use products that automate keyword list generation. These solutions create product landing pages based on customer search activity that are optimized for Web search engines. These pages would be time-consuming to create manually; especially if you're optimizing a site using hundreds or thousands of site-search terms.
Keyword research is a marketing tool that's been around a long time, but it deserves a fresh view to make sure you aren't missing out on the new ways to develop your keyword lists. Take time to understand and analyze the search activity going on inside your site and incorporate that information into your direct marketing efforts. The keywords you discover can offer unexpected ways to achieve better business results.