Got some deep, dark secrets to share with you in this post.
But first a little background is in order.
When it comes to online marketing…particularly search engine marketing…keyword research is the foundation of success.
You simply can’t guess which keywords or phrases your prospects are typing into Google to find you…you have to know for sure.
Enter the keyword research tool
These tools, like the free one from Google, provide invaluable insights into the actual terms your prospects type into Google to find the products/services you offer.
And using them is pretty easy. Simply enter one or more keywords related to your business and, in a few seconds, the tool will spit back lots of helpful data including: related keywords/phrases, the number of people searching on those keywords/phrases, and the level of competition.
This data is enormously valuable and I use keywords research tools every day.
But (you saw that one coming)… keyword research tools aren’t perfect.
In fact, one of the key pieces of data you get from them – the number of searches done for a particular keyword – can be inaccurate, sometimes wildly so.
Which brings us back to the topic of my post last month …Google AdWords.
In that post, I wrote about how AdWords is about more than just driving traffic. Used strategically, it can be used to boost your overall marketing efforts in a number of ways.
That post ended with a bit of a teaser about my favorite “non-traffic generating” use of AdWords.
Well, that use is keyword research.
Using AdWords for Keyword Research
You get a plethora of data when running a Google AdWords campaign. One of the things you can see is the EXACT search terms people typed into Google before they clicked on one of your ads.
To truly understand how powerful this data is, I’d like to share a story with you…
One day I was looking through a Search Query report for a client’s account (this report shows the exact search terms people typed into Google to find your ads).
I can’t use the actual location and keyword for this client, so let’s just say this client offers underwater bowling lessons in Miami.
While digging through the search queries, I noticed there were a lot of people searching for underwater bowling lessons in Coral Gables (an affluent suburb of Miami).
In fact, over 200 people a month were looking for keywords related to underwater bowling lessons in Coral Gables (which is not an insignificant number of searches for a local keyword).
Now, here’s the eye-opener.
If you were to go to Google’s keyword research tool (or any other keyword research tool for that matter), guess how many searches it reports for underwater bowling classes in Coral Gables?
But because of AdWords we now know that’s not true.
This is key information that very few of this client’s competitors have (even many of the ones using AdWords don’t even know it’s there).
So how’d we use this to increase conversions over 50%?
Well, once we knew there were around 200 people a month searching on that term, we set up a new landing page on the site specifically targeting underwater bowling classes in Coral Gables.
And that new landing page converts at a 54% higher rate than the previous page the traffic was going to.
This is because the closer you can match your messaging to what people are actually looking for, the better able you are to convert them into customers. So, in this case, people in Coral Gables are much more likely to respond to a page that mentions Coral Gables specifically instead of the Miami area in general.
What’s Your Keyword’s Story?
Every keyword has a story behind it. It represents a conversation your prospect has going on in their brain at the moment they’re typing that word into the search engine.
And one of the interesting things with keywords, that becomes crystal clear when running AdWords campaigns, is that seemingly very similar keywords represent very different conversations.
Even to the point that you may find the difference between the singular and plural versions of a keyword makes a huge difference in conversion rates. In fact, it’s not uncommon for me to see 3x-4x differences between the singular and plural versions of a keyword in AdWords campaigns.
Which brings us to a “Bonus” lesson…
After getting the real scoop on the keyword data from AdWords we also did search engine optimization SEO for “underwater bowling lessons in Coral Gables” related keywords…with the deck heavily stacked in our favor.
Think about what we had by that point because of AdWords…
- A keyword we knew for a fact got around 200 searches a month (despite what the keyword tools were reporting).
- A landing page we knew was converting well.
For a local business like this, that’s a recipe for SEO gold!
SEO is a great strategy to get traffic to your site. But it can cost a lot of time and money, plus there’s no guarantee of success.
So what if it turns out your best converting, most profitable keywords are not the ones you think they are?
What if that new landing page you set up and SEO’d doesn’t convert?
You can be $1000s and many months in the hole on an SEO project before finding these things out.
By using the search query data from Google AdWords, we eliminated that risk.
Using AdWords to gather more accurate keyword data than is available anywhere else is my favorite use of AdWords.
So the question I leave you with is this…how sure are you about your keywords?