The first thing asked by many companies who outsource their Google AdWords advertising to us is: “Do you want a list of search terms that we want to appear against?” The answer to that question is to remind them that while all help is gratefully received, our USP is that it’s not necessary, because we do all the research on that front. Really, you can just get on with the rest of your job. However, when they do provide some ideas, it’s rare that the choice of search terms is as sophisticated as a list of those which “convert” the best, which is what we really need to find out.
Whether it’s for SEO purposes or for a pay-per-click advertising campaign, creating a list of priority search terms for your website needs to take into account the quality of the visitors which will be brought in. Of course, if you don’t have an online store, assessing the quality is subjective, but your benchmarks can be as simple as the time spent on site or the number of pages viewed. The most common threshold we set is simply “did the visitor spend more than 30 seconds on the site or look at more than one page?”
Once you’re looking at quality, you often find that the obvious search terms aren’t the ones which it’s worth spending your time and money on. A thousand visits for the search term “widget” are no good if 99% of them last 5 seconds, which is the time it takes for the visitor to realise your site isn’t going to give them the definition they’re looking for to complete their school science homework.
That’s why in both search engine optimisation and search engine advertising, the real work only begins a few weeks into the exercise, and certainly never stops.