This post is intended for the intermediate to advanced online marketer interested in small business growth and looking for tips on keyword research and on-page optimization. I’ll be covering a real life example from my small business to show how we executed this keyword research test and the revenue in leads that’s resulted thus far.
Ah yes, keyword research – a fun topic us internet marketers love so much! I’ve recently stumbled across some awesome posts covering how to think about targeting topics all the way down to advanced on-page targeting techniques. Both highlight best practices in on-page targeting and, more importantly, aim to shift our thinking from just targeting keywords to focusing more on targeting topics.
I wanted to use this post to highlight how I’ve changed the way I conduct organic search volume opportunity analysis when doing keyword research for a given topic, and to show you how to identify keyword targeting opportunities at the page level (or topic level) versus just the keyword level.
I continue to see marketers focus on high volume keywords (harder to rank for) as opposed to targeting a set of lower volume keywords which would, often times, result in more highly targeted, higher converting search results.
For this post I’m going to use my personal side project to highlight this example, Northwest Tech – an eCommerce business that sells direct-to-consumer customized winter outerwear. Our team worked to develop a hypothesis and the below example shows how we launched, measured and validated this hypothesis.
Let’s get started –
Step 1: Identify the topic you want to target.
For this example we’ll be using the topic of “team jackets”.
Step 2: Identify the page you want to further optimize or decide on building a new page.
In this example, we built a completely new page to target the topic of “team jackets”.
Step 3: Begin your keyword research around your topic.
I won’t use this post to go into detail regarding the different tactics and tools used in keyword research, however I do suggest going through our Keyword Research DistilledU module to refine your skills.
Identify the keywords you want to target.
For the topic of team jackets here’s a glance at what I’ve come up with:
A. Three main personas to target: teams, clubs and companies. The definition of a team states “A team comprises a group of people or other animals linked in a common purpose”. Okay great – teams, clubs and companies all fall under this definition. (I’m sure you could pull out many more personas here also.)
Many different user intents to consider: design, customize, build, make, etc. As you can already see, the different keyword combinations and variations under the topic of team jackets is significant.
Pro tip: I find that sometimes I rat hole myself and spend too much time doing keyword research. Don’t get too hung up on this area – let the data answer your questions.
B. Start conducting your keyword research around the topic of “team jackets” under these three different personas and different user intents. Here are some helpful questions I ask myself in this process:
- What types of clubs might be looking for a jacket?
- What types of teams might be looking for a jacket?
- Are these people looking for certain types of jackets? ie. skiing, snowboarding, baseball, etc.
- What do these people want to do with these jackets? What is their intent? Buy them, design them, customize them, etc
Here’s an example of some keywords I’ve come up with under the topic of team jackets:
Step 4. Gather your keyword volume.
Go ahead and throw all these keywords into the Google AdWords keyword planner to grab your average monthly search volume for each keyword in your list. Export your keywords into an Excel or Google sheet.
Step 5. Use the VLOOKUP formula to match up keyword volume for each keyword.
There are many different ways to structure your keyword research sheets, this is one specific way that I personally enjoy. Feel free to use your own method.
If you’re not familiar with VLOOKUPs you can reference our Microsoft Excel for SEOs training.
You’ll want to insert “Avg. Monthly Search Volume” columns to the right of each keyword column.
Insert your VLOOKUP formulas under each column.
Step 6. Analyze keyword opportunity using page volume.
Finally! We’re now at the fun part. As you can see, we’ve got a handful of keywords that have some volume, not a ton, but some and that’s all that matters.
In my experience this is where things usually go wrong. Often times you’ll end up getting too focused on the high volume, harder to rank for keywords. Instead, look for a set of low volume keywords and aggregate that set of keywords to understand the page volume your page may receive if you begin to rank.
Get Page Volume: There’s a reason why I structured the Excel sheet this way – so you can easily sum up keyword volume to identify your page volume opportunity.
(Note - Google AdWords data is purely an estimate and not exact numbers. Use these numbers as a general figure.)
7. Choose the set of keywords you want to target your page for.
I find this part really fun – choosing which keywords you want to target your page for. As you can see I’ve gone ahead and applied a filter, sorting monthly page volume opportunity from highest to lowest.
So, as we can see from our table, the keywords “team jackets”, “club jackets” and “company jackets” total approximately 1,320 average monthly searches. Awesome. However I’m going to choose not to target and optimize for these keywords. Firstly, they’re competitive and I know ranking for them will be difficult in the short term. At this point I just want to see traction, we don’t need to own the search results.
Secondly, I’d like to drive more qualified traffic to the page with more intent-focused search queries. I think that these sessions (visits) will convert at a higher rate.I’ve removed those three keywords, now showing lower volume, less competitive keywords.
I decided to target the following terms for the topic of “team jackets”:
Together, this set of keywords totals approximately 500 avg. monthly searches. So this tells me that there is some opportunity here.
Here are a few things I highlighted to set expectations across my team before we actually made the decision to move forward with building this page:
- The average value of a lead will be high, therefore we only need to generate a few leads for the results to be significant.
- It is highly unlikely that we will rank in the top three for these keywords, maybe not even on the first page in the first six months.
- AdWords keyword data is said to be “spaghetti on the wall”. I suggest using it as a very general figure to identity areas to target and optimize for. Again, even if it’s just a few visits, if they convert, they convert.
- The page we build needs to be crawlable html with sufficient amounts of relevant, quality and targeted content or this won’t work. I’d suggest reading this post for on-page-targeting best practices.
- The action we want people to take (ie. customize a jacket and submit it for a quote) needs to be clear and easy for the user.
8. Write unique, relevant and optimized content and build your HTML page.
You can view the full team jackets page we built, but I’ve pulled out some screen shots for a quick look at how we targeted this content for the keywords mentioned above.
9. Push your page live.
There are a multitude of factors and necessary elements to consider when properly launching a new webpage – some include url structures, robot.txt commands and sitemap submission via Google Webmaster Tools. This post outlines a good SEO checklist to keep on hand when launching new web pages.
10. Use rank tracking tools.
11. Analyze your results.
This image highlights the organic traffic the page has received dating from September 1st – December 15th. As you can see, the number isn’t huge. However I really want to stress the following:
It does not matter how big the number is or how many people have visited this page.
What matters is how many leads we’ve generated and the total potential value of those leads.
We use a free CRM tool called Insightly which I highly recommend if you’re a small business looking to manage a sales pipeline from start-to-finish. It helps us to keep track of users who have customized a jacket for their team, club or company and submitted it for a quote. Or, what we call a stage one lead.
CRM tool was installed on Oct. 20th
Organic traffic received: 275 sessions
Avg. organic sessions / month: 275/4 = 68.75
Stage 1 leads generated: 32
Organic visit to stage 1 lead conversion rate: 32/275 = 0.1163 or 11.63%. In other words, if we drive 100 organic visits to the page, approximately 11 sessions will become a stage 1 lead.
Value of leads generated: $220,840
Wrapping things up
When done properly, analyzing keyword targeting opportunities using page volume analysis has proved time-and-time-again to be successful. This keyword method can be used for many different tasks across many different projects, some include: developing a list of blog topics, creating new search landing pages or even helping to build out larger content strategies.
Hopefully this post helped influence a new way of thinking when doing keyword research and possibly sparked some additional ideas for how you can use page volume analysis to help further optimize your web pages.
Questions? Comments? Or want to share your example? Leave it in the comments below!