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3 July 2012

SEO Search Engine Optimisation

The Importance of Keyword Research: A lesson from our clients

Sometimes being on top just isn’t good enough. Each day, I am the lucky recipient of anywhere between 10 and 20 unsolicited emails from SEO specialists telling me how theirs is the best way of achieving “first page ranking within three months.” SEO Guarantee

Firstly, I’d never trust anybody who can guarantee results so quickly- search demand fluctuates; algorithms change on an almost daily basis; competitors are working against you etc. But, what I find quite peculiar to these SEO specialists is the fact that their reported ranking positions are hardly ever juxtaposed with the number of leads or sales generated through search as a result. Surely, this is the only reason for wanting to pursue a programme of search engine optimisation. I suspect that a lot of companies who are shelling out for what they rightfully think is a genuine way to generate leads online, find that they aren’t seeing the results they’d hoped for.

In this post, I want to show you by using information about our clients how SEO really can help you to generate tangible returns online by carrying proper keyword research from the very start.

Choosing Keywords

Keywords are the backbone of any SEO project. However, there’s a big difference between what you think you should be trying to rank for and what you ought to rank for. Take a look at the example:

A plastic surgeon with his own practice in Manchester wants his site to claim the top spot each time somebody searches for “Plastic Surgery Clinic”. The search volume for “Plastic Surgery Clinic” locally is 5400 per month. However, if we were to target “Cosmetic Surgery Clinic”, 2,700 more people search for that monthly, meaning the site is more likely show up if we were to target the latter. Both are highly competitive terms and would require a lot of work on the part of the SEO specialist, but at least the second option gives us the opportunity for bigger returns in the long run.

Now, consider for a second how specific “Cosmetic Surgery Clinic” is as a term. Where is this clinic supposed to be? The surgeon only has one practice in Manchester, so trying to optimize the site to target patients across the whole of the UK might spread his resources a bit too thinly. Instead, targeting “Cosmetic Surgery Clinic Manchester” might increase the chances of the site ranking better, especially since there is still good demand for the search term (1,600 per month). The surgeon and the SEO specialist decide to try and target this long-tail phrase as the primary keyword as it is more relevant to the page they are trying to improve.

Optimisation

Now the keyword has been chosen, the page’s content needs to be optimized to make sure it is relevant to that specific search term. The site’s search traffic is about 50 visits per month currently, with the majority of the keywords being branded terms so it’s important that the page starts to rank for the target search term.

To begin with, the content is reviewed and the target keywords are placed in key areas on the page. Original content is the best way to attract links, so a few case studies and some interesting infographics are added to encourage sharing across the web. In addition to that, the SEO specialist will also offer content to other sites which will hopefully link back to the surgeon’s website.

Results

After several months of optimisation and steady increases in the site’s rankings, the site finally reaches the top spot on page one of Google. Now, the site is seeing around 720 search visits per month- an increase of 1300%. Traffic Increase

On average, the site converts at about 2%, meaning that around 14 people each month contact the surgery and book. On average, visitors online spend about £5,000 per treatment, meaning that each month the site helps to generate approximately £70,000 of revenue.

Considerations

Because the initial keyword research was carried out to reflect not just the words the surgeon wanted to target, but the terms that had a sizeable search volume in the first place, there was enough demand to see an increase in traffic and conversions. In our real-life scenario, one of our clients went from generating no leads online to £19 million worth of leads in one year thanks to SEO. This clearly shows us that by targeting keywords appropriately and choosing the ones that will actually provide sustained traffic can have a significant effect on the amount of conversions you can expect online. It worked for our clients, and it can certainly work for you.

 

By Adam Cowlishaw

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