This is a good question, and Seattle SEO gets asked it a lot in one form or another in our conversations with clients.
A good keyword can mean a lot of different things. Here are some definitions we hope you’ll find helpful:
- A high volume, low competition query that is relevant to the website (SEO)
- A commercial intent query that is cost effective (PPC)
- A query that is used by your target market and converts well on your website (CRO)
As you can see, it depends on who you ask. To the SEO, whose primary key performance indicator is usually engaged, buying traffic, the volume of searches the keyword has every month is more important than the relevance of the keyword. The relevance is still important, don’t get me wrong, but the most important thing is volume.
The PPC professionals in the crowd would respectfully disagree with SEO’s. To them, it’s all about maximizing their return on advertising spend (ROAS). Volume isn’t very important. What’s really important to them is that they get intent, not relevance.
To the CRO, neither of these is really all that correct. Their interest is somewhere in between. True, you need relevance, and you need volume, and you need intent, but one without the other two is useless. They can’t iterate on the conversion rate without enough traffic volume, but junk traffic doesn’t exactly work either, and it doesn’t matter what the user’s intent is if you’re not selling what they’re looking to buy.
What’s our strategy?
At SEO Seattle, we use something of a hybrid.
A great keyword matches all three of these factors, with one more aspect thrown in: closing potential. If a keyword doesn’t have a decent amount of volume, isn’t very relevant to the website, doesn’t convey commercial intent, or can’t realistically be expected to close into business, it’s not a great keyword. These keywords are the ones people who want something right now search for. They are at the bottom of the funnel.
Now, you can take out any one of these factors and still get a good keyword. For instance, if a keyword isn’t going to close into a sale, but matches all the other factors, the person is at a higher level in the funnel. They need to be nurtured down the funnel before closing into business.
A low volume keyword can yield unexpected results in commercial intent, upping the closing rate dramatically. Keywords you thought weren’t relevant can turn out to be very relevant indeed for a particular subset of customers. Even keywords with low commercial intent have their value, if you can but capture the user’s attention.
It all comes down to strategy. You can’t be everything to everyone- in marketing, or life. Make the most of your marketing efforts by appealing to the best audience for your company.