One thing I love about search is the ability to collect data and turn that data into sales. However, when you have a new site, you don’t have any on site data to analyze. When we don’t have existing data to analyze we need to create data and we can do this quickly with a paid search campaign.
Why would you want to create data? You want to create data in order to find out what terms will work best for your new site. Let me explain…
What a lot of people do when deciding what terms to SEO a site for is to do keyword research. Based on those terms or the terms of their competitors are already ranking for… may be what you decide to go after. But, how do you know these terms are right for you? Even if you know these terms are converting well for your competitors doesn’t mean they will convert well for you.
No amount of keyword research will tell you how well the terms you have choosen will convert. I’ve worked with companies that spend thousands of dollars a month for keyword targeted links to support their SEO efforts, just to find out that it’s not cost effective for them. When asked how they choose these terms the response was “It was the terms with the most search volume”. In the long run it was a less competitive term that converted the most, more then they ever could ranking number one for their most competitive term.
The reason? If you have ever done PPC you know that keywords convert differently. Even after a redesign, the same terms that converted well previously, may not convert as well once a redesign has been put into place. My point here is, just because you know the terms you want to rank for it doesn’t mean you will convert on them. This is where PPC comes in. Running a paid search campaign will allow you to find out which terms convert the best for you. Once you have identified those terms you can then start building your SEO strategy.
For established sites… using your analytics is another great way to find potentially high converting terms, especially if you have goal tracking in place. You will be able to easily identify terms that you should be increasing your SEO efforts on. Knowing what terms to target is just the beginning. Don’t waste time and money trying to get to number one just to find out they don’t convert as you expected.