Keywords, Without Intent, Do Not Convert
When considering keyword strategies, most people simply want to rank as highly as possible for the most common, popular keywords within their industry. If you run a hotel, for instance, you may consider words like hotel, motel, lodging, accommodations and the like. These are considered fairly broad keywords, and you can find them within every industry. While they may describe what you offer, you have to consider the intent of your potential audience. If the keywords you use do not match that intent, ranking highly may still get you increased traffic numbers, but that does not mean it will lead to conversions.
The issue is that many popular keywords are simply too broad to help organically filter your traffic into people who are predisposed to buy your products and services. For instance, imagine that your site ranks highly for “hotel in Texas.” Obviously, that’s a very popular search term, and ranking on the first page is going to bring in a lot of traffic.
Now imagine that you only have one location, and it’s in Houston. Anyone coming to visit Houston will be interested in your high ranking, but what about people going to Dallas/Fort Worth or San Antonio? What about those heading to Austin? What about all of the smaller towns and cities scattered across the western side of the state?
Texas is an enormous state with 268,820 square miles of land to consider. That’s far more than many European countries. Visitors heading to various parts of Texas will never come within hours of your hotel in Houston. So, when they visit your site off of those first-page results, it means nothing to them. Remember that your focus is on conversions. Search results get you traffic, but it is then up to you to sell your product or services. However, even if you do an incredible job selling your hotel as the ultimate Houston experience, it’s irrelevant to someone outside of Houston. Your conversion rate appears far too low. You think there’s something wrong with your sales pitch, but that’s not it at all. There’s something wrong with your keywords.
The trick is to use more focused keywords that, while bringing in far less overall traffic, get the right type of people to your site. You want as much of your raw traffic as possible to be people who may stay at your hotel — or buy your product or use your services, if you’re in a different industry. If 100% of that traffic consisted of people who were predisposed to buy, you’d convert far more naturally, even if the initial numbers were lower. You could have half of the traffic and make twice as many sales.
Don’t get caught up in thinking that raw traffic is all that matters. It’s important, but the real goal is conversions. Sales. Success. To get that, you often have to consider more focused keywords, and you may want to consider using niche keywords. Not only are these naturally more focused, in many cases, but it’s easier to rank highly for a keyword with less competition. Again, overall searches may be lower, but you get better placement and better conversions. At the end of the day, that keyword can be more successful than something generic and broad.
Know Your Audience
The goal of any SEO campaign, then, is to know your audience. Who are they? What do they want? What can you offer them? What gets them to convert? What do they search for specifically? Once you can identify that, you can create an SEO strategy that not only brings in more traffic, but that brings in the right type of traffic. That gets conversions. That ranks highly for focused keywords and niche keywords. When you give your audience what they need and want, you’ll find a new level of success.