More often than not many internet marketers are choosing keywords to optimize their websites for based on a “gut” feeling that the chosen words will actually convert. Based on this feeling, hundreds of hours of work (and thousands of dollars) could be dedicated to chasing that “gut” feeling. But, what if your feeling is wrong? What if the keyword you’ve chosen to focus your SEO efforts on – isn’t really a keyword that converts to a lead or a sale?
Here’s a simple example, assuming you sell widget designs:
Keyword A: “Widget Design” – this keyword may convert at 0% , while:
Keyword B: “Widget Development and Design Services” – converts at 10%!
Perhaps you could rank and optimize for both of them, but chances are you have competitors and a finite amount of resources. You will need to choose just one! Of course, you will choose the keyword that converts at 10%.
I’d want to have this business intelligence before I began doing SEO work on my website, using up both time and resources.
Luckily, pay per click advertising is an easy, and relatively speaking, inexpensive way to test the conversion potential of any keyword before you begin to optimize for it. Ideally, before you test with pay per click advertising (PPC) you will have narrowed your focus down to 3-5 potential keywords.
For your conversion test work on PPC use this simple checklist:
1) Start with Google Adwords – particularly if you are in the B2B space.
2) Give each phrase your checking its own ad group. Use exact matching.
3) Give each ad group at least two ad variations that are set to display evenly.
4) Bid to 70-100% of Google’s suggested bid amounts.
5) Land the clicks on a dedicated landing page- where you have a specific and tailored call to action tied in with an offer (whitepaper, case study) that is valuable to the prospect.
6) Ensure Google Conversions is enabled and installed correctly.
7) Make sure Google Content network is switched off.
8) Set any Geotargetting that may be applicable.
After the test ad groups are up and running, you will begin to gather conversion data – provided you’ve made sure that the ads are actually displaying (ideally with an average position of 1-5), your quality scores are passable and that you’ve created a landing page that features an offer that you are proud of.
If you track your conversions closely, you will be able to follow a click from lead status all the way to sale, thus giving you invaluable insights into how your targeted keywords compare.
How long should the test last?
The test for each phrase, generally speaking, should last at a minimum for at least 100 clicks or 1000 impressions. If 100 clicks or 1000 impressions occur and you’ve yet to generate a lead (assuming, of course, your ads are displaying in the 1-3 position according to Google) you’ve probably stumbled upon a poorly converting keyword. Depending on how much a conversion is worth to you and how much you are paying per click you should be able to decide whether or not the given keyword is the correct target for organic optimization. Conversion rates for some keywords can easily run into the double digits, while 3-5% is the current industry standard. If you’re really pleased with the results, you may even choose to keep PPC as a part of your marketing strategy.
If you have a question about setting up a PPC campaign please don’t hesitate to ask. You may also be interested in one of our upcoming search engine marketing webinars. Good luck with your efforts!