Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Keyword Strategies for Hybrid SEO/PPC Search Campaigns - Forecasting Search Volumes and Assigning Your Terms

There are two main tools available to help you forecast the search volume for your keywords. They are Overture's Keyword Selector Tool, which is free ( http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/), and WordTracker.com, which uses its own proprietary database and Overture's database to forecast keyword volume.

Once you have your preliminary keyword list ready to go, you'll want to know how popular the terms are. Very popular terms are desirable, but often very competitive. Terms that get little or no traffic may not be worthwhile for SEO, but are great to include in your PPC campaign. Middle of the road terms that generate a moderate volume (say, 2000 searches per month) can be targeted in both PPC and SEO campaigns, then moved to either SEO or PPC based on whether they actually bring in qualified traffic.

At this stage of your research, your main criteria for assigning terms to SEO or PPC are search volume and appropriateness of the term. Terms that are critical to your business and come up over and over again on your website should be targeted for both SEO and PPC. Cost is another factor to consider when including a term in the PPC component of your strategy. If the term is highly competitive and its per-click cost high then it may be prohibitive to include it in the PPC campaign. If you do include it, then you'll need to figure out where you want it to appear in the sponsored listings (the #1 listing may be too much money, but #5 may be just fine) and how much money to devote to this term compared with your overall PPC budget.

SEO can be expensive in terms of both time and money. If you are doing it yourself, then expect it to eat up a good portion of your work week as you get it implemented. If you are hiring an agency or consultant to do the work for you, it can be as expensive on a per-term basis as a sponsored listing on Overture or Google. Consider your terms carefully for SEO. Don't optimize pages for terms that get a very low volume and are not absolutely appropriate for your business and your audience. Secondary and low-volume terms should be relegated to the PPC campaign and evaluated closely for relevancy and conversion.

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