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Internet users are using more general terms than specific ones, but the more sophisticated users tend to be more specific because they know they can save time by narrowing down their search. However, that doesn’t mean you should be very specific. Yes, selecting key phrases can be tricky. We normally recommend narrowing a general term down to a niche market, but allowing it to be more general than specific. Broadening your key phrases can make it more difficult to get a good position and narrowing it down too much may not give you enough visitors. Sounds confusing? If you know exactly what you want to achieve with your search engine results, it will not be as confusing as it sounds. 

What really matters is to capture the best possible audience for your site – and that may include people who know what they are looking for, and those seeking alternatives. Also, when considering keywords for searches within your web site, a different approach is needed, as users are more specific and expect to find what they are looking for. In fact, 72 % of e-commerce site users search for specific products.

Here are some things to consider, when selecting key words for your web site:

Users’ needs:

Will they be disappointed coming to your site or will it be a great find for them? There’s no purpose in using keywords that represent services or products you do not offer.

Target audience:

Will you be attracting the desired clientele? Will you be attracting visitors who can become great customers or simply increasing the page views on your site? Some sites (e.g.: those selling advertising) may benefit from getting any traffic they can get, but if you want to sell a product or get qualified leads, you will want to focus on quality, rather than quantity.

High probability of conversion rate:

Will your site be able to turn these visitors into clients? If your keywords are right on target and your site looks professional, reliable and trustworthy, chances are the visitor will stop there or return to purchase. It’s not enough to be number one in the search engine if your site will scare visitors away. Major concerns that drive visitors away: site design doesn’t promote reliability and trust, broken links, outdated web sites. Keep your site current in look and content. Keep content relevant for visitors, and make it easy for them to buy or contact you. If you are selling a product or service, having a lot of visitors or page hits are not as good as having a high conversion rate (number of visitors that actually become clients!) – so do everything you can to convert visitors into clients.

If you are designing or updating your web site, make sure you hire a web designer or web development company that understands search engine optimization and can provide you a comprehensive Internet marketing strategy, including assistance with selecting your keywords.

June 2004. © Mediamix Design & Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.

This Web Marketing article was written by Deia Farrell on 3/30/2005

Written by Deia Farrell, a Principal and Marketing Consultant with Mediamix Design & Publishing Inc., a full-service creative and marketing company in Florida.