For most marketers, the end goal of SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, PPC, online PR, banner advertising and any other form on online marketing is increasing conversions. This could mean the number of subscribers to your company blog or e-newsletter, the number of people signing up for a free trial of your product or downloading a white paper, the number (or dollar value) of products sold and more. Conversion metrics may vary from site to site, but the end goals are usually the same—get more conversions!
Keyword research forms the cornerstone of your SEO campaign. The keywords you target on your site will directly impact what kind of search phrases your site gets pulled into the SERPs for, which in turn influences the kind of visitor that will find your website. The better the keyword the more targeted the visitor and the more likely they are to convert in the end. For instance, “computer software” could mean anything. “Small business accounting computer software” is very specific and means the searcher knows exactly what they are looking for and are more ready to convert.
One potential way to determine which keywords you should include on your site is by checking up on your keyword conversion rate. In theory, the keywords with the highest conversion rates (usually long-tail) are the most profitable to your business and should become your priority keywords. However, just because a particular keyword conversion rate looks good on paper, that doesn’t mean it’s the most important keyword on your site.
For instance, let’s assume that “small business accounting computer software” sends 10 people to your site each month and 6 of them sign up for a trial period. That’s a whopping 60% conversion rate! Most business owners would kill for that kind of conversion rate. However, let’s say that “computer software” sends 450 visitors to your site each month and an average of 35 people sign up for the same software trial. That’s a measly 7.7% conversion rate, a far cry from the 60% keyword conversion rate of “small business accounting computer software.” On paper, “computer software” shouldn’t even register as an important keyword, right?
This is actually where a lot of site owners run into trouble and the #1 reason you can’t start siloing data when you are trying to make an SEO decision. Yes, visitors that find your site searching for “computer software” might only convert 7% of the time, but look at how much more traffic your site gets from that keyword and how many more conversions that 7% means for your business! Which would you rather have each month, 35 conversions or 6? Granted, the visitors that convert using “small business accounting computer software” are probably further along in their buying cycle and might be a lot easier to convert into paying customers, but you’ve got the 35 other potential leads in your sales funnel now! There is a lot more potential for growth when you’ve got a bigger pipeline to work with.
Keyword conversion rate data is useful for testing new keywords, but it shouldn’t be the only number you look at when choosing to keep or eliminate a certain keyword. It’s very easy to start getting tunnel vision as you dig through your analytics, but it’s so important to remember to look at the big picture when it comes to SEO.