SEO ROI – How To Choose The Right Keywords For SEO ROI
First post btw (mini boom!)
When you start a new project with a client, too often they want to target crazily competitive VANITY keywords.
The reality is that with the budget, resource and time available, they’re often NOT going to get results. And that means no ROI for the client.
As an SEO, our job is all about delivering ROI. This post will show you how to:
- identifying site content/keywords that are already performing for you
- Leveraging those parts of the site to drive ROI
- Setting achievable SEO targets that build a strong, lasting client relationship
Here’s How I Did It…
I know it seems obvious, but it’s worth stating that it’s far easier going after a keyword that you are already ranking for, than going after a keyword that you are ranking sub 200 for…
So, here’s a process for finding the best opportunities to deliver ROI for your client, without killing yourself in the process…
Step 1 – Find awesome keywords that are already doing well for your client
a. Look at the conversion data in Google Analytics
Conversions should be manually set up in GA, so if you’re client hasn’t got this, you need to go and set it up. If you’ve got conversion data, mine it. Find the best performing keywords that are driving ROI for your client (you can look across paid and non paid search traffic for this data).
Open an excel spreadsheet and add the keywords in there for later.
b. If there is no conversion data, look at usage data
If your client hasn’t got conversion data, then look at usage data (at the page level and the keyword level). This gives you a quick and dirty understanding of what keywords are engaging your prospects, and can be used in lieu of conversion data.
FYI Usage data is an important SEO metric. There’s a lot of discussion about what data Google uses, but IMO, Google’s relentless focus on the user suggests this metric is only going to get more important. Check this advanced SEO post on usage data from SEO By The Sea, and this post by Dr Pete at SEOMoz for a couple of different opinions…
Usage data to look at:
- Bounce rate
- Time on page
- Pages per visit
If there are certain pages/keywords that have great usage statistics, then it makes sense that those keywords are driving qualified traffic and might be worth your attention. Add them into your excel spreadsheet.
c. Look at top performing landing pages report in GA
These are your best performing pages, and by association most likely your best performing keywords. Drill down from the page level into the ‘traffic source > keyword’, and identify the keywords that are driving traffic to your site. Then add them to your spreadsheet.
By now, you should have a long list of the current top performing keywords for your client site
Step 2- Analyse the keywords to find where you can actually make moves in the SERP’s
With this basket of keywords, analyse which keywords you could actually move the needle on within the time and budget constraints of the client. This is a bit labour intensive, but totally worth it…
Using your excel doc, create the following fields. You should end up with something that looks a bit like this:
Explanation of the form fields:
Landing Page – URL of the page that is currently ranking
Total Visits – Total organic landing page traffic for the keyword (exact match)
Phrase – Keyword/keyphrase target
UK Rank – Current ranking of your keyword in the country you are optimising for (I use Sheer SEO for this, but there are a million services out there e.g. Positionly.com, SEOMoz Pro
Allintitle – This will give you a rough and ready idea of how many pages are in the SERP’s that are targeting this specific keyword
Competition – Look at the sites currently ranking above you. What are their PA and DA (seomoz) metrics? Do you reckon you can beat them? Use allintitle data to help with this decision and use SEOMoz keyword difficulty tool if you’re a PRO member.
Notes – Anything else you feel the need to add in about raising the rankings for that keyword
Step 3 - Choose your keywords for the project
Once you’ve completed your spreadsheet, go through and work out exactly what keywords you’re going to go after in this phase of the project. Your decision should be primarily based on
- Current keyword rank
- Keyword Competitiveness
- Available resources and time
These keyword choices should be ones that you can improve for your client. Set a specific ranking objective and a time objective for each keyword
Step 4 – Go tell the client!
Discuss your keyword targets with the client and explain to him/her why this is the correct course of action. Too often I’m a ‘yes man’ in front of clients. As a consultant, my job is to advise the client. Time spent setting the right objectives and getting buy in from the client will 100% pay off at the end of the project…
First post done!
I have to shout out to Ian Lurie at Portent Interactive who did an amazing presentation at SEOMoz 2011 on exactly this subject, and also to Tom Critchlow (who has a free video presentation available at www.distilled.net if you sign up to the mailing list entitled: ‘Structuring A Major Linkbuilding Project)
I hope you found that interesting. Any questions, ask away in the comments. Feel free to follow me on twitter or sign up to my RSS