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The Importance Of Keyword Research In SEO And SEM

Feb 27, 2008
Despite their being no reason that a website can't use both methods, there often seems to be a divide between the Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing schools of thought. But if there's one area that SEO and SEM agrees, it is that the selection of targeted keywords is an essential process within the marketing campaign.

PPC Keywords

For SEM or PPC campaigns, the best keywords will drive targeted traffic that has a high conversion rate. Bids will be low enough that a site can still profit from each visitor. While each individual keyword may not generate many searches or clicks, when combined they can generate an exceptional level of sales and drive very good profit levels.

SEO Keywords

SEO requires the same level of targeted keywords. Targeted keywords are typically easier to compete for, and again generate traffic that is targeted enough to offer a reasonable conversion rate. Where SEO differs is that when writing content you will naturally include long tail keywords. These are highly specific and are usually responsible for a very small portion of your search engine traffic. However, because of how specific and natural these keywords are, the conversion rate they offer is usually incredibly high.

Semantically Related Keywords

SEO keyword research has, in many respects, become more difficult since Google's introduction of LSI and topic based indexing. As well as finding out the primary and moist beneficial keywords for a page, it is also prudent to look for semantically related keywords. Websites that appear the most organic through the use and placement of semantically related keywords will be those that have the greatest opportunities in the search results pages.

Targeted Keywords Are Better Than Generic Keywords

When conducting any keyword research bear in mind that appearing at the top of ads or index listings for generic keywords may not provide the kind of conversion rate your are looking for. In contrast, by targeting a large number of less popular but more targeted keywords, it can be easier and quicker to generate reasonable levels of traffic; traffic that is more inclined to make you money from sales or conversions.

The Exception

There is always an exception to the rule. Some websites or companies may benefit from targeting more generic keywords if they are attempting to brand their business or product. Getting your name and your website seen by more people, more frequently, will make it more memorable in the minds of your potential customers. This can prove a costly ploy and is unnecessary for most small interests.

The Most Important Factors

Search engine ranking isn't everything and the level of search engine traffic is a better indicator, but this still lacks important information. Yes, your site needs traffic but the wrong traffic won't improve your sales and profit figures at the end of the day. Targeting and testing are crucial parts of both SEO and SEM.

Keywords, Keywords, Keywords

While both SEO and SEM require equally well targeted keywords, using exactly the same keywords for both marketing techniques is unlikely to yield the best results. Keyword research for organic search engine optimization needs to be kept separate from PPC keyword research. This way, both campaigns have the opportunity to provide the best possible results and you get the greatest ROI from your efforts.
About the Author
Omaro Ailoch is a senior software engineer, an internet marketing expert, and the founder of OC IT Services http://www.ocitservices.com/ a highly skilled California based web development, design, and search engine optimization firm. OC IT Services has successfully improved ROI for small to large businesses and corporations through the successful streamlining of core business practices and the implementation of SEO strategies.
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