Whether you already have an Internet business or you’re thinking of starting one, you should have one major thing on your mind: driving traffic to your website. Learning how to do this is crucial to your success. After all, if you don’t have people browsing through your products or services, how can you sell them anything?
Let’s say you give tap dancing lessons in Orlando, FL, and you’ve set up a website to help you find more students. Now, you probably know how important it is to get as many people as possible to visit your site. But you may not realize that there are two types of traffic – and only one of them is going to be worth your efforts to attract it.
In general, traffic is targeted or untargeted.
Targeted traffic is the best. It consists of people who come to your website already knowing something about your niche and what you are selling. They’re often ready to purchase your services or products even before they get there. Targeted traffic for your hypothetical business would be residents of Orlando who want to take tap dancing lessons.
Untargeted traffic could come from anywhere. Their purpose in visiting your website is unknown. They may or may not have any interest in your offers. For instance, you could get visitors who are researching Orlando or tap dancing, but who may not live in Orlando or be looking for dance lessons. This type of visitor seldom results in any significant sales.
So how do you get the right kind of visitors to your site? There are a couple of different marketing methods you can use.
One of the most effective ways to generate targeted traffic is to master one specific tool: Keywords. It’s important to understand how vital keywords are to your success – and how to use various tools on the Web that can help you maximize your findability.
When creating content for your website – product information, staff member bios, even articles related to what you’re selling – you want to make sure you include plenty of keywords that your potential customers could be searching for. The goal is for your site to show up in search engine results pages (SERPs) after a targeted visitor searches for those particular keywords online.
Amassing a Keyword Arsenal
Most Internet business owners make the grave mistake of not taking the time to conduct thorough keyword research. They brainstorm the first 10 words that pop into their heads for their niche (like “tap dancing” and “Orlando dance lessons”) and never dig deeper into the minds of their prospective customers.
Effective targeted marketing methods rely on proper keyword research. A keyword can be a single word (like “dance”) or words strung together to create a keyword phrase (like “tap dance lessons for adults”). The more specific you can get with your keyword phrase, the better. That helps narrow down the people searching in your niche. Plus, it usually means fewer competitors for the phrase in search engine results pages.
Use keyword tools – such as those from WordTracker, Yahoo/Overture, and Google – to really dig down to come up with the best keyword phrases for your website. The more in-depth you get, the more you’ll be able to find the words or phrases that your best prospects will type into a search engine. If you can hit upon some of these phrases, you’ll see huge increases in the right kind of traffic.
You can look at keyword phrases from a number of different angles. Many keyword research tools provide information on how many searches are being done for a particular keyword phrase, but that’s not all there is to it. You should also look at how much competition there is for that phrase, as well as its Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI).
KEI refers to the ratio between the amount of competition for a particular phrase and the number of searches done for that phrase. The higher the KEI value, the better. You’ll usually want to use phrases where the searches for it have been plentiful and the competitors scarce.
WordTracker not only allows you to find the number of searches being done for a particular keyword phrase, it also lets you see how much competition there is for that phrase, along with the KEI value.
There are two ways to do keyword research through WordTracker – with a free trial or a paid option. The free trial allows you to research 30 keyword phrases, but only provides search results from MSN. The paid option gives you a number of different ways to research as many keyword phrases as you like. Plus, you can choose which search engine you want to receive results from.
To start your keyword research in WordTracker, enter a basic keyword or short keyword phrase that describes your business. For instance, you could type “Orlando tap dance lessons” into the search box.
WordTracker would then spit out a list of related words and phrases for you to choose from – like “tap dancing,” “dance lessons,” and “instruction.” Click on any of them to see related keyword phrases on the right side of the screen. Clicking on “tap dancing,” for example, might elicit a list that includes “tap dancing shoes,” “history of tap dancing,” “tap dancing steps,” and “tap dancing lessons.” Clicking on “tap dancing lessons” might then elicit a list that includes “tap dance lessons for adults” “tap dance lessons for children,” and “free online tap dancing lessons.”
The next step is to pick, from these options, the keyword phrases that are most closely related to your product or service. In WordTracker, this adds them to your “keyword basket.” For our hypothetical business, we’d choose “tap dance lessons for adults” instead of “tap dance lessons for children” or “free online tap dancing lessons.”
Try to come up with as many specific keyword phrases as possible, and use WordTracker’s “dig-down” feature to get even more precise choices. Once you’ve filled your keyword basket, the next step is the competition analysis.
The competition analysis page is where you’ll get the most information regarding your chosen keyword phrases – the number of searches that have been done on them, the amount of competition for them, and their KEI values.
WordTracker recommends using keyword phrases with a KEI greater than 10, but it’s even better if you can get keyword phrases with a KEI over 100. A real gift is a phrase with a KEI greater than 400. A high KEI value means that you’re likely to be ranked within the first few pages of your targeted visitors’ search engine results pages … if you optimize your website pages for that phrase.
By choosing very specific keyword phrases with a high KEI value, and sprinkling those keywords throughout your website and inside your advertisements, you’ll be able to get the most targeted traffic to your website – people who actually want to buy your product or service.
As your list of keyword phrases grows, start putting it to use by including those phrases on your website, in your blog, in content you post in article directories, and in pay-per-click search engines. As time goes on and you see how important keywords are to the success of your online business, you’ll continue conducting thorough research and bulking up your list for a greater reach on the Web.[Ed. Note: Ready to step up to the plate and start your own Internet business? If so, online marketing expert Paul Smithson and ETR’s team of friendly experts are standing by to help you. We’ve partnered with Paul, creator of the XSitePro website-building program, so you’ll be able to come to ETR’s 5 Days in July conference with nothing – no product, no marketing skills, no technical know-how – and walk out five days later with your own online business. No experience required, and it only takes a few minutes to get started!]