How to choose keywords for a website

how to choose right keywords for seo and how to choose the best keywords for my site
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ErrolFord,France,Professional
Published Date:03-08-2017
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Choosing the Right Keywords In This Chapter ▶ Understanding the importance of keywords ▶ Reading your prospects’ minds through their search behavior ▶ Discovering tools for keyword research ▶ Mastering keyword formats and variations ▶ Sorting your keywords into ad groups ▶ Discouraging the “wrong” people from visiting your site ▶ Increasing traffic by discovering new keywords ou’re in control of most parts of your online marketing. You write your Y ads. You design and create your Web site. You write checks for adver- tising. You set your prices, hours of operation, and policies. But one of the most important elements of your online strategy isn’t created by you at all, but by your prospects: the keywords they use to search for your solution to their problem. Your job isn’t to invent keywords, but to identify the keywords they’re already typing. If you can’t find those keywords, the AdWords game is over before it starts. No keywords means no impressions, no clicks, no leads, no sales. After you’ve discovered those keywords, however, your job isn’t over. Now you have to figure out “the want behind the word.” Each keyword represents a different mindset — a different set of assumptions about how to fulfill a need, and a different state of buying readiness. For example, the singular and plural keywords can imply huge differences. Someone searching forused car is probably closer to buying than someone who types used cars. The plural searchers typically are at the early stages of their quest, whereas the singular searchers have, in their minds, a picture of one item that they’ll buy when they find it.Part II: Launching Your AdWords Campaign 82 I use the singular/plural example because it’s surprising, perhaps, that one letter can make such a big difference. Other keyword variations, such as synonyms, are equally significant: ✓ car versusauto ✓ used versuspre-owned If you’ve ever received high-quality sales training, you know to pay attention to prospect cues and clues before making your pitch. You might steer one prospect to a 1958 MG convertible, a second to a 2001 Odyssey minivan, and a third to a 2009 Toyota Prius. With AdWords, your prospects’ keywords are your only initial clues to their innermost desires. Different keywords trigger different ads, take prospects to different landing pages, and make them differ- ent offers. This chapter shows you how to interpret keywords to help you read your prospects’ minds. Armed with this fundamental understanding, you discover how to conduct keyword research to find the words and phrases that will bring you qualified search traffic. You discover how to manage your keyword lists in AdWords, separating them into ad groups and using the positive and negative keyword formats to get as many good prospects as possible while discouraging nonbuyers from seeing and clicking your ads. Decoding Keywords to Read Your Prospects’ Minds The golden rule of marketing, in my book (hey, this is my book — cool), was first articulated by Robert Collier in his 1934 book, The Robert Collier Letter Book: “Join the conversation already going on in your prospects’ mind.” His example: If you want to sell a winter coat to a man walking down the street talking with a friend, don’t jump out and interrupt him with a statement about what a great winter coat you have here. Instead, start walking along with the pair, listening and nodding at their conversation. Here and there ask a question, offer a relevant comment, and watch for an opening. When talk comes around to vacations, steer it gently to trips to cold climates. When your prospect is primed, you can show him your coat. (Please remember that’s a metaphor, not a suggestion to lurk in doorways and stalk strangers) Because Google has not (yet) hooked up electrodes to our brains while we browse the Web, the keyword is your best guide to the conversation already going on in your prospects’ heads.Chapter 5: Choosing the Right Keywords 83 Perry Marshall ofwww.perrymarshall.com is fond of saying that every keyword represents an unscratched itch. You search to solve a problem. Maybe you literally itch and are looking for an ointment. Maybe you’re bored and are looking for excitement. Maybe you’re worried and looking for peace of mind. Maybe you accidentally dropped your cell phone in a cup of coffee. Maybe you want to find a summer camp for your kid. Whatever it is, the fact that you’re searching means you don’t have enough information to take action immediately. A gap exists between what you know and what you need to know in order to make a decision. A nifty Web portal created by Seth Godin,www.squidoo.com, says it well: We believe that when you go online, you don’t search. You don’t even find. Instead, you are usually on a quest to make sense. That’s the goal of most visits to Google or Yahoo or blogs or Wikipedia. How do you make sense of the noise that’s coming at you from all directions? You won’t take action, you won’t buy something, book something, hire someone, or take a position on a political issue until you’ve made sense of your options. Searching online should really be called poking online. Because that’s what you do. You poke around. You poke in Google and you poke at some ads. After looking at a bunch of links and pages, then, finally, you get it. You understand enough to take action — to buy something or make a decision. Your mission as an AdWords advertiser is to help your prospects make sense of their options. And to do it faster and more completely than anyone else. The word client comes from the Middle Ages, where it originally meant, “person seeking the protection or influence of someone powerful.” Think of yourself as the expert in your market, the protector of the hordes of confused seekers, the one who will take your prospects by the hand and guide them through the hype and confusion and lies, and take them to the promised land of clarity and truth. Squidoo’s description suggests that “poking” is often inefficient because the searchers encounter lots of false starts and dead ends, confusion, frustration, and mistrust. What if you could figure out, just by the keywords they used, where your prospects are and what paths they need to follow to achieve under- standing? Then you become their protector, and they become your clients — trusting you to show them the next piece of information they need to make a decision and act on it. That’s the ultimate goal of your AdWords strategy — to show each prospect that you understand him or her, and can give them what they want each step of the way — including the part where they pull out a credit card and pay you for it. You achieve this goal by finding out how to inter- pret keywords. Your best teachers are Google, your own practice of empathy, and the data you collect.Part II: Launching Your AdWords Campaign 84 Learn from Google Google won the search-engine wars, in part, because it got very good at figur- ing out what people were looking for based on what they were typing. And the more data Google collects, the smarter it gets. Every time you perform a Google search and click a link, Google follows you and adds your actions to its database. It knows which sites you visit as part of your search. It knows how long you stay and how many pages you browse. If the advertiser has installed Google Analytics, conversion tracking, or a Web site optimizer, Google knows whether you’ve signed up for a mailing list, or bought some- thing, and even how much you spent. The next time someone searches on that or a similar keyword, Google tweaks the search results to reflect what you told Google through your actions. To fully appreciate the differences that Google has discovered, try this experiment: Perform a search on any keyword and print the first page of search results. Then search for a synonym and print that page. Compare the two pages — what percentage of the listings has changed? For example, try searching forvermiculture and then its synonymworm farming. If you take the time to visit the landing pages on each results page, you’ll dis- cover something of what Google knows about the mindset difference between vermiculture andworm farming. Perhaps one group is professional, whereas the other is made up of amateurs. Maybe vermiculturists are just worm farmers with more education and higher credit limits. Could be that vermiculturists are into composting, whereas worm farmers are into selling fish bait. (If I didn’t have 12 more chapters to write — and had some worm- farming supplies to sell — I might spend the time to find out.) If you’re preparing to advertise your business on Google, researching the key- word differences in your market will significantly increase your chances for success. Decision mindset Perform Google searches for the top keywords in your market and scan the results for clues. In particular, look for clues about what values will dominate their decision-making process. What data will they consider before making a decision, and how will they evaluate and prioritize that data? What’s the first question they need answered to alleviate feelings of impatience, confusion, or frustration? The following subsections help you determine your potential customers’ mindsets.Chapter 5: Choosing the Right Keywords 85 Buyer or tirekicker Are they serious about buying or just fantasizing?Big mansion sounds like a dream, whereas9 BR Colonial Princeton NJ looks like a serious quest. Market-savvy or innocent beginner Are they familiar with standard industry terms or new to the industry? For example, whenever I go to the home-improvement store, I have to describe the tool or part I’m looking for with lots of hand gestures, analogies, and facial contortions because I don’t know the name of anything in the store except for hammer, Snickers bar, and toilet-bowl flange (please excuse me as I process this flashback). Whether I walk out with a frown or a ratcheting 11mm box wrench depends on the patience, empathy, and experience of the clerk I manage to find hiding in Aisle 53. (Do they hide from you, too, or it is just me?) For example, someone who wants to make their own beer might search for beer making orhomebrew. The very fact that some folks are familiar with the “insider” term homebrew suggests they’re at least somewhat market-savvy. The savvier the prospect, the more knowledgeable you must appear about the market and the product choices. Even experts are looking for leadership. Discretionary or nondiscretionary purchase How badly does your prospect want or need what you have? How hard do you have to work to convince that person to buy? Imagine a long sales letter, an e-mail follow-up course, a video demonstration, and an hour of audio tes- timonials for . . . a box of large paper clips. Overkill. Paper clips are an office necessity, needed when they’re needed. Compare that to motivational post- ers for the office, a product that didn’t even exist until some entrepreneur figured out that managers are lousy at motivating employees and would pay money to get a picture to do it for them. Problem-conscious or solution-conscious For example,get more clients represents the problem (not enough clients), whereasCRM software (CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management) is one solution to that problem. Your ads can focus on prob- lems (empathizing, agitating) or solutions (describing, proving, advocating). Remember: Join the conversation already going on in your prospect’s mind. Suppose that every prospect is searching for a solution, and you have a com- peting solution to the same problem. In that case, start by talking about the solution they’re already thinking of. My Leads into Gold campaign does this with prospects searching forcold calling scripts. One ad headline reads, “Stop cold calling.” Another: “Cold Calling Doesn’t Work.” You can also raise questions about the solution: “Does Cold Calling Work?” Or position yourself as an expert above the fray: “Cold calling scripts compared.”Part II: Launching Your AdWords Campaign 86 Solution-conscious shoppers think they know what they need but are often wrong. To the extent that your ads and Web site can educate them through a consultative approach, you can shift them away from preconceptions that are limiting their thinking. Problem-conscious shoppers typically open their minds to a broader array of solutions. Price shopping or feature shopping If someone searches forCanon PowerShot SX10 IS 10 MP 20X Zoom you can bet they’re looking for a price, shipping info, and a store they can trust. Compare that to a search for10 MP SLR digital camera — which indicates more of an interest in general camera types (and possibly price ranges) than in specific brands and features. Need it now or planning for future need Your prospects’ time frame is important because you always have a choice to send them to a “buy now” page, or a “sign up for my 56-day e-mail course” page. Don’t pitch a course on avoiding plumbing emergencies to someone with a busted pipe flooding their basement. And don’t try, on the landing page, to sell a luxury beachfront property in Tasmania to someone searching forretirement property. Sale or information As I mention earlier in this chapter (unless you’re reading it backward, in which case “retpahc siht ni retal noitnem I sa”), singular and plural keywords often point to big differences in desired outcome. Someone ready to buy a pet cockatiel, for example, would probably begin withcockatiel rather than withcockatiels. Someone just doing research on longevity, tricks, and annoying habits would be more likely to begin with the plural. Practice thinking like your prospect Following the Google trail is a start. The next step is to put yourself into your prospect’s head, walk a mile in his moccasins, see through his eyes, and feel through his kidneys (or whatever), for all of them and each of them. Why did they type those particular search terms at that moment? What went through their minds during the seven seconds prior to the search? What were the triggers? How long have they been thinking about this prob- lem? What tasks did they just interrupt to conduct this search? What environ- mental distractions are competing for their attention right now?Chapter 5: Choosing the Right Keywords 87 Who are they? What do they care about? What are their hopes, fears, dreams? What are their deepest, most secret desires? Can I stop writing romance- novel back-cover teaser questions? The practice of market empathy is one of the hardest marketing tasks you’ll ever have to accomplish. Before you can pretend to be someone else, you first have to pretend you aren’t you. You, after all, are a very small but very loud market sample, and the more you listen to yourself, the less room you have in your brain for thinking about others. When you think your prospect is the same as you, the “Market to Yourself Syndrome” follows: You speak in industry jargon, you assume everyone knows the purpose, history, and significance of your product, and you believe everyone can see the dramatic differences between your product and the competition. Because it’s obvious you’re talk- ing to yourself, your prospects politely ignore you. The more words in the keyword phrase, the more information you have about your prospect. Look at the following four-word keywords, each including the wordstreatment for gout. What differences might exist in the minds of the three different searchers? ✓ natural treatment for gout ✓ alternative treatment for gout ✓ symptom treatment for gout I’m intrigued by the difference between natural and alternative — the two terms overlap a lot. I feel the alternative seeker is more desperate than the natural seeker. Natural implies high standards, whereas alternative tells me that conventional treatments haven’t worked. Symptom may be a quick-fix tell, a searcher who wants immediate relief rather than to address the root causes. What can you do with this information? If my livelihood depended on selling as much stuff as I could to these three people, I might craft my ad pitches accordingly: Keywords Ad Pitch natural treatment for gout Natural Gout Treatment — no side effects alternative treatment for Gout Treatment Your Doctor Doesn’t gout Know symptom treatment for gout Quick Relief from Gout PainPart II: Launching Your AdWords Campaign 88 My landing page would immediately indicate that I understand them. For example: Keywords Landing-Page Text natural treatment for “Are you worried about the side effects from gout the pills your doctor prescribed for your gout flare-ups? Want to be drug-free? Want to pre- vent future attacks naturally?” alternative treatment “You’ve tried the drugs, and they didn’t work. for gout You wonder whether Western medicine really knows how to treat gout. Your doctor just keeps prescribing higher doses of the same stuff. Want to get off the drug treadmill com- pletely and discover a treatment that attacks the causes of gout, not just the symptoms?” “You live in fear of a sudden onset of pain- symptom treatment for ful symptoms, and you’re always wondering gout when your next attack will occur. Instead of treating the symptoms when you’re already in agony, want to learn how to prevent flare-ups in the future?” Mastering the Three Positive Keyword Formats You can’t possibly guess all the variations of keywords your prospects will type when they’re trying to find you. Fortunately, Google doesn’t force you to be specific, although it allows you to be. AdWords lets you input positive keywords (that is, keywords that trigger your ad, as opposed to negative key- words that prevent your ad from showing) three different ways: broad match, phrase match, and exact match. They look like this: ✓ Broad match: Buddha statue ✓ Phrase match: “Buddha statue” ✓ Exact match: Buddha statueChapter 5: Choosing the Right Keywords 89 Broad match Broad match keywords show your ad when the actual keyword is similar to yours.Buddha statue shows for the following actual searches (note the dif- ferences in spelling and capitalization): ✓ Buddha statue ✓ statue of the Buddha ✓ Buddah statue ✓ Korean statue of buddha ✓ Buddhist statues Broad-match keywords are useful when you don’t know what people are searching for, and you want to make sure you capture all relevant searches. The downsides of broad matching are the inability to match ad copy to the keyword, as well as lower CTR (click-through rates) and higher bid prices. Phrase match Putting the broad match in double quotes converts it to phrase match, mean- ing the characters between the quotes must appear exactly as they are somewhere in the actual search.“Buddha statue” matches the following searches: ✓ Buddha statue ✓ “Buddha Statue” ✓ Chinese Buddha statue ✓ grinning Buddha statue Phrase matches generally have higher CTR and lower CPC (cost-per-click) than broad matches because they eliminate synonyms and changes in tense, number, and order. The most accurate matching occurs with the third syntax: exact matching.Part II: Launching Your AdWords Campaign 90 Exact match You indicate an exact match with square brackets, generally found to the right of the P key on your keyboard.Buddha statue will show only for the following searches: ✓ Buddha statue ✓ buddha Statue ✓ “Buddha statue” Exact-match keywords are the most precise. You know exactly what the searcher typed when you register an exact match impression. If you include the broad, phrase, and exact matches of the same keyword in your ad group, phrase trumps broad — and exact trumps both. In other words, if your keyword list includes ✓ Buddha statue ✓ “Buddha statue” ✓ Buddha statue and someone searches forlife-sized Buddha statue, that searcher triggers the phrase match (in quotes), but not the broad or exact match. And Buddha statue triggers the exact match. The goal: From vague to specific Exact match is a powerful way to exclude searches you don’t want to attract. But it’s a double-edged sword — exact match can also eliminate searches you do want, but haven’t thought of yet. In a perfect AdWorld, the vast majority of your traffic comes from exact matches (because you know what your pros- pects are thinking and typing) and you still capture other relevant searches. When you start advertising on AdWords, you may not have enough traffic for your exact matches, so you’ll have to use broad- and phrase-match keywords for a while. If you keep track of the actual search terms people use to get to your Web site (see the later section, “Using your server log to get smarter”), you can replace broad-match keywords with the exact keywords that trig- gered your ads. Over time, you replace keyword guesswork with precise knowledge. For exam- ple, Kerry Nesbit offers logos for veterinary practices atwww.veterinary logos.com. Her main keywords, when she began the campaign, wereChapter 5: Choosing the Right Keywords 91 veterinary logos and veterinarian logos. She soon discovered, via the logs on her Web server, that Google was showing her ads to people searching with similar intent, but different language: ✓ animal hospital logos ✓ veterinary clinic logos ✓ vet hospital logos ✓ dvm logos After you start seeing these searches in your server log or Search Query Report (see Chapter 14), you add them as broad-match and exact-match key- words. The number of impressions forveterinary logos goes down as these keywords pick up the slack. Eventually, you may be able to retire your broad-match keywords entirely. “Why would I want to retire my broad-match keywords?” I hear you ask. Kerry found that Google’s broad match was often, er, a bit too broad. Her ads were also being shown for such searches as: ✓ animal symbols ✓ medical emblem ✓ veterinary marquee ✓ Vietnam vet burn signs ✓ signs of canine pregnancy Yikes Obviously, none of these searches represents a serious prospect for graphic design for a veterinary practice. If you were Kerry, would you want to show your ad to people who want to know whether their dog is expecting? If not, you’re attracting the wrong prospects — and needlessly lowering your CTR and quality score, and increasing your bid price for clicks. So how can you turn off your ad for these searchers? One solution, which I cover later in this chapter, is the use of negative keywords. You can add-pregnancy to your keyword list to tell Google, “Hide my ad if pregnancy is in the keyword.” By monitoring the actual phrases that trigger visits to your site (via the Search Query Report), you eventually can eliminate many irrelevant searches by choosing only the keywords that qualified prospects are typing. I show you how to move from vague to specific keywords later in this chap- ter, in the “Sorting Keywords into Ad Groups” section.Part II: Launching Your AdWords Campaign 92 Researching Keywords: Strategies and Tools In the perfect AdWords campaign, every click leads to a sale and you don’t miss any clicks that could have led to a sale. In real life, of course, such a per- fect campaign is impossible. But it’s the goal of everything you’re doing. Your keyword selection represents a balancing act between hyper-aggressive and hyper-conservative: ✓ Hyper-aggressive: If you choose every keyword in the universe, you won’t miss anybody, but your CTR will be microscopic and your bid prices will be astronomical. ✓ Hyper-conservative: If you bid only on the very obvious keywords, you’ll miss a lot of sales from prospects who approach the search process differently from you. The ideal balance point is the one that maximizes your business goals, what- ever they are. If you’re advertising a for-profit business, your goal may simply be the highest possible profits. You may sacrifice some profits for quality of life and go for the highest ROI. If you’re building a company to sell, you may prefer to build a huge subscriber base to earning profits up front. Whatever the goal, the same three-part strategy applies: 1. Start with the obvious keywords. Make a list of the keywords you’d search if you were your customer. 2. From there, go laterally into synonyms and related searches. Conduct the research described in Chapter 4, use the Google Keyword Tool, and one or more of the tools described a little later in this chapter. 3. Tweak or fire underperforming keywords — and keep looking for new ones. Part III shows you how to manage your AdWords campaigns to continually improve your results. Eventually, you’ll have a stable of reliably profitable keywords pointing to the appropriate ads, taking visitors to effective Web sites. The Google Keyword Tool You can use the Google Keyword Tool (which I mention in Chapter 4 in the section on the size and health of your online market) atwww.askhowie. com/kwtool to generate related search terms. Simply type the main keyword in the box (this time keeping the Use Synonyms option selected) and clickChapter 5: Choosing the Right Keywords 93 the Get Keyword Ideas button to receive a list of related terms. For example, a search forused cars produced synonyms, such asused suvs andsec- ondhand cars among dozens of others. You can explore the keyword land- scape and download keywords to your computer in a file that you can open in a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheets. Another use for the Google Keyword Tool is to search Web sites for keyword ideas. At the top, select the Website Content radio button and enter the URL of a site related to your keyword. For example,edmunds.com returned the following keyword families:used car (31 variations),new car (23),car price (7),invoice price (9),car dealer (6),for sale (6),car (51), dealer (14), andauto (17). Google has a Search-based Keyword Tool (see Chapter 9 for the scoop on all the free Google tools in your account) specifically designed to give you key- word ideas from your Web site, but it doesn’t work very well yet. Stick to the main Keyword Tool until you hear differently from me. Thesaurus tools Remember the frantic high-school-essay writer’s best friend, Roget’s Thesaurus? It got you through some pretty rough papers by giving you 12 ways to say accomplish and 19 ways to say want. (Although my history teacher thought hanker too colloquial and prefer too wishy-washy.) Well, the old thesaurus is now online, in two free incarnations, and can lead you to key- words you’d otherwise miss. Online Thesaurus Go tohttp://thesaurus.reference.com to access the online version of ™ Roget’s New Millennium Thesaurus. Type your keyword (one word, generally) into the text box near the top of the page and click the Search button. For example, when you type the keyword insurance, one of the synonyms, coverage, can open a huge new set of keywords. Just about anywhere you can useinsurance, you can now usecoverage: ✓ health insurance and its synonymhealth coverage ✓ automobile insurance Omaha Nebraska and its synonymauto- mobile coverage Omaha Nebraska Every synonym in the online thesaurus is hyperlinked to a list of its synonyms. Clickingcoverage takes you to another set of results forcompensation. For your purposes, the majority of thesaurus results are irrelevant. Look for words that jog your brain into thinking, “Oh, that’s a good keyword, too.”Part II: Launching Your AdWords Campaign 94 Quintura.com Quintura.com is a visual thesaurus that shows you, at a glance, the major themes in a market. Figure 5-1 shows the search themes related to veterinary logos in a word cloud on the left, whereas the Yahoo search results appear on the right. The cloud immediately suggests a couple of additional keyword groups, veterinary clinic logos and veterinary practice logos, as well as phrases withbrochure anddesign. If you sell logo design services to veterinarians, several of the results of this Quintura search will point you in promising directions (clinic andprac- tice, for example), whereas others will help you brainstorm negative key- words (see the later section, “Deploying Negative Keywords”). Figure 5-1: Veterinary logos are related to several additional sets of keywords; some relevant, some not. Google’s Wonder Wheel Google’s Wonder Wheel is a visual representation of related searches that shows you, at a glance, the major themes in a market. Access the Wonder Wheel by performing a regular Google search, then clicking the Show Options link just below the search box. From the left navigation, select Wonder Wheel. Figure 5-2 shows the search themes related to mcat prep in a hub and spokes pattern on the left, with the search results corresponding to the center term bon the right. Click any of the underlined keywords to further explore the subcategories of your market. Again, you’ll discover keywords to add and exclude. Google’s Related Searches While you’re showing the search options, also take a few minutes to explore Google’s Related Searches feature. At the top of the page, Google shows youChapter 5: Choosing the Right Keywords 95 a list of searches that relate to your keyword. Many include your keyword within them, but others are semantically related (that is, they are connected by meaning, not by words). For example, a related search for The Beatles returns the names of the Fab Four, Bob Dylan, Across the Universe, the Beach Boys, and the Doors. Google is revealing what people who searched for The Beatles also searched for within the same session. Figure 5-2: The Wonder Wheel shows con- nections among keywords in a visual and interactive way. KeywordSpy.com If you’re serious about using AdWords, KeywordSpy.com is one of several paid tools I recommend highly. Go towww.keywordspy.com, type a keyword in the search box, and click the Search button. In the Paid Keywords tab of results, you’re shown to a list of Web sites bidding on that keyword, as shown in Figure 5-3. Click any of the Web site links to see a long list of their other keywords. In other words, if your competitor has done a good job of researching key- words, you can use this sneaky tool to take advantage of all their hours of hard work. If you need to compete against established competitors in an AdWords market, this tool is a no-brainer. Using your server log to get smarter Quietly, uncomplainingly, your Web site has been storing a gold mine of visitor data, patiently waiting for you to realize its value. If your Web site has been welcoming visitors for any length of time and you haven’t perused your server log yet, you’re in for a treat. Among lots of other useful data, your server log will tell you exactly what search terms visitors typed to land on your site. AllPart II: Launching Your AdWords Campaign 96 the tools I’ve talked about in this section are useful as idea generators — but your server log tells you exactly what keywords are already getting people to your site. (Once you start driving AdWords traffic, you can run search query reports to find out the exact search phrases entered by your visitors.) Figure 5-3: Keyword Spy.com returns a list of Web sites currently bidding on the same keyword. Because Web servers differ significantly, unfortunately I can’t tell you exactly how to find and read your own server logs. If you’re technically savvy about your Web site, you already know where to find the server log. If you’re not sure how to view your server logs, contact your hosting provider. What you want to look for in your server logs are the key phrases and key- words that people typed into a search engine just before visiting your site. You want to select a reporting period that makes sense (last month, last year, and so on). Figure 5-4 shows the server logs for key phrases and keywords that lead visitors to my site,www.leadsintogold.com, for one year. Most of the keywords you find this way are “long-tail” — lots of rarely searched variations (see the next paragraph). Occasionally you can discover a high- traffic keyword this way. Mostly, I use this information to add negative key- words — words that disqualify the searcher as a prospect — and thereby save money by avoiding unprofitable clicks.Chapter 5: Choosing the Right Keywords 97 Figure 5-4: My server log shows me rarely searched keywords that have brought visi- tors to my Web site. Long-tail keywords refer to phrases that are rarely typed and will therefore bring you very few visitors, but collectively can generate many sales. The concept of the long tail (the phrase itself refers to the shape of the graph of the statistical distribution of events) was popularized in the book The Long Tail, by Chris Anderson, who argued that in a digital world with no produc- tion or shipping costs, the combined profits generated by long-tail products can be greater than the profits from the blockbuster bestsellers. Amazon. com, for example, can be more profitable than brick and mortar bookstores because such a large proportion of Amazon’s sales come from obscure books that physical stores wouldn’t be able to stock due to shelf space limits. Before 2009, one way to win the AdWords game was to add as many long-tail keywords as possible. The long-tail keywords were often cheaper, with less competition. Google changed the game, however, by disqualifying keywords with low search volume. Now, if you want your ad to appear when someone searches for red canon camera that takes great pictures of lorikeets, you just bid on “red canon camera” in phrase match and hope Google takes care of the rest.Part II: Launching Your AdWords Campaign 98 Finding Sneaky Variations for Fun and Profit So far you’ve been looking at semantic variations — keywords with simi- lar but slightly different meanings. Now you can explore the wide world of sneaky variations — slight keyword tweaks that can mean the difference between lackluster and sizzling campaigns. Some quick ways to vary keywords For openers, here are a couple of simple sources of keyword variation — geographic location and human typographical error: ✓ Geography: As you saw in theused Toyota trucks example, key- words sometimes include geographical terms. If you ship home gym equipment anywhere in the U.S., you want to capture searches forhome gym Alaska tohome gym Vermont. You may even want to get more granular than the state level:home gym Chicago andChicago home gym. ✓ Misspellings: Let’s face it — everyone couldn’t win the spelling bee in elementary school. And people often type so quickly, they mess up wodrs and phraess (oops) while they search. Don’t take my word for it — check out this hilarious page, courtesy of Google, that lists the mis- spelled searches for Britney Spears over a three-month period: www.google.com/jobs/britney.html If you bid on misspellings that your competitors ignore, you have a twofold advantage: ✓ Significantly decreased competition: When I search forlow choles- terol recipes in Google, I find eight sponsored listings. When I enter low cholesterol recipies I see only one. Ten advertisers, includ- ing heavyweight Lipitor.com (a Pfizer Web site about its cholesterol med- ication), did not think to show their ad for a common misspelling. You have a much higher chance of compelling a click if you’re in a beauty pageant against only one or two other competitors. ✓ Lower CPC: With less competition, you don’t have to bid as much to appear on the coveted first page. In thelow cholesterol recipies example, the misspelled keyword costs about half as much as the cor- rectly spelled term.Chapter 5: Choosing the Right Keywords 99 Misspellings won’t generate huge search traffic. The Britney Spears example shows the correct spelling receiving almost half a million searches, and the most popular misspelling (britanny) getting 10 percent of that. Most of the mis- spelled keywords (have you ever noticed how the word misspelled just doesn’t look right?) occurred four times or fewer. The goal in using misspellings isn’t to double your traffic. Instead, it’s to lower your average cost of customer acqui- sition. The goal of the AdWords game — as with a lot of business — is to turn cheap raw materials (in this case, clicks) into valuable products (in this case, hungry customers with working credit cards). You can use misspellings to lower your average CPC slightly and increase your traffic slightly, which gives you slightly more money to spend on advertising and slightly more traffic to run through your split testing machine (see Chapter 13) — and become slightly better at turning visitors into customers. The cumulative effect of all these slight advantages is enough to snowball into market dominance. Different versions If you sell different versions of the same basic product, you’ll improve your CTR by including specific search terms. A business selling light bulbs might bid on the following general terms: ✓ fluorescent light bulb ✓ compact fluorescent light bulb ✓ flood light ✓ floodlight ✓ lightbulb ✓ flourescent bulb Their customers may be searching for much more specific items: ✓ 36” fluorescent light bulb ✓ dimmable compact fluorescent light bulb ✓ 14 watt compact fluorescent light bulb ✓ red 150 watt flood light ✓ green 150 watt flood light If you sell 20 different colors or shapes or sizes or types of a product, be sure to include all those variables in your keyword list. Google may disqualify some or even most of the longer, more specific keywords, but any you can keep will increase your relevance and lower your average cost per click.Part II: Launching Your AdWords Campaign 100 Different points of view A realtor may advertise for the keywordreal estate Carrboro NC and miss the following keywords that include the perspective of different searchers: ✓ buy real estate Carrboro NC ✓ buying real estate Carrboro NC ✓ sell real estate Carrboro NC ✓ selling real estate Carrboro NC ✓ looking for real estate Carrboro NC ✓ shopping for real estate Carrboro NC ✓ house hunting real estate Carrboro NC A regular verb and a gerund (the verb with -ing at the end) can signify com- pletely different mindsets. Until you’re sure you don’t want the customer with a particular mindset, include them all. Singular and plural The difference between a singular and plural word can mean a lot of things. Sometimes, people looking for information type the plural (digital cam- eras), whereas more serious shoppers use the singular (digital camera). If the plural keyword is significantly cheaper to bid on than the singular, you know that other advertisers have found it harder to make money from the less-expensive keyword. If you optimize your sales process to bring the infor- mation-seeker to the point of purchase, you can take advantage of the cheap, plentiful “pre-transaction” keywords such as general plural terms. .com Every year, the number of Internet users grows. Because a steady stream of Web newbies are searching for your products, you can profit by knowing the search “mistakes” they often make. Web neophytes can confuse the Google Search box with the address bar (where you type the URL of the Web site). So if you sell red flood lights, you can snag some inexpensive traffic by bidding on (say)redfloodlights.com. LowerYourBidPrice.com — sneaky keywords made easy I’ve developed a keyword-manipulation tool, the AdTool, which makes it easy to generate thousands of “sneaky” keyword variations from a single keyword. You can add U.S. cities and states before and after all your keywords, you can