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Definitive guide to types of keyword search queries and their conversion potential

How to Increase Profits by Understanding the Types of Keyword to Target

“Web Traffic Makes Money”
It’s the biggest fib that the digital marketing industry ever told. In fact, acquiring web traffic is the biggest digital marketing COST of most small businesses. Sales conversions make the money, acquiring web traffic is the “cost of sale”. The key to making more money from your web traffic is understanding the different types of search queries and how to answer them. The type of keyword you target will be the number one factor in determining how much money you make from your digital marketing campaigns.

The definitive guide to the types of keyword that generate profit

The first step to making more money from your website is understanding exactly what it is your shoppers, not browsers, are looking for and then translating it into the words they use to search. The types of keyword search queries determine the course of action you need to take to convert them from shopper to buyer. Here’s our tips on getting this stage right:
First, your SEO & content strategy comes down to classifying your keywords, creating copy or content around the type of search query. Start with a long list of potential keywords and then group them by meaning or user intention. Google these keywords yourself, are the results in line with your brand’s intentions?

The three core keyword types and how to make money on them!

While there are just three core kinds of search queries, getting to the heart of the user’s intention is still the key to funnelling them through to the purchase stage. Don’t worry, there is a strategy to making more money by keyword choices, we’ve laid it out step by step to help small businesses become big businesses!

#1 Navigational Query – the “GO” keyword

This is where a user types in the actual website or brand name they wish to reach. While you can target your competitors’ navigational keywords you risk wasting money and annoying your industry. For websites with sales goals (as opposed to a community or information serving site) these are mostly used to target brand names that you stock.

#2 Information Queries – the “KNOW” keyword

Searchers are researching a subject or seeking a specific answer to their question. These are ideal content marketing keywords as they allow you to explain the answer, positioning yourself as the go-to expert. They’re also the trickiest keywords to target because you need to understand the intention behind the search to provide the answer that leads to a sale. These queries are normally all just classified under one category as informational queries, however, Media Heroes has extended this definition to further break them down into broad and specific informational queries, as this is much easier apply to your SEO strategy.

  Broad Informational Queries Specific Informational Queries
Search intention All about understanding something, as opposed to trying to solve something. General research aimed at gaining initial information, commonly followed by specific informational queries These are about how to solve something or about learning or knowing something specific. When defining whether a query belongs in this group, think about the intention behind the search
Stage of sales funnel Very early in the sales funnel with very low purchase intent (high volume of search with low conversion potential) Still early in the sales funnel, but the conversion potential is higher as the queries are much more focused and specific
How to identify Look for the words or phrases such as ‘what is’, ‘define’, ‘examples of’ or ask yourself if these words could be added to the queries and they will still make sense. These often include the highest volume search queries and an example would be, ‘beach volleyball’ or ‘what is beach volleyball’ (yes, I’m a beach volleyball addict) Look for words or phrases in the query such as ‘how to’ (or you could add this in front of the query and it still makes sense), ‘a step by step guide’ (or you could add this after the query), ‘can you’, ‘when’, ‘checklist’, ‘process’ or ‘procedure’. These normally include medium to low search volume searches an example would be, ‘how to play beach volleyball’
How to target These normally include the most competitive search queries, so they aren’t the easiest to target. You need to make sure your website is powerful enough to attempt to rank for these keywords or you could be looking at a very long term SEO project. You can use well written and detailed content driven landing pages or feature articles, but you will normally need to combine this with a good link building strategy to add greater authority to these pages This is a wonderful category of search query and is exactly the sort of query Google has recently been leaning towards (Hummingbird algorithm update). The search volume per query isn’t normally very high, but these search queries are within reach of most well built websites. Ranking on page one is about creating high quality unique content via a series of articles using a well-planned content marketing strategy. Don’t expect a single article to boost your visitors numbers very much, but over many months the cumulative effects can be significant and the internal linking opportunities make this strategy even more effective (hint: think about creating internal links to broad information queries, transactional queries and other specific informational queries)
Conversion potential Very little chance of achieving a hard conversion to buy something, but some possibility to offer very general information on the subject in exchange for their email address (e.g. free downloadable ebook on ‘the basics of beach volleyball’). However even offering free downloads, may have a very low conversion, because you don’t know much about what the searcher is really looking for beyond the initial broad query. Due to the sheer volume of searches for some of these keywords they can still produce a good number of conversions, but the conversion percentage will almost always be low The biggest conversion potential is to offer knowledge-based products to download for free (e.g. an ebook about ‘beach volleyball game strategies’). The closer your free knowledge-based product is to their search, the greater the conversion rate will be, so be prepared to produce several variations of your free downloadable product. Once you have the searchers email details you can use an auto-responder series to offer them products or services and build the relationship over time. There is a small opportunity to sell products or services straight away by showing products in the side navigation alongside articles, especially around learning more about the subject they are searching for, but don’t hold your breath, as you have a better chance if you take things slow and offer something for free first

#3 Transactional queries – the “DO” keywords

This is where the money’s at! These solution-based keywords indicate that the buyer is educated and ready to take an action. These are also known as “converter” keywords and because of that, are the most difficult to rank for. There are still “tyre kickers” performing this kind of search query, so it’s vital to put some measures in place to get them firing up their credit cards. Once again, traditional classifications put all of these queries under one ‘transactional query’ umbrella category. Media Heroes, has found it much more relevant in creating SEO strategies to break this category into high and low transactional queries as the search intention is distinctly different, therefore the conversion strategy also needs to be different.

  Low Value Transactional Queries High Value Transactional Queries
Search intention Searcher wants to do something, but their intention is to do it themselves, so they are often looking for something free to assist them or for specific examples to help them Searcher simply wants a solution and these searches have the best chance to convert to a sale
Stage of sales funnel Late stages of the sales funnel, ‘evaluation of alternatives’ or ‘purchase decision’ (which in this case could be the free option!) Late stage of the sales funnel in either ‘evaluation of alternatives’ or ‘purchase decision’
How to identify The searcher is looking for solutions, but they will use words or phrases within the queries such as ‘example’, ‘sample’, ‘model’ and ‘free’. An example of this type of search query would be ‘watch beach volleyball online free’ The searcher is looking for solutions (products or services) without any indication that they don’t want to pay for them. They include queries which clearly identify they are looking for a product or service and they can also include words such as ‘review’ and ‘compare’. The use of the word ‘template’ is debatable – if you sell template solutions then this is clearly high value, however if not, either don’t target these queries or re-classify them as low value. An example of a high value transactional query would be ‘beach volleyball training equipment’
How to target Create landing pages with a free download and some high quality educational content to teach the searcher how to use the ‘free template’. Ensure you are capturing the searchers email address to get the product or the strategy won’t serve any great purpose for you.   If you take a searcher to a paid product only, your conversion rate will usually be zero or very low, so don’t make this common mistake Searchers are looking for a product or service, so you have permission to get to the point! Take them straight to a page where they can make a purchase or at least finalise their purchase decision. Provide good product images, well written descriptions, testimonials/reviews, video demos and anything else to help make their purchase decision easy. If you are targeting queries that include ‘compare’ or ‘review’, then use content to target these queries with clear links to then buy the products being compared
Conversion potential The potential to turn these searches straight into a purchase is fairly low, so you need to give them what they want first. Target these keywords by adding free sample download products to your website with some high quality content and use the free sample as a capture mechanism to get the user’s email address (you need to aim for this type of soft conversion first). Once you have their email address add the subscriber into an auto-responder series to convince them to upgrade to the premium (paid) product or service These queries have the highest conversion potential to a sale. Be aware that the more specific the product search (e.g. buy Wilson beach volleyball), the more likelihood of a purchase. For general or category level product searches (e.g. beach volleyballs), you may need to take searchers to a category page within your ecommerce site or to a content driven comparison page to help educate them before they choose their product to buy. As a side point, high value transactional queries are the ones that will trigger Google Shopping results – Google certainly knows where the money is, so you’d do well to follow suit!

Top points to remember when choosing the type of keyword to target

  • These classification strategies are ideal for national search terms and content marketing campaigns
  • When you’re doing in-depth keyword research and you have a large number of long tail keywords (3-6 word keywords made up of a core search term and some additional information), knowing where to focus your time and effort is essential. Don’t just go for the big search volume keywords, thoroughly investigate the right keywords. Remember: Traffic costs money.
  • Content driven SEO strategies start by focusing on the specific informational queries. These are not only generally easiest to rank for they start building authority within your website. The broad informational queries you can also target either with feature articles or landing pages, but they are usually very competitive, so they normally require a significant amount of link building to strengthen them enough to rank and take a lot more resources because traffic costs money.
  • The transactional queries are most useful for ecommerce websites, although they can be used in many non-ecommerce sites too. The research and classification of these queries can help to shape product titles and descriptions and allow you to add new products that have the highest search volume. You can also use product reviews and free samples as a way to channel traffic and gain email addresses via landing pages and clever content creation.

The most important thing to remember when targeting keywords?

Link the type of search query with the right conversion goals and tactics.

If the search queries and the conversion goals are mismatched, you have little to no chance of achieving a conversion. This is when you get lots of traffic and no results!

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