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Keyword Research - Client Or You?
Posted 29 September 2003 - 06:42 PM
I've recently done some web development for a few clients and have offered to help them with thier SEO/SEM efforts, thinking it would be a great opportunity for me to learn more about it acquire some new skills. I've done a ton of research and reading and have learned a lot, but I'm still uncertain about what to expect from a client who asks for SEO services.
Do most of you expect that the client will first come up with an initial list of keywords that they wish to target, and then work from that, or is the initial list mostly your responsibility as the search engine expert? It makes sense to me that the client knows his/her business better than we do, and should create an initial list to work from.
Thanks for the help - I appreciate it!
Posted 29 September 2003 - 07:15 PM
Most of the time a prospective client will have a list of keywords or phrases they think someone will use to find them. This is a good starting point to then use Wordtracker or Overture's Term Suggestion list to discover if people are searching for those words and in what frequency as well as to suggest other words they may not have thought of.
Then there are rare times when a client will not have a clue and then you will have to have a working web site to look at so you can help them come up with a list.
Most the time, they already have an idea - you're right in that they know or should know their business.
Posted 29 September 2003 - 08:04 PM
The popularity by itself is not going to get you there if you're trying to help your client with their business, as opposed to just increasing traffic.
You can go ahead and reduce those popularity counts in proportion to how many people using that search term are actually looking for what the client has to offer.
For example, "shareware FTP server" might get 10,000 searches a month. Some of them are looking for an FTP server from which they can download shareware. Others are looking for a shareware application to run an FTP server.
Only targeted traffic counts.
Edited by DanThies, 29 September 2003 - 09:06 PM.
Posted 29 September 2003 - 10:53 PM
I always word it something like this:
What we need from you now is your expertise on your business and your clients.
Please supply us with a list of words that describe your business, and phrases that are often used by yourself and your customers while talking about your products and services. We will use this as a starting point from which to do keyword research.
Don't worry about choosing "Search Engine Keywords" - that's our job, and we have to tools to make choices that will help get you targeted and effective traffic.
This way you are bringing them on for their expertise (which makes them happy) but making sure that you consider whatever they give you as a starting point, rather than pinning yourself down to some lousy, spammy or nearly impossible keyword combination.
Posted 30 September 2003 - 05:45 PM
But this is only a 'starter for ten' - there's a lot of research to turn those into effective SEO keyphrases.
Posted 04 October 2003 - 10:57 AM
You can also work with your client to tweak the phrases they picked. Sometimes they'll have one or more picked out, but it might be too vague or too competitive.
For example, if your client provides motivational speeches, they might want the term "motivational speeches" optimized. This term could be used for people looking how to write speeches, free tips, etc... and is probably really competitive. You could suggest changing it to "motivational speaker" or "keynote motivational speaker" or something else that targets their customer better.
Hope this helps!
Posted 04 October 2003 - 11:21 AM
I agree with Dan 100% though that you MUST get to know your clients business before you can begin to do any work.
I always tell my clients that THEY are not my clients, my clients are in fact THEIR customers, as it is for THEM that I am building the site, not the customer sat in front of me. To build a site you not so much need to know your customer, but your customers customer, and that is where i begin to build my site.
The best people to find out keywords for their site is the guy/girl who answers the phone, as people will ask them EXACTLY what they would ask a search engine eg. the customer might think that their customer would search for "Exterior Textured wall coating" when in fact the question they ask is , "do you stock outside wall paint" bit of a difference, but crucial IMO.
In my experience the customer will 90% of the time come up with the wrong keywords, but easy keywords to optimise for as no one will ever search for them, (apart from their competitors who are like minded and rolled up in industry specific words and phrases).
the customer says 'exterior' their customer asks for outside
the customer asks for 'value for money products' their customer types in 'cheap'
and on and on we go, translating what the guy paying us thinks his customer wants, into what his customers will actually ask for. A thesaurus is my best friend sometimes when i am doing keyword research :-)
Posted 04 October 2003 - 05:32 PM
I was in charge of a big computer lab, where people came in and rented computers by the hour. We had computer "experts" on hand, but they were lousy at helping customers. The best people for it were the ones who knew barely more than the customers did, because they could speak the language.
We had someone working in one of the centers in Houston, who was growing the business like crazy. Her big secret was using "customer speak." She didn't call the mouse a mouse, she called it "the clicky thing." She didn't call the monitor a monitor, she called it "the screen."
She does a bit of keyword and link research for me now, and it's not surprising that's she's very good at it. Keywords are for the people who *use* the search engines.
Posted 06 October 2003 - 04:16 AM
Reality will prove the customer wrong and you will get the next assignment - and then you can do it your way. Just make it clear to the customer, that you are not responsible for any delay caused by not following your advices.
Who should you talk to in the company? Boss, marketing guy, sales people?All of them! In a case of mine the company owner wanted to compete with an other company. OK, I found the keywords relevant for this operation and included them in my report. However, the sales manager contradicted the order and supplied me with some other keywords. They were not bad at all, but not used by the competition. Being b2b it is hard to judge the popularity of the suggested set of keywords.
The result was, that the site ranked high on the new keywords and not on the boss' keyword. I sent a follow-up report stating these facts a few months later. So, then they wanted their sites optimized for these keywords as well to please the boss - 'image is everything'. In addition, they now want their site revamped to include a new HTML architecture that is SEO friendly.
Thus, I could write two bills, are inline for yet an assignment and the customer is ranked for twice as many keywords. We are all happy now!
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