When starting out with a new search effort or performing a keyword refresh for an existing website, the options for discovering new keywords are limited only by the SEO’s imagination.
From the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, to digging through analytics, to leveraging sites like Soovle that discover ‘suggest’ keywords across multiple search engines, keyword discovery options abound.
Building a pool of potential keywords to optimize for, however, is only half the battle.
For those websites driving visitors to a ‘conversion event’ (e-commerce, asset download, form completion, etc.), different keywords will convert at different rates. Not all keywords are created equal and your website might be optimized to convert better for some keywords versus others.
Finding out a keyword converts poorly after spending the effort to work your way up the organic search rankings can be a time consuming and frustrating process, but there is a way to shortcut the process and discover high converting keywords: Paid Search (PPC) data.
With PPC data, you can focus time and resources on driving keywords that convert well up the organic search listings.
Set Up Paid Search Ads To Generate Conversion Rates
By utilizing the full scope of data available in paid search, SEOs can make actionable decisions during the initial stages of building a keyword list.
Those with existing PPC campaigns can extract the information and translate it into SEO opportunities, while those without PPC data can set up test beds for keywords that have the best chance of converting. It is often recommended that ads run for at least four weeks before continuing with the next step.
Once sufficient ad data has been collected, look through Google Adwords to determine the keywords with the highest conversion rate. You can sort by the ‘Conv. Rate’ column in the Adwords tool to discover the best performers:
To dive deeper, export your converting keyword list to Excel and segment the keywords into thirds: top-converting keywords, medium-converting keywords, and low-converting keywords.
An SEO roadmap can be generated using this list, where strategic planning and optimization can begin for top-converting keywords followed by middle-converting ones. Once the keyword list has been exhausted, repeat the process to generate a high-performing SEO keyword list.
Increase Your Odds By Leveraging PPC
In SEO, deciding which keywords to focus on is one of the first decisions you make, but it is also one of the most important and can genuinely impact your bottom line.
As a medium, PPC offers the ability to gather quick, actionable keyword conversion data that can be leveraged to provide insightful and strategic planning for those in the preliminary stages of SEO development or those looking to refresh their keyword list.
In the end, any insight that increases your odds of conversion can impact your revenue, so consider leveraging PPC as an SEO tool to discover high-performing keywords.
A version of this article originally appeared in Search Engine Land on September 20, 2012.