Are Your Keywords Geared for the 3 Key Stages of the Buying Cycle?

Be first to find out about keyword development.

Any good SEO and SEM campaign has to be built around a solid base of relevant keywords. The traditional strategy for keyword development is to take a broader approach (driving maximum amount of traffic to your website); contrary to this idea Webandrank has developed a strategy that is much more specific.

Specific search terms have the benefit of netting those fish (customers close to buying) already snagged on the hook of temptation.
It is becoming apparent that the consumer goes through a 3 key stage buying cycle when purchasing something online. The implications are that actually it is good to start including details such as model numbers, sizes etc in your keywords. Before discussing this idea further let’s take a look at some more basic methods of developing a keyword strategy.
Browse your website like you are a customer.
It may even be useful to ask a friend, colleague or family member to browse with you. Take an objective view as a customer look through all the pages of your website and note down the words that jump out at you and are most interesting to customers. It is also good practice to think about all the ways a person might search for your product (e.g. plasma TV or flat screen television).
Being number one in organic search is the ultimate goal but in some cases it can be great practice to bid on certain keywords. Think about which products are most profitable and bid for these keywords (be sure to stick within the budget).
Compare your website to that of your competitors and see what it is you or they are doing better. In the world of business this kind of activity is perfectly normal, after all the BBC stole the layout of the CNN website with no repercussions. Just stay away from duplicate content (text content).
In all website accounts there should be a place to ask the computer to suggest keywords. The program will search your site and throw up keywords that are most relevant to you website. By looking through web server logs you can see how potential customers are searching and how they navigate through your web pages.
All of the above are standard practices when choosing or developing your keyword strategy, here is some great new advice when considering your keywords.
The 3 key stage buying cycle
1) The research stage. In this stage browsers are harvesting information about brands, product options and product categories. The search terms used will be very broad such as: hard drive, computer gaming, new music.
2) Ready to shop stage. Now they have an idea about the specific areas they want to be looking in. The keywords might look something like this: external hard drive, game console, new hip-hop albums.
3) Ready to buy stage. Now they have gathered all the information about the specific category of product and have found a brand or particular specification of a product and will use these terms to find the best prices. The keywords will now have changed to: 1 terabyte Hitachi external hard drive, Xbox 360 console 20 GB hard drive, Ice Cube I am the west.
There you have it, the broader keyword strategy is great at driving general traffic to your website but they are not necessarily good at sealing the final deal. Ultimately it is purchases and sign ups that count not huge traffic.
The keyword game can be a little bit of a gamble but you must hedge your bets on the products most likely to sell. Include the very specific search terms such as ‘1 terabyte external hard drive Hitachi’ and you can target these customers. Also, less well known search terms are easier on the budget when it comes to bidding for keywords.
SEO and SEM are forever changing and the goal posts never stay in the same place. Choosing the right keywords is one of the most important aspects of a good SEO game plan; don’t get lazy check every day or every week to make sure the keyword strategy is as good as it could be.