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To SEM or Not To SEM, Part 2

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To SEM or Not To SEM, Part 2

In the first article of this miniseries, we stated that we need to work smarter and not harder when pursuing an online marketing approach. Instead of hunting for your prospects or customers, we should use SEM to help make our website become more visible to people who are hunting for a service or product that you sell or provide. It may seem like we’re saying we should paint a bull’s eye on our forehead, but really we’re not. All we really need to do is to predict where our target market is aiming their sights, and try to place the website somewhere inside the area that our targets are looking at.

Almost everyone who’s used a pc on a regular basis to surf the Web knows how to use a search engine these days. Pretty straightforward stuff…fire up a browser, type in the address of a search engine, enter your search phrase or keywords, and you end up with a pageful of search results. Assuming our target market does the same thing, we need to answer a few questions before we can even begin to think about getting our website on the top of that list of search results.

The top questions we need to answer are these:

  • What keywords or phrases does our target market use when they’re looking for us?
  • What other websites show up on the search results page our target market gets?
  • What other keywords and/or phrases can be used to come up with similar search results?

As luck would have it, we don’t need a crystal ball to find our answers. However, it pays to have an understanding of the reasons why people would have a need for our services and products. From this base knowledge, we can make educated guesses as to what words and phrases someone would use when searching for a service or product that we happen to carry. This is what some online marketers like to call determining the target’s intentions, or the Searcher’s Intent.

Armed with these, along with our website filled with info on on our company/business and the services and products we carry, we can begin to find our answers using some pretty nifty and free (for now) tools that some search engines use. As well, here’s a grain of salt for you before we continue. We can not expect available keyword tools to give us exact numbers. The most we can expect here are rough ranges. This is because the tools use collections of historical data in order to come up with the results of our research on keywords.

To keep things simple, we’ll focus our attention on one of the tools that Google provides. One of the reasons we like using Google’s tools is because they happen to have one of the largest search shares in the search engine market today. This generally makes their tools come out with more meaningful results, but does get a bit unrealistic in some cases, mainly because Google doesn’t like sharing statistics in any great detail. The PPC market is one of their largest sources of revenues after all, and they earn more if people have to experiment with keyword mixes in their ad campaigns.

Every keyword tool has some data errors or anomalies. Don’t expect the tools to give you exact numbers, just rough ranges. If you are in doubt as to the accuracy of one keyword tool you can compare it against other keyword tools. So without further ado, here’s how we can find Google’s keyword tool:

  1.  Surf to http://adwords.google.com
  2.  Log in using your Google account. If you don’t have a Google account yet, now’s the time to create one.
  3.  Move your mouse over the Tools & Analysis menu item so that a menu drops down.
  4. Highlight and click on the Keyword Tool option in the menu.

The Google Keyword Tool is pretty self-explanatory in usage, and there’s a lot of help text available to explain various features.

In our next article, we’ll get into more detail on using this tool to help us define what keywords and phrases we should use on our website in order for it to show up on that search results page. For now, feel free to explore and play around with the tool.

Oh yeah, before we forget…If you can’t wait around all week for the next article to come out, and have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with us via our contact page.

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