I had an interesting email from a customer this morning. One of his sales managers was complaining that they’d almost been excluded from a major deal because their company didn’t come up under a particular search term. The problem is that search term, while relevant, wasn’t anything we’d optimized for.
It’s very hard to tell someone “You should have listened to me.” I honestly hate that. In this case, it wasn’t the fellow who emailed me but a marketing wonk who was dimissed right about a year ago. She’d had her preconcieved notions of what the brand was and that was how we were going to optimize, even though I pointed out repeatedly that no one would search on branding slogans.
I told the fellow that we really needed to identify what the correct search terms were. That’s where proper optimization starts, in knowing how people will search for your product or service, and then making sure you’re there to find. Simply getting a high result for a term isn’t right. You need to have a high result for *relevant* terms.
Let’s look at an example. In this case we have a company that makes software for managing garbage truck routes. While your brand may be “Global Rubbish Solutions” you can expect that you will get virtually no search hits on that term. You really need to think in terms of what a customer would search for if they needed your solution. One would expect highly relevant search results from things such as “trash route software” or perhaps “route management system.” A proper list should have a bunch of different potential terms.
That’s your start. Now you at look the historical data (via WebCEO or your Google Adsense console) as to how many times those terms have been searched recently. With that information in hand, you will start to get a clearer picture of where your real search market lies, and how to ensure your site is properly represented.
Don’t make the mistake of optimizing on what you *think* the right search term is. Spend the time to actually research the terms, and in doing so, you’ll maximize the potential of your SEO campaign.