Sunday, July 9, 2017

SEO 101: Industry-Specific Keywords

Precision is the core of SEO. We research and utilize precise keywords to attract a specific audience to a specific product or service. This is SEO. It really is that simple.

This simple view of SEO, however, is often confounded by SEO experts. A few years ago, Paul Boag wrote an articulate analysis of the problem for Smashing Magazine:

"Most website owners perceive SEO as a dark art, shrouded in mystery," Boag wrote. "They have heard phrases like 'gateway pages' and 'keyword density' or have been bamboozled by technobabble about the way websites should be built. All of this has left them feeling that SEO is the purview of experts. This is a misconception reinforced by certain segments of the SEO community."

Read: "The Inconvenient Truth"

Of course, SEO is not a dark art. Yet misconceptions about SEO endure. The misconceptions, however, do not necessarily hurt digital marketing firms; they hurt, instead, the people who stand to benefit the most from SEO: small and local websites.

In every town in America, any number of small businesses avoid SEO as a matter-of-fact. Inevitably, these businesses lose profits to other local competitors who do use SEO. Businesses who use SEO effectively come from different industry sectors, yet all share a common marketing strategy: keywords.

Industry-Specific Keywords = SEO Success

Another way to state our earlier, simple definition of SEO is to focus on audience: SEO is about defining a target audience and then striving to meet that audience's needs.

Part of the confusion around SEO is the counterintuitive notion of refinement, which is implicit in defining a precise target audience. When you engage in SEO, you limit your audience, in a way, to the browsers most likely to purchase your product or service. In the SEO world, traffic is secondary to conversions.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about real estate firms who use SEO. The article is instructive for any local business who hopes to stand apart from the competition by emphasizing precise, industry-specific keywords:

"Luxury real-estate firms are increasingly hiring specialists in search-engine optimization, or SEO," Emily Nonko writes, "to ensure that keywords used in online descriptions give their listings highest visibility and maximum reach."

Mary Tyler March writes for Construction Dive: "While certain keywords can help give a listing more online exposure to potential buyers, better SEO can also help move homes at a higher price."
In her article, Nonko quotes Christian Mezzina, a senior product-marketing manager at a New York-based brokerage firm, who clarifies why precision is key:

"You might see that a lot of people search for 'most expensive apartments in Tribeca' but those are unlikely to be your actual buyers. When you look to optimize a listing for SEO, you have to think about not what just gets eyeballs, but what will convert."

Read: When Traffic Helps Sell Homes

The first and most important job of an SEO practitioner, then, is discovering which keywords are more likely to lead to conversions. In this scenario, traffic is not as important as the right type of traffic--a mantra we repeat quite often on this blog.

Nonko notes that Mezzina "develops variations of popular keywords (luxury, penthouse and brownstone are among the firm’s most-searched terms) and analyzes which ones are most likely to generate leads rather than just page views."

This is, of course, keyword research, a simple practice that can be utilized by any number of local businesses, not simply real estate offices but any number of professional services, home repair shops, hair salons, restaurants, bars--the list is endless.

Are you using SEO to stand apart from local competition? If not, why?

Keyword Research with Stepman's SEO

If you're looking for an SEO company that understands how to effectively promote websites with precise keywords, we suggest contacting our sponsor, Stepman's SEO: 215-900-9398 Stepman's SEO combines traditional marketing methods and organic SEO--with an emphasis on natural website optimization--to design thoughtful, inspiring, and effective content marketing campaign.