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Do all of you use generic terms or more exact terms like computer shopping instead of online shopping, and search terms like that?
If you have a product or website that you are trying to brand, and you have worked into your budget a high CPA, then generics are okay because down the line people will remember you and buy from you. Otherwise, it brings little benefit.
We prefer having hundreds of small, targeted keywords - they cost less and the conversion ratio is much higher.
Targeted keywords have a much higher conversion rate, no question, however, the bottom line is profit.
Having specific keywords is the way to go.
The company does business in about five different locations around the world, and their business, although nominally the same, is actually slightly different in each location.
So I gathered three months of log data and analyzed it. I looked at number of visits by search term, as well as average time on site for each term--average time on site gives you a measure of the business value of each term.
I ran the analysis for the top 500 terms by number of associated visits, and then eyeballed them to find the general terms, that did not reference a location. Of all 500, I found that only 12 of them did not have a reference to a location as part of the term. Of those 12, only three had average time on site that was equal to or greater than the average time on site for all terms. So out of the 500 we come out with just THREE general terms that we will seek ranking on.
So if the client wants a high ranking on "gifts" head for the door--even if you get it, think about the variety of things that people are looking for when they start with that term. Better if they are looking for "birthday gifts", better still "birthday gifts for men" and even better "birthday gifts for men under $20".
[edited by: Marcia at 9:13 pm (utc) on Sep. 16, 2003]
[edit reason] No sigs, please. Thanks! [/edit]
Now, if your generic terms are costing you money, and not making a profit, by all means, axe them.
My specific terms make money, that's where the heart of your profits are derived from, but don't underestimate advertising for generic terms - just keep a close eye on the ROI.