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Using generic terms gets expensive. Is it worth it?



11:21 pm on Sep 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I have seen that the majority of our clicks are for the generic terms. Stuff like shop, shopping, etc. are drawing in a lot of clicks, but not to much in regard to actual purhcases.

Do all of you use generic terms or more exact terms like computer shopping instead of online shopping, and search terms like that?




11:34 pm on Sep 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

We avoid generic's even for organic traffic, let alone PPC.

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.


2:27 pm on Sep 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I concur. Generic terms generate traffic, but not sales. Traffic for its own sake is a waste of money.


4:39 pm on Sep 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator ewhisper is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

It depends on the people who search for these generic terms, your conversion rate, and profit per sale. In a high profit/sale model, you can often bid on generic terms. We have one generic term which has a decent conversion rate, is definately profitable, and because of it's search volue, gives us a lot of branding value. While other generic terms we've tested, determined they aren't profitable, and then avoided.

Targeted keywords have a much higher conversion rate, no question, however, the bottom line is profit.

Tropical Island

7:58 pm on Sep 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tropical_island is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

What we have found, especially with the smaller PPC's like Sprinks and even to some extent FindWhat, that the partners start featuring these words and you'll end up with spikes in useless traffic that will cost you a lot. Everytime one of our generalised keywords gets near the top 3 listings we get huge surges in clicks many of them not staying more than a few seconds on the page.

Having specific keywords is the way to go.

dave roberts

8:06 pm on Sep 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Your question hit a responsive chord with me; I've just completed a major study for a client whose site gets 1,500 visits per day, whom I've worked with for two years. They keep wanting to get high rankings on generic terms, and I keep trying to tell them that these are not useful.

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".

Dave Roberts

[edited by: Marcia at 9:13 pm (utc) on Sep. 16, 2003]
[edit reason] No sigs, please. Thanks! [/edit]


9:04 pm on Sep 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Interesting logic from everyone. I must also say, when I switched to more specific types of keywords, the traffic has improved a lot. I may have been overly negative on some of the PPC sites. Though, I still believe that some sites are just garbage.



3:24 pm on Sep 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator ewhisper is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

If I can make a slight profit advertising a generic term, I'll do it for the name recognition factor alone, as later down the road, people remember seeing the company name, and have a higher trust factor after seeing a name multiple times.

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.


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