Your own keyword analytics data is the most valuable marketing asset of your company.

No, I'm not just making a ridiculous claim to get your attention. The data contained in the keyword report from your Web-analytics application—which tells you how people are finding your site through paid and organic search—is much more valuable than traditional marketing data, such as customer surveys and demographics.

Surveys and customer personas still have a place in online marketing, but keywords are a far more effective targeting vehicle, for several reasons:

  • They're more accurate: Keywords are the precise way that customers use to look for the products and services in your industry; as such, they reveal specific desires and pain points.
  • They provide more insight: With accurate data, you can calculate the return on investment for different keyword niches, which, in turn, provides insight into many other areas, such as determining which customer segmentations to pursue and in what order.
  • They're usable: Your keyword taxonomy is a gold mine of data that you can directly rely on to build and optimize your pay-per-click (PPC) and search-engine-optimization (SEO) efforts.

The truth is that you've probably heard a lot of this before. You already know that search marketing is important. What's frustrating is that most businesses, even those that embrace search as a marketing channel, fail to place the proper value on their keywords.

Ignoring the value of your own (real, private) keyword data—and failing to act on it—is like keeping a pile of old, unwanted gold jewelry and trophies locked away in a safe, when you could turn that gold into cash! (Let's offer a moment of silence for Ed McMahon.)

In search marketing, that "cash" is traffic, leads, and conversions (and, of course, actual cash), which you generate by...

  • Winning a fairly complicated auction to display a sponsored ad (PPC)
  • Appearing high in the organic search results for a specific search query (SEO)

In both SEO and PPC, it's crucial to know what people are really searching for, which keywords are relevant to your business, which keywords are difficult to rank for, and which ones bleed budgets or simply don't convert. The crazy thing is that you already have this information—you're sitting on a proverbial gold mine. But it's not where you think it is.

Traditional Keyword Tools Find Fool's Gold

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Larry Kim

Larry Kim is the founder/CTO of WordStream Inc., provider of the AdWords Grader and 20 Minute PPC Work Week.

Google+: Larry Kim

Twitter: @larrykim