● Learn from Paid Search; many clicks may indicate a good SEO candidate
● Focus, but don’t be too focussed on your phrases
● Control your paid search bidding
The Search Pyramid helps you navigate an essential search engine marketing problem:
some phrases have lots of search queries but it is hard to generate leads while other
phrases are so specific they don’t result in many queries, but when you get a lead it is
very easy to convert. SEO is effective but takes a lot of effort. Paid Search is easy but
can be expensive and is not as effective. The Search Pyramid will help you decide: “Is
this a good phrase for Paid Search?” or, “Is this a phrase for which I need SEO?”
Understanding the Lexicon and Picking Tactics
Let’s pretend that your business and website sells music education products for young
children. The lexicon of your business is going to include phrases that are very general
like “music”, “kids” and “education”, some phrases that are generally a good description
of your business like “music education for children” or “guitar lessons for children” and
very specific phrases like “children’s hip hop music therapy” and “patriotic songs of the
revolution for kids”.
A search phrase like “music” is going to get millions and millions of searches. It is very
unlikely that you’ll want or be able to maintain a good organic ranking for the phrase as
every site music related will be competing for the top spot. This is the top of the pyramid
– very general and unlikely to be useful for your business. Ignore these phrases.
At the bottom of the pyramid are phrases like “children’s hip hop music therapy” that
are sufficiently specific or specialized that when a customer searches on this phrase, you
have very little doubt about their intent and whether you have the exact product that
they are seeking. Keyword research will indicate these phrases have very limited search
volume. They also make SEO efforts very difficult to execute or (and more likely) the
effort required to create the optimized content exceeds the value that the limited
number of searches will generate. These are phrases that are good candidates for paid
search – you can test whether there is a market for the phrase (and product) and it
unlikely that you’ll end up paying a significant premium to advertise for the phrase.
A phrase like “music education for children” or “guitar lessons for children” represents
the middle of the pyramid. These phrases are likely how you would describe your
business to your banker or are the kind of general product inquiries you receive from
casual shoppers. With keyword research, you will likely find that they generate a healthy
search volume. These are the phrases that should be targeted with SEO efforts.
When in doubt or when you want to try out going after one of the general terms, use paid
search as your tool to test the market. If you hit a product and phrase that generate
customer interest look to include these phrases in your future SEO activities.
When crafting your Paid Search campaigns, consider:
● Determine your maximum cost to acquire threshold (and don’t break it!)
● Clicks are votes for a phrase. Impressions are not.
● Experiment with different ad copy
● Experiment with different landing pages