There are many keyphrase tools out there, but any quality search engine marketing company should know that they are in no way replacements for true market research. When one is embarking on a campaign of marketing on the Internet, it is important that keyword selection represents an understanding of one’s audience. In this article, we’ll discuss two crucial aspects of keyword selection that your search engine marketing company should be taking into consideration: knowing the prospect and knowing the company.

Knowing the Prospect

There are many powerful and specific keyphrases available from which a search engine marketing company can choose to bring traffic to your site. But marketing on the Internet should go beyond traffic for the sake of traffic and instead focus on getting the right traffic. A search engine marketing company can embark upon keyword selection and find a phrase that is very popular, but 90 percent of those searching on it will not be true prospects. Or, the company can target a phrase that might be less popular in general but that is more likely to bring in the right types of prospects. Guess which is easier. Guess which is more effective.

For the best results during keyword selection, you can segment your prospects in three ways:

  • By geographic region
  • By level of service desired
  • By place in the buying cycle

By Geographic Region

If your business only offers services in a particular part of the country, then you don’t need to focus your keyword selection on generic phrases that will bring in people who cannot take advantage of your company. A knowledgeable search engine marketing company will suggest specific phrases with geographic modifiers to bring in the traffic that will be most helpful for you.

For example, the keyphrase “real estate agent” may bring in a great deal of traffic, but if you are in Georgia and the searcher is looking for a home in California, this isn’t helpful. Instead, your search engine marketing company would target “Atlanta real estate agent” and you would see true leads coming to your website.

By Level of Service Desired

Another way to target your keyword selection is by the level of service desired by your customers. For this, your search engine marketing company will want to find out from you (or your sales department) what types of customers you attract.

For example, if you are an email marketer that offers high-level packages and your keyword selection led you to use the phrase “email marketing,” you will again be attracting a large amount of traffic that is not really interested in your services. Your search engine marketing company should instead be targeting a keyphrase like “premium email marketing,” which may be less popular but will still bring in more leads than the generic phrase.

By Place in the Buying Cycle

Your search engine marketing company should be asking you what your goal is for your marketing strategy and then use your answer for keyword selection. You may want to be the information source when someone is looking for your type of service, or you may instead want to be the destination when a prospect is ready to close the deal – or possibly a combination of both.

So if you are a real estate firm that is marketing on the Internet, you have two directions in which you can go. Your search engine marketing company can target phrases like “Atlanta real estate” during keyword selection, which will bring in prospects that are early in the process and looking for general information about the area. In this case, you would want to make sure you have whitepapers and other informational pages available on your site.

During keyword selection, you can also target a phrase like “Atlanta real estate agents,” which is more likely to be searched on by someone who is ready to buy a home in the area. Those searchers will come to your site ready to close the deal. A good search engine marketing company will ask you the right questions before research even begins to find out which of these phrases would work better for your strategy, or to determine whether both types would give you benefits when marketing on the Internet.

Knowing the Company

In much the same way, keyword selection should involve knowing the specific goals of your company. Your search engine marketing company can hone your keyphrases in three ways:

  • Those that bring in higher margin business
  • Those that boost underperforming business areas
  • Those that focus on new services

Those that bring in higher margin business

Your search engine marketing company can focus its keyword selection process toward products and services that bring in the highest margin. This is preferable to treating all of your products and services, and therefore all of your keyphrases, equally. For example, you may have two lines of business – one that nets 30 percent and one that nets 70 percent. If your keyphrases focus too heavily on the business that nets 30 percent, the overall effect will be a decrease in margins across the board. Conversely, focusing on the business that nets the larger percentage will bring you an increase.

Those that boost underperforming business areas

Your search engine marketing company can also find out from you which areas of your services or which products haven’t gotten enough attention, and can focus on those. Your keyword selection strategy could then bring in fresh leads for those areas. For example, you may have a line of business that is underperforming, and it has been made known by the powers-that-be that this lagging area needs improvement. Your search engine marketing company should be aware of this issue, because it can allocate a sizable number of keyphrases to this underperforming sector. If you don’t give your SEO firm this information, whether it asks or you volunteer, your keyphrases may be allocated equally, and you will lose the chance for this boost.

Those that focus on new services

If you let your search engine marketing company know about products or services you have in your pipeline, it can start its keyword selection for those areas early on. Then you can start getting traction ahead of time, rather than waiting until your product is already out to start your marketing on the Internet in that area. If your SEO firm asks you what is coming up for your business, let the company know about any initiatives up front.


When you target your prospects with a strategic keyword selection process, the benefits will become clear very quickly. And when you target specific areas of your business and do not treat all of your keyphrases equally, you will see the results in the places that matter most. Plus, you will save your sales department a great deal of time because they will no longer be tied up with bad leads from people finding your site for services you do not provide. Instead, the leads will already have been filtered and your sales people can close more deals.

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