How to Find the Best Keywords for Your Brand
An important factor to success for any online retailer is which keywords to find and add to your search marketing efforts. Most retailers keep a lid on their most successful keywords, but the process for finding them isn't exactly a secret. Kate Goodman, vice president of e-commerce at women's apparel retailer Talbots, and Courtney Wegner, client services manager at iProspect, a search marketing firm, shared best practices to finding your brand's keywords in a session titled, How I Found My Best Keywords, at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in San Diego yesterday.
In order to find the best keywords, you must think both like a marketer and a consumer. When thinking like a marketer, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who are we as a brand?
- What products do we want to be known for?
- What are our goals?
Talbots knows it's a brand for women's apparel. The products it wants to be known for are primarily women's suits. Customer acquisition is its main goal, as well as driving traffic to both its website and brick-and-mortar stores.
Goodman suggested that the best place to start your keyword campaign is with brand coverage. When it comes to covering your brand, it's important to own all of your brand terms because you want to be able to control your messaging. This will increase ad interaction and conversion rates. Brand terms yield the highest return on investment, brand interactions with consumers and the lowest cost per click. Goodman advised not to ignore your brand terms. "If you're not found in the search engines for these terms, your competitors will be."
Another goal of keyword campaigns is to increase brand awareness. This aspect focuses on new customer acquisition and encourages layering in keywords to your campaign. This is where you must begin to think like a consumer, rather than a marketer.
For example, outdoor apparel and products retailer Timberland is most popular for its hiking boots. Timberland may call its boots "footwear," whereas a consumer may call them "kicks" or "sneakers." Consumers may even refer to the Timberland brand itself as "Tims" or "Timbos." All of these differences must be reflected in your keyword campaign.
Another example would be if you sell handbags. The consumer might consider handbags to be purses, satchels, pocketbooks, etc. It's critical you take these differences into account. So which keywords should you buy? Goodman says all of them.
When beginning to build your keyword list, Wegner advised starting with brand and nonbrand terms. That means all versions of them, including singular and plural variations, typos, misspellings, and even regional dialects. For example, Goodman noted that people in Massachusetts tend to add an extra "r" to words, therefore Talbots not only owns the brand term "Talbots," but also "Talborts."
Include your store location, web address and URL as keywords. According to Wegner, these are some of the best keywords to have because they're cheap and, most likely, your competition hasn't bid on them. You also don't need any outside tools to complete this task because its your brand. You should know it better than anyone else.
Keywords will produce a greater ROI if they're more specific. You should begin with the major product categories for your brand. Wegner used Michael Kors as an example. The main category here would be "Michael Kors," then its products should be listed as "women's apparel," "handbags," "shoes," "watches," "accessories," "men's apparel," "gifts" and "sale."
Take it one level further by targeting women's apparel keywords like dress, dresses and their typos. Data shows that a good amount of people forget the second "s" in "dresses," so also add "dreses." You can also add keywords like tops, jeans, and don't overlook words like plus-size and petite. Under dresses, be sure to add even more detail, such as belted dresses, brown belted dresses, casual dresses, casul dress (another common misspelling), casual khaki dress and casual khaki cargo dresses. Don't forget about the typos and plural and singular versions of these words as well.
"It's all about knowing your products and going from there," said Wegner. "Know who you are, what you're selling and how your customers view you, and get specific as possible. Each keyword needs to have a purpose and a goal."
There are multiple free tools to assist you with your keyword campaigns, beginning with Google AdWords. This is a good tool for finding new keywords. AdWords will show you a list of keywords just by inserting the name of your site. It then determines keywords for your categories and their search volume. "Take it a step further and do this for a competitor's site," Wegner said. "Maybe they're using keywords you might have missed." Google Traffic Estimator and Google Insights for Search are also useful tools.
Google Search Query Report is a must-have tool, said Wegner. Used after a campaign has been launched, the tool reviews current search queries that match your current keyword list. It also gives you two valuable pieces of information — what's working and what's not. Citing the Timberland example, Timbaland is a popular rapper. He has albums, song titles and lyrics. It's possible that some of the keywords associated with Timbaland are also associated with Timberland, especially if Timberland included common misspellings in its keyword campaign. These are called negative keywords. With the help of Google Search Query Report, you can remove these nuances with ease.
With these tools available, you should never do just one thing on this list. Remember to always optimize, change, add and remove your keywords with the seasons. Remember the variables and be specific as possible with your keywords to maxamize ROI. If you don't, your competitors will.