The Key to Finding Keywords: Stop Going Niche, Capsice?

Posted by Alec Biedrzycki

Feb 23, 2013, 2:47 PM

Alright, I'll admit it-- the blog post title is too creative for its own good. And it might not make much sense. But it includes a keyword I want to rank for (which isn't 'Capisce', believe it or not), so let's just casually move on to my latest marketing challenge from Eric.

He asks: “Pugs is struggling to identify niche keywords that we can drive our relevancy and create new customers with their uniquely found traffic.”

Ah, the ol’ “niche keyword” conundrum. You want to drive traffic to your website through keywords that describe your product or service, but after doing some research, you come to find that nobody is searching for the terms.

It’s time to revisit the drawing board. I don’t have too much insight into the keywords you’re going after, but here’s what Google Adwords Keyword tool is picking up after a quick crawl of the root URL:

pugs-keywords

The list of keywords that pop-up is very product-focused. Adwords is picking up these keywords based on how its reads the site’s keyword optimization. While this product-centric recognition is all fine and dandy for website that sells sunglasses (among other things), it tells me that the site’s optimization is catering heavily to those further along in the buying process.

Another thing to notice is that these keywords have a relatively “high” difficulty. Keep in mind that this difficulty reflects on Adwords, not SEO rankings, but from my experience, I’ve seen strong correlations between PPC competition and organic ranking difficulty.

Okay, so you’re probably asking “what’s this have to do with anything?” Well, I’m glad you asked. If you didn’t ask, let’s just pretend you did.

Next, I did a crawl of http://www.redbull.com/en. Here’s what Adwords picks up:

redbull-keywords

Notice how there’s no mention of energy drinks? Also, note the lower competition for some of these keywords.

My point here is that maybe the Pugs’ keyword efforts are a bit too product focused. From what I understand after browsing the Pug’s website, the company sells gear (sunglasses, gloves, etc.) for active individuals who enjoy an adventurous lifestyle.

Maybe it’s time to focus less on the product specific keywords and develop a strategy that goes after the lifestyle component, similar to what you’re seeing with Red Bull. Of course, Red Bull has a ton of brand recognition and an extensive motocross athlete sponsorship base (which is tough for a smaller company to simply obtain), but the idea is the same. You’ll want to begin focusing more on keywords that reflect the lifestyle of the typical Pugs persona. You can even think of this focus on lifestyle as a way to increase brand recognition over time.

Upon further investigation… While it seems the existing blog content is following this “lifestyle” content strategy to a certain degree, there’s still much room for improvement. Here are a couple quick observations:

  1. Lifestyle Keyword Metrics: Not sure that the lifestyle keywords you’re selecting are falling into the “sweet spot” (low difficulty, moderate search volume—point #4 in my previous blog post on SEO optimization). If you think the current lifestyle keywords aren’t sticking, run a survey to poll the existing customers on what they care about. Ask them about what Pugs helps them fulfill during their adventurous activities. Better yet, incentivize them with a free piece of Pugs apparel for filling out the survey.
  2. On Page Optimization: Once you determine the right lifestyle keywords and messaging to put out, make sure to review how the content is structured. Currently, the URLs and title tags on the blog posts that I’ve browsed aren’t optimized fully. Even if you are including keywords that would be opportunistic, you won’t get indexed if the SEO elements aren’t there.
  3. Leverage Your Repeat Customers: On the website homepage you clearly state” Millions of Pugs Gear apparel and Pugs Eyegear™ are sold each year, with a high percentage of sales to repeat customers. These repeat customers are our most loyal fans, the ones we've built this site around.” Take advantage of that! You may not have the sponsorship of major athletes that Red Bull has, but gosh darn it—you can profile some of these up-and-comers in the blog posts. Integrate some strategic keywords (point #1 above) and optimize correctly (point #2 above) and you’ve got brand ambassador blog content that can attract new, organic visitors (FWIW, I think this would be HUGE).

In this case, if difficult, product focused keywords aren’t getting you any traction, go for another opportunity—lifestyle blog content. Think about the fulfillment that Pugs products brings to its customers and align your content with that.

Of course, this Marketing Challenge Blog post wouldn’t be complete without some “bonus” points:

  • Blog to eCommerce Transition: Work on a smoother transition between blog and products on the main website. Right now, it’s very difficult to navigate between the content you’re creating and the various products that are offered. Some recommendations here are more prominent Calls to Action that lead to specific product pages. If I read a cool blog post on how one of your brand ambassadors uses Pugs gloves to win motocross races, I want a quick and easy way for me to browse the product catalogue (and hopefully) purchase a pair.
  • Align Calls-to-Action with Content: If you implement the above point, ensure that you’re aligning the blog post topic with whatever the call to action may be. If someone is reading an article on biking, we don’t want to have a call to action for a pair of fishing sunglasses. You’re peppering links in the blog posts, but definitely add more visual Call to Action buttons!

Hope that helps, Eric. Fellow readers, any other ideas on how to help Pugs get more keyword traction?

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