Oneupweb To Mid-Sized Search Marketers: Optimize More Keywords
Conversion rates during natural searches increase as keywords are added, said a study published yesterday by search marketing firm Oneupweb. Conversion rates, however, plateau and then decline at four keywords, Oneupweb determined.
The firm reviewed data collected by its search analytics conversion tool, ROI trax, which included hundreds of thousands of keyword phrases.
The findings should encourage mid-sized firms competing against Fortune 500s to expand their search engine optimization campaigns beyond single keyword searches, which are dominated by big name brands.
"Many businesses focus natural optimization on one-and two-word phrases,” said Lisa Wehr, Oneupweb’s president. “With this study in hand, marketers should expand and balance SEO campaigns to include three- and four-word phrases.”
The first data set collected by Oneupweb showed that single keywords had very high conversion rates, supporting the strategy of leading advertisers with deep pockets. The second data set showed that conversion rates rose steadily from two-word phrases through four-word phrases, at which point conversion rates peaked and dropped thereafter. This is the area in which mid-sized firms can compete, said Wehr.
“Examining only our aggregate database, one would conclude that the high conversion rate of the single-word phrases contradicts our hypothesis,” Wehr explained. “However, we also reviewed a second, more focused data set, showing that once corporate names are removed, single-word keywords fall below two-word phrases.”
A privately held company based in Michigan, Oneupweb also reviewed average traffic per keyword, noting that traffic follows a reverse trend--dropping as keyword length increases.
“Our recommendation to marketers has always been, ‘Don’t invest all your resources and efforts in only single-word or two-word phrases. Optimize for longer keyword phrases in addition to the shorter terms,’” Wehr continued.
Wehr cautioned marketers not to expect optimization of longer keyword phrases alone to equal higher conversion rates. Effective natural optimization campaigns, she said, include in-depth analyses of market and Web site factors affecting businesses.
At the end of 2004, Oneupweb found in a study that about half of leading advertisers did not properly optimize their Web sites for natural search placement. For the study, Oneupweb queried Google and Yahoo! for terms related to the Web sites of BtoB magazine's top 100 advertisers, and found that 5 percent of the sites that used little or no optimization were listed on the first page of Google and Yahoo!; 22 percent landed on the first three results pages of Google, and 19 percent on the first three pages of Yahoo!.
The report found that the number one factor in boosting natural search rankings was having a large amount of relevant content--particularly detailed product and service information. Well-optimized sites attract more traffic, generate more leads, and shorten the sales cycle for marketers, according to the 2004 report.
Oneupweb has yet to update the optimization report released late in 2004.