Paid & Organic Approaches To Dig Deeper With An SEO Keyword That’s Working
You know that a certain keyword is performing really well for you, but you're only getting so much traffic. Columnist Tom Demers shares tips for wringing more visitors out of a profitable keyword.
For some lucky businesses, there are a wide variety of great, relevant, frequently-searched-for terms that they can easily marry to engaging content assets and drive lots of great traffic. If a business is fortunate, there are more great ideas for profitable terms than there are resources to create related content.
That may not be the case for your business, though. Some businesses have a relatively limited universe of keywords they can target through organic and paid search, and when they finally find a great term that drives significant traffic and actual leads and sales, they want to expend whatever resources they can on getting more of that traffic.
But what if you’re already ranking number one? Or what if a term that you know works very well in your AdWords account just isn’t something you can seem to squeeze any traffic out of in organic search listings? What if a few super authoritative sites (maybe even Google itself) are outranking you and the SERP is shrinking, for instance?
My company does a lot of work with B2B SaaS companies, and we’ve found that enterprise-oriented solutions frequently have this challenge, as only a finite number of folks are actual prospects (and so a fairly limited set of terms can actually drive qualified leads).
In this post, I’ll walk through several ways that you can leverage your knowledge about a specific profitable traffic-driving keyword to generate more of the same kind of traffic.
This will allow you to capture more leads and sales without simply bidding more for your target term or banging your head up against the wall trying to rank better for a search term even though you’re actually “dead on arrival” to the SERP in the first place.
Five Ways To Use Pay-Per Click To Squeeze More Value Out Of Your Target Term
There are a variety of ways you can use pay-per-click to capture more of the good traffic you’re getting from a specific term.
To help demonstrate each of the different options for digging deeper on a profitable keyword in this post, let’s imagine we sell very expensive, complex point of sale systems specifically to food services companies.
Because our systems are specifically designed for these folks, a lot of different terms we’ve tried have driven irrelevant leads, but the term “food service point of sale systems” drives lots of traffic for us, converts well, and drives lots of profitable leads.
Let’s go and get more of that traffic.
1. Test Your Ad Copy & Landing Pages
Assuming we’re already bidding on this term in our AdWords account, two important levers we want to pull are:
- Ad Copy Testing — This is a pretty simple concept, but one many advertisers seem to overlook: If we get more clicks on our ad, we’ll get more of this traffic. An important bonus here is that an increased click-through rate will help us to improve our quality score, which in turn will make the cost of each of these clicks cheaper. That might mean we can bid even more aggressively and get even more of this traffic.
- Landing Page Optimization — Similarly, if we can get more of the people who are coming to our site to actually convert, we get more of these searchers to turn into leads. This would mean we could bid more aggressively for our keyword without blowing out the cost-efficient cost per acquisition that we’re enjoying.
These may seem like fairly obvious options out of the gate, but when was the last time you created a new ad copy test or landing page variation for your core keyword?
Do you have a system in place for cycling through new variations that may generate more clicks and higher conversions? If not, it’s something worth adding to your list.
Additional Ad Testing & Landing Page Optimization Resources:
If you’re not sure of what or how to test these elements, there are a number of great resources that can help:
- WordStream’s Guide to Ad Text and its big list of A/B testing resources
- PPC Hero’s 20 ad copy tests for improved PPC performance
- Boost Media’s Ad Text Tips category, where it features a number of actual ad copy split tests and analyzes who won (and why)
- QuickSprout’s guide to landing page optimization
- Unbounce’s guide on the same topic
- And Conversion XL’s guide on landing pages
2. Turn Searchers into Display Targets with Display Select Keywords
The second tip for getting more out of a keyword that’s driving profitable traffic is a simple AdWords setting that I find not many people are aware of: It’s called display select keywords.
Basically, with display select keywords, you can create a display audience in much the same way you would with remarketing. But, rather than targeting an ad specifically to people who have come to your site, you can target your ad specifically to folks who have searched for a certain keyword on Google, even if they’ve never interacted with your site.
If you don’t have your target term segmented out already, you might want to consider creating a new, dedicated campaign for your display select terms and ad creative. When you’re logged into AdWords, simply create a new campaign:
Or, if your terms are appropriately segmented into their own campaign (note: be careful if they aren’t! If they’re in a campaign with other terms, you’ll be opting those other terms into display select keywords too, and depending on performance you may not want more of that traffic). Once they’re in their own campaign, you simply go to campaign settings and edit the “Campaign Type”:
Then, once you’ve enabled search and display select, you’ll want to be sure to monitor your results over time, to see if you get a similar conversion rate and cost for your new terms.
You can look at the performance of your display select terms by creating a segment (either when you look at campaigns, ad groups, or keywords) by network:
And then looking at the display results (which will be solely from display select traffic if you’ve set up the initial campaign properly) to be sure that traffic is converting the way you want it to:
Unfortunately the options to split this traffic out within AdWords aren’t great yet (it may eventually be updated), so you want to be sure that your standard ad copy works, and, if you incorporate image ads into the campaign, you want to make sure those work as well.
3. Bid More Aggressively on Return Visitors with RSLA Campaigns
I think of RLSA or “remarketing lists for search ads” as the inverse of display select keywords (and like display select keywords, it’s a feature I find not many people know about).
What it allows you to do is set a unique bid for the folks who have visited your site previously when your ad shows for a specific term.
You can create a new, mirror campaign and ad group targeting just the folks who have visited your site and are searching for your target term.
This may allow you to bid more aggressively on these folks (who frequently convert better) than you would on generic traffic for this term (or to create different copy that leverages your brand name more aggressively), generating more of this traffic and more of these conversions.
4. Use Similar Audiences & Remarketing for the Landing Pages Driving Traffic for Your Keyword
One of the most successful marketing strategies that helped my former employer WordStream drive leads and sales was to pair content creation with remarketing campaigns. My old boss outlined how the company did it, step-by-step, in this detailed blog post.
You can use remarketing as a holistic marketing strategy, but you can also use it to simply make the targeted keyword traffic you’re driving from profitable terms work harder for you.
If I’m ranking for “food service point of sale systems,” that traffic has to be going to a specific page. If I’m bidding on the term via PPC, I’m likely sending them to a landing page (or one of a few I’m testing).
Most of the people coming to these pages are likely the folks I want to reach, and, unless I’m a conversion wizard, most of them are leaving the page without becoming a lead or sale.
I can create a custom remarketing list just for traffic to those pages that hasn’t converted (by including people who visited those pages, and excluding people who viewed my thank you page).
Then I can show those folks very specific ads for very specific offers (e.g., a “How to Evaluate Food Service Point of Sale Systems” download or “X Mistakes Companies Make Evaluating Food Service POS Systems & How to Avoid Them,” or just the offer that I already know is converting).
Beyond that, I can also target similar audiences with a specific offer, and see if Google can do a good job of helping me find more people like those qualified folks who are searching for “food service POS system.”
Just be sure to keep an eye on performance by audience — your remarketing audience may perform significantly better than your similar audience segment here.
5. Use Bing Ads to Get Incremental Traffic for Your Keywords
Don’t forget about Bing! While the search traffic here won’t be as dramatic as what you’ll drive through AdWords, you might be able to capture incremental traffic at a significantly reduced cost-per-click and cost-per-conversion.
Three Ways To Get More Organic Traffic For A Keyword That’s Working
Assuming you’re already ranking (or simply won’t be able to rank — if you’re not sure if you should be working harder to rank for a given term or just giving up, Nick Eubanks recently put out a great guide on the topic on his site — and are fresh out of creative promotion ideas to get your page more shares and links) for a valuable keyword, there are a few ways to squeeze a bit more of that great traffic out of Google’s search results.
1. Flesh Out the Page That’s Ranking for Modified Versions of the Core Term
If you haven’t already, use tools like UberSuggest or KeywordTool.io to get a list of modified terms that are being suggested in Google suggest (and other search results like Amazon or YouTube).
Identify as many of these terms as you can work into the body copy of your ranking page (without having it look unnatural or interrupting your conversion flow) and you can start to drive more traffic around these specific variations of your core term.
2. Reconsider the Ranking Page’s Title Tag
Rankings are great, but the only people who actually come to your site are the folks who click on your search listing. In the same way that optimizing your ad copy for PPC will help you get more folks to your site, tweaking your page’s title tag can help you get more actual traffic, leads and sales.
You can track progress here by looking at Google Search Console’s search query report by page, and don’t forget that you might want to test different approaches to increase CTR.
3. Create New Content Targeting Modified Terms
Once I’ve fleshed out my page’s content and incorporated modified versions of my core terms, I can consider breaking out some of those modified versions of the core term and creating a unique content page.
Not every page and content asset on your site needs to be a monster guide to the topic you want to rank for. Shorter content can work well too.
For instance if I’m getting some nice traffic for “point of sale system comparisons” I might break that topic out onto its own page and talk about how to compare and contrast point of sale systems (maybe even — gasp — acknowledge that my competitors exist!)
Unfortunately specific keyword data has become difficult to come by in analytics tools, but competitive keyword tools like SEM Rush and the Search Console’s search query report can do a good job of giving you some insight into the terms a specific page is ranking for.
Bonus Tip: Mine The SERP (And Related SERPs) For Advertising Opportunities
If the traffic that comes to my site for “food service point of sale systems” converts very well for me, it may follow that the traffic that comes to other people’s sites for the same term could be profitable for me as well.
Let’s look at the search result that’s making me so much money:
Most of the folks ranked highly here are competitors, but look at the two highlighted results:
- Food Service Warehouse –- This is an informational site, so I may be able to buy ad space on the site in general, or even do a custom, targeted sponsorship with them just on this page.
- Capterra –- This is a review of POS systems. I might be able to get my system reviewed if it’s not already, and/or I can consider advertising with these folks or working to get a premium listing on the site. Doing this may let me tap into more of this type of traffic.
The idea behind any of these tactics is this: When you find something that’s working, there are often a number of ways to enhance that particular tactic, or just get more of that same type of traffic.
Think laterally and you can frequently go deeper on a variety of different marketing tactics that are working.
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