by Rob Snell
Friday, September 29th, 2006
Today’s Y!Store blog is another guest column by long-time Yahoo! Store owner and developer Rob Snell of Snell Brothers, located in sleepy Starkville, Mississippi. Rob blogs about Yahoo! Store, speaks at search conferences about Yahoo! Store, is the author of a new book on Yahoo! Store: Starting a Yahoo! Business For Dummies, and conducts Yahoo! Store internet marketing workshops from time to time.
How’re y’all doing? Back in March, I wrote a blog post about my obsession with converting keywords. In that article, you learned what converting keywords are, how important they are to your online success, and how to find them in your Store Manager and other places.
To recap, converting keywords are the search phrases folks look for when buying what you sell. You can find these nuggets of gold in your merchant order emails, inside referrers from exporting your orders, inside your Manager’s Sales reports, in paid search conversion tracking reports (if you buy ads with Y!SM or Google), and inside reports of some third party analytics software (if you use their software). You should have a converting keyword for almost half of your store orders.
This is serious business! My bigger stores have around 5,000 unique converting keyword phrases with some phrases generating hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in sales. Hey, look! If you don’t track and optimize your store’s converting keywords, you’re giving thousands and thousands of dollars to the competition. In this post, I’m going to show you how to use these money words to crank up your search engine marketing to increase traffic and sales to your Yahoo! Store.
Search Engine Marketing 101
Search engine marketing (SEM) is simply making sure that shoppers find your store when they’re looking to buy what you sell. Search engines (like Yahoo!, Google, and MSN) send millions of visitors a day to sites just like yours. A search engine visitor types in some keywords and presses the search button. A search engine results page appears with two kinds of search results: free search results (also know as organic or algorithmic) and paid search ads (pay-per-click text ads).
You want your store to rank well in both the free results and in the paid search ads for the words shoppers use to buy what you sell. Since you now know your converting keywords, let’s do something with them! I’ll show you what I do for each converting keyword I can find.
Introducing Southern-fried Search Engine Marketing
Now I’m going to tell you a little bit more about what I do with converting keywords to get more traffic and sell more stuff . I cover this in much more detail in my book, blog posts, and seminars, but here’s a taste of our secret family recipe for Southern-fried search marketing. Please don’t tell my momma I told y’all, ok?
- Check your site for the converting keywords: When you get a converting keyword phrase, make sure that the words from that phrase actually appear somewhere on your store, like in the body text of your store’s section or item pages. And then check to see if the actual keyword phrase appears on your site. If not, add the phrase to your site!
- Check your search engine rankings: Check to see if a page from your domain ranks in the top 10 search results for that keyword phrase. Search Yahoo!, Google, and MSN. If your don’t have a page in the top 10, optimize for it. If you do rank for your phrase, optimize anyway! More about this in a bit.
- Check your paid search campaigns: Finally, check to see if you’re buying that keyword phrase in your paid search campaigns at Yahoo! Search Marketing, Google Adwords, and soon at MSN. If not, buy that keyword phrase, cousin!
For example, let’s dig in with a real converting keyword phrase from a sale on one of my sites that occurred only a couple of hours ago: Orange Dog Collars.
Search Your Site for the Phrase
The first thing you should do with a new converting keyword phrase is make sure that the converting keyword phrase actually appears in the text of your site. The easiest way to do this is to search your store using built-in Store Search which looks at the NAME, CODE, and CAPTION fields for every page in the store and then returns a ranked list with every page containing any of the words in that phrase.
For example, on my site a store search for Orange Dog Collars returns a list of all the pages with Orange and/or Dog and/or Collars, which is hundreds of pages.
I also search for the exact phrase by placing quotes around the phrase. For example, a store search for “Orange Dog Collars” only returns a list of pages containing the exact phrase within the text of the NAME, CODE, and CAPTION fields.
Pick the Most Relevant Page for the Keyword Phrase
I believe that for every keyword search, there’s a matching page on your site that has the just the information your potential customer is searching for. I call this page the most relevant page (MRP). The best way to find the most relevant page on your site for any given keyword phrase is to simply ask your favorite search engine. For example, search on Yahoo! for a keyword phrase. Usually whatever page of yours that ranks best for that keyword phrase is the most relevant page on your site for that keyword phrase. What if you don’t rank in the top 10 or so for that search phrase? Do you have to dig down in the search results to find your most relevant page? Nope!
Yahoo has a really cool tool, the site:domain filter. Search on Yahoo! for site: domain.com keyword phrase and your results for that keyword query are limited to that domain. How ‘bout an example using a shameless plug? Search on Yahoo! for site:amazon.com Yahoo! Store Book and my book, Starting a Yahoo! Business For Dummies comes up first!
Sometimes it’s hard to tell what page on your site is the most relevant page for a search phrase. Sometimes there are too many somewhat related pages. Sometimes there are no related pages! Either way, you now have an invitation to create a page around that converting keyword phrase.
For example, the phrase Orange Dog Collars needed a page created because the 20-odd collars we sell are all offered in orange (and five other colors) and they were sorted by manufacturer or by style (plastic, nylon, coated nylon, rubber, leather, etc.) I created this page http://www.gundogsupply.com/orange-dog-collars-kwp.html earlier this year.
When I search for Orange Dog Collars, this page ranks #1 on Google, #3 on Yahoo!, nowhere to be found on MSN, and #2 on Ask.com. For some reason that page isn’t even in listed the MSN index, so I’ll have to work on it a bit!
Now that you know your keyword phrase and what page you want to optimize for it, in my next post I’ll show you how to optimize the most relevant page for converting keyword phrases. I’ll show you some basic things any merchant can do to optimize for all the search engines, like including the phrase in the most important SEO element – the title tag, adding the converting keyword phrase to the body text, and linking to that page from other related pages using the converting keyword phrase in the link text.
guest blogger for Yahoo! Small Business