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Choosing Keyphrases – "Alloy Wheels" vs "Brand Model Size Alloy Wheels"?

Or – Generic vs Specific. Or – Quantity vs Quality.

There is often a misconception with people new to the world of search engine optimisation that you should be aiming to feature for the most generic phrase that garners the largest number of searches for your particular industry.

Although there is some logic to this thinking, nine times out of 10, it is simply not the right approach.

At WNW Design we try to educate our clients as to why it is better to get small numbers of visitors that have searched for more specific phrases, rather than to get a large number of visitors for the most generic phrase.

Let us take an example of one of our existing clients, They sell a wide range of alloy wheels. Obviously they would like to feature highly for the phrase “alloy wheels” as this phrase gets a large number of searches per month across all the major search engines. In fact, at time of writing, they are in positions 17 & 18 on a Google search for alloy wheels, position 9 on a Yahoo search and positions 1 & 2 on an MSN search.

These results are good, but when we look at their statistics, we can see that this is not where they get most of their alloy wheel related search engine traffic.

Alloy wheels search phrases graph

In the month of December 2005 they received a total of 1003 visitors that had searched for the generic phrase “alloy wheels”, however, this is only 10% of the number of visitors they got from more specific phrases based around alloy wheels (10,062 visitors).

So we can clearly see that featuring for the most generic phrase is not the be-all and end-all of getting large amounts of traffic.

There is also another advantage in getting visitors that searched for more specific phrases. Let’s consider which stage of the buying process a visitor might be at when they visit your site. Obviously they are interested in your products or services, otherwise they wouldn’t have been searching for them.

But if the visitor has searched for the generic phrase (alloy wheels) then there is a strong likelihood that they are in the very early stages of the purchasing process. They don’t know what brand or model they are interested in, they may not know what size they are after or they may even just be looking for information.

If the visitor has combined the generic phrase with one or more other, qualifying words (“bk racing alloy wheels”, or “alloy wheel packages”) then we can immediately tell that they are a more targeted visitor. They know which brand they want, or what size they are after. These visitors are therefore going to be much more likely to turn into customers.

It is a fair assumption that the more specific the phrase, the more targeted the visitor is going to be and the more likely that they are going to make a purchase or an enquiry.

So when concidering the key phrases you want to optimise for, try looking for a larger number of more targeted phrases. Not only will this result in larger numbers of visitors, but in all likelyhood, will result in a larger percentage of your visitors turning into customers.