Semify is often asked to help new web sites bring traffic from search engines. As any good SEO services firm, we immediately conduct keyword research on the keywords related to your business. We use a combination of free and paid information to determine the keywords your customers might use before starting your SEO campaign.

Keyword research is difficult because accurate search query information is either unavailable or imprecise. The free services like the Google Keyword Tool provide a 1-5 scale for keyword search volume and the paid services like WordTracker have a limited sample of data from secondary data sources. By combining the available free and paid information we can differentiate between high volume terms and less important terms. It is difficult, however, to conduct keyword research using the available resources and end up with accurate daily search volume.

Paid search is a great way to add a level of precision to estimating search demand. As a reminder, pay-per-click or paid search is the advertising platform that Google, Yahoo and others offer that allows an advertiser to show their ad for specific search queries and pay for each click on their ad. In addition to the number paid clicks, Google also reports the number of impressions for your ad. Impressions indicate the number of times your ad is shown. Impressions can therefore be used as a much more accurate measure for search volume on a keyword. Now there are a few caveats depending on the keyword match type and number of impressions during a single SERP page but we’ll put those aside for now.

During the keyword research phase, we often recommend that our clients allocate some budget for paid search to gather more information about their important keywords. Our PPC Management Services allow us to manage your campaign and conduct an automated daily review to make sure that your campaign is performing as expected. As a Semify client, you’ll be able to see your PPC results right next to your SEO services campaign.

Once we know the daily search volume, paid search has one other important role in kick starting your SEO services. If possible, we also look at your onsite conversion rate for each of your paid search keywords. It is useless to optimize your site for a highly searched keyword if all of the traffic immediately leaves your site because it is not related to the topic they were searching.

By combining the free and paid keyword research data with the real world results of a pay per click campaign, we are able to pinpoint the keywords that are most important for your campaign and then go to work on improving your rankings with our SEO services.

In Part 2, I will discuss how using paid search and SEO services can complement each other once you begin ranking on your targeted keywords.