The Keyword Refinement Cycle

By Jerry Work

[Excerpt from the book The Law Firm Internet Marketing Book]

The keywords you start with will likely not be the keywords you end up with. If your target keywords never change, then you’re not paying attention. Above, we discussed that you will have two separate sets of keywords – those for natural search and those for paid search. However, it is possible for a keyword to jump from the paid search bucket into the natural search bucket, as shown in the illustration below:

As you run your paid search campaigns, you are going to learn a lot about what keywords are most profitable; i.e., which keywords generate the most leads for your firm. As you uncover keywords that are particularly effective, you will analyze these keywords for their viability for use in your natural search campaign. Your main concern will be their competitiveness. If you’ve already proved that the keywords are effective by their performance in your paid search campaign, then you know that traffic is not a concern. But you still have to identify the ones that are in a reasonable enough competitive situation that you have a good chance of achieving high search engine rankings for them.

So the cycle is:

1. Manage a paid search campaign with a broad array of relevant keywords.

2. Analyze the performance of those keywords.

3. Allocate your paid search budget to emphasize your best keywords.

4. Analyze the natural competitive situation of your top-performing keywords.

5. For keywords in a healthy competitive situation, either optimize existing pages on your site or create new pages optimized for those keywords.

6. Engage in a mini-linking campaign for the newly optimized pages.

Over time, some keywords will leave your paid search account, some will be added, and some will migrate into your natural search keyword bucket. The key thing to remember is that PPC and SEO are not two separate, unrelated activities because the information you learn from one can help improve the other.