When researching or choosing a product or service, visitors typically follow a keyword path. This keyword path can be used to help inform your SEO campaigns.

For example, let’s imagine we have an imaginary visitor who is trying to choose a digital camera. Our visitor might start off by researching digital cameras. In Google, they will search upon the keywords “digital cameras”. They might complete some research, read some reviews, and decide upon a make of camera – let’s say they have decided upon a Nikon. Let’s now imagine that our visitor will now carry out a search for “Nikon digital cameras” and following further research, eventually decides upon a Nikon P100. Finally, at this stage, the visitor will carry out searches for “Nikon P100 prices”, which now indicates they are ready to buy and are carrying out price checks online.

This keyword path will typically apply in most sectors, and your job as a website owner is to figure out which keywords people will use which relate to YOUR products and services.

The easiest, fastest and most reliable way to do this is to use Google AdWords and create advertisements based around a few broad keywords related to your product or service. Adding broad keywords means that Google has been given “free rein” to find related keywords for you. Make sure you have installed conversion tracking so you can track sales (or leads if your website is for B2B). You should now set up a search query report within AdWords so you can see the exact keywords which resulted in sales.

Ideally leave the AdWords campaigns running for long enough that the results are significant, for example until you’ve received 50 sales or leads. (Warning – this keyword discovery stage may be expensive and it may take some time before you start to see conversions.)

In your search query reports, you should now be able to see the number of impressions for each keyword, along with the keywords that actually resulted in these sales. Pick out keywords that are typically 2 or 3 word phrases where possible, as these will be easiest to optimise for. 1 word keyphrases would be difficult to optimise for, and 4 or more words are unlikely to result in a large amount of traffic. These keywords you have now identified are the ones you should be targeting for your SEO campaigns as you have now proved these will result in sales for you!

This is a guest post from Claire Jarrett, owner of Marketing By Web, a PPC Management company based in the UK.