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With keyword selection, more can mean more

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Marketers looking to generate Web site traffic with search engine marketing-both organic and paid-may want to think less about individual keywords and more about phrases and keyword combinations.

OneStat.com, a Web analytics company, recently reported that most people use two-word phrases in search engines. Of all searches worldwide in the past two months, 29.6% were two-word searches, 27.6% were three-word phrases and 16.2% were four words.

Since the company's last measurement, reported in July 2004, fewer Web users are using one-word searches, and more are using four-word searches. One-word searches accounted for 13.4% of all searches in last month's findings, compared with 16.6% in the year-earlier period. Four-word phrases accounted for 16.2% of searches, compared with 14.8% in the July 2004 results.

Another study, released earlier this year by search engine optimization and marketing firm Oneupweb, found that using specific keywords or keyword phrases in natural search engine optimization campaigns may result in higher conversions.

According to the company, the average conversion rate of one-word keyword searches, excluding searches for corporate names, was 7.78%. Four-word phrases resulted in an average 33.4% conversion rate.

"Trained by previous experience, users know that the more specific their search, the more likely they will find a relevant result," said Lisa Wehr, CEO of Oneupweb.

—Jessica Bobula

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