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April 25, 2008
Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click Keyword Research Differences

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) keyword research differences are more significant than you may think because while they both seek the same solution, increased site traffic, the way that they achieve this differs substantially. In order to be successful, both strategies require extensive keyword research in the beginning as well as definition of the target audience.

As you approach the subject, bear in mind that PPC is a form of advertising intended for short-term results while SEO isn’t advertising at all and is designed for long-term success. With each approach, you’re looking for different types of visitors.

SEO Keyword Research

For SEO, you don’t want to target keywords that are irrelevant or unrelated to your industry. Since you’re probably going to be making a greater investment for lasting results, you want to be very careful about the keywords you select and optimize on your site. Other SEO keyword research factors to consider:

  • It allows your keywords to be more niche-oriented. If you choose, you can target terms that receive less traffic but will give you higher visibility when they are selected.
  • You can optimize longer keywords and phrases and different combinations of them but it’s best to focus on no more than two on each page.
  • You want to be careful that the keywords you select are based on actual search data and that your choices aren’t based on preconceived notions that you may have about their relevance. Always consider the perspective of your target audience above your own. The keywords you’d like to optimize may be well understood in your industry but will your audience use them in a search?

PPC Keyword Research

With PPC advertising, you’re looking for the maximum amount of impact in a short period of time. You can choose broader, more generic keywords if you’re willing to pay more for them via stiffer competition. PPC keyword research can also let you:

  • Have more of a localized, geo-specific aspect with keywords that include city-, region-, or state-specific terms. You can also select common abbreviations and nicknames for cities, neighborhoods, and metro areas.
  • Choose your main keywords modified by adjectives and ‘power words’ such as easy, free, cheap, new, amazing, new, improved, etc.
  • Use different variations on your keywords using hyphens, abbreviations, contractions, and even common misspellings.
  • Use singular and plural version of the keywords and see which terms attract more clicks.
  • Be more aggressive and take more chances on keyword choices. This doesn’t necessarily mean choosing highly competitive terms but remember that you can move swiftly and discontinue a specific keyword that isn’t producing results at a moment’s notice.
  • Focus on current trends in the marketplace and capitalize on their popularity. When a term gets a lot of play in the media or industry, you can take advantage of the top-of- mind awareness, modify your principle keyword with it, and try variations.

These are just a few general differences in keyword research for these two Internet marketing strategies but the quality of your keyword research is the foundation of success for both! Otherwise, you risk spending a lot of money for very little return on your investment.

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Nick Stamoulis is the president of the full-service Internet Marketing Firm, Brick Marketing.  Nick’s philosophy and strategies can be found in his SEO blog the, Search Engine Optimization JournalNick Stamoulis is also the editor and publisher for seven Internet marketing-related blogs: Pay Per Click Journal, Social Marketing Journal, Blog Marketing Journal, Email Marketing JournalLocal Advertising Journal, and Online Publicity Journal.

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