Many businesses have come to see the light that many of their customers are online and if they want to reach them, they should extend an online arm as well. However, as they start to get more involved on the Web, they start to realize that they’re not the only players in the game… their competitors are also trying to be found on the Internet. Naturally, the landscape becomes competitive, particularly with being found on popular search engines like Google and Bing, and business owners put a lot of emphasis on the keywords that they think will bring the most visits and conversions. So, if you’re one of those companies that are putting any resource, whether it is time or money, into the keywords that you are being found for on the Net, you have every reason to be considering your keywords as an investment, and here’s why.

Wikipedia defines a finance investment as “putting money into something with the expectation of gain.” The most common types of investments that come to mind when discussing financial investments are stocks, bonds, mutual funds, precious metals, and land. When it comes to your site’s SEO, you need to devise a plan for how your site will be found in search engines. Just like any other investment, you want the most bang for your buck (a greater ROI–return on investment). This requires planning, analysis, and most importantly, coming up with a strategy on what keywords you want to target. Here are some ways that you can compare your keywords to other types of investments.

Stocks

When you invest in stocks, you put your money directly into a company (shared with other stock holders) as a sort of ownership of that particular company, if you will. You should be considering your keywords in the same respect, only that instead of investing your money into a company, think of your keywords as being an investment into your industry. Yes, you will have to share with your competitors, but this can be the simplest route for your site’s visitors to take to find you. You know that people will use these keywords, so you can be sure that somewhere in the SERPs you are bound to be found with the right organic SEO strategies. Before you think it’s that simple, don’t forget that your reputation can also be an investment as well. If bad reviews for your business are outranking your official site, it can work against your investment goals. Be willing to compete for terms that denote your superiority over your competitors, such as “Best XYZ Company” or provide ACTUAL positive reviews from your previous customers and optimize that page for “XYZ reviews” and the like. You might be able to pick up some customers that are willing to do their homework, which might help you, depending on your business.

Bonds

When you buy a bond, you’re essentially purchasing a debt that the issuer agrees to pay back with interest. It’s a lot like a loan, since you’re more of a lender than an owner. In this analogy, consider the debt as the queries of your potential customers. Let’s say your company is in a very niche industry, like xeriscaping, where your potential customers may not realize that there is a lot more to your company than just landscaping. However, your potential customers may not be very familiar with industry jargon and may not consider typing “xeriscaping contractors.” They may be more likened to targeting keywords like “drought-tolerant landscaping” or “low-water landscaping.” You want to target the questions that people are asking about your industry as these questions not only need to be answered, but if you are trying to aim for brand recognition, this is a valuable tool. Find out what people are looking for, or what they’re discussing, and don’t be afraid to put in your own two cents (just don’t be spammy or that can hurt your reputation more than help it). Get your business name out in the social-sphere by taking a step into social media marketing and start participating in forums, incentivizing social interaction on social sites like Facebook and Twitter with contests or rewards, and don’t forget that your time is an investment too, so try to keep your focus on engagement with customers instead of time-consuming sites like LOL cats (however funny and cute they may be).

Commodity Goods – gold, oil, computer chips, etc.

These are products that you know will be worth something because they’re in demand. However, the amount that you can profit off of this demand is dependent upon supply and demand. So, when it’s not in demand, you may not see much fruit to your labor. Depending on the commodity, seasonality can play a role. This, too, can affect some keywords. Some keywords are like oil; there’s always a demand, and as the supply diminishes as a result of consumption, it only makes the demand greater as time goes by, sometimes spiking around times of high demand (like the summer). However, some keywords’ demand will ebb and flow throughout the year. Keep a vigilant eye on seasonal trends that apply to your business (there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to this). Don’t be afraid to invest in these somewhat fluctuating keywords when the time is right. If you get a greater return on your investment, then you’ve accomplished your goal. In an ideal investment situation, you want to invest in something before it becomes popular, and thus more competitive. But, when the organic landscape is just too costly to invest in, you might want to consider finding alternatives like PPC Advertising. Though your initial investment may be higher, the return you get on it will ideally lead to more conversions instead of being wasted on fruitless labors. With help from conversion rate optimization, you can take a step further to help to see what keywords are driving the most conversions so you can better narrow down where your greatest ROI on your keywords is, which is important for some businesses whose keywords that drive the most traffic don’t always drive the most conversions.

Land

The downside and benefit to investing in land is that although there is a limited supply, there are many opportunities for it to grow. Unlike investing in gold, short of performing some sort of alchemy, you probably won’t grow more gold. However, with land, you can build up when you can’t build out and you can also use the land to grow other investments, like high-demand commodities such as coffee and sugar. When the United States was in its infancy (relatively speaking), a term was being used to describe the motivation behind its westward expansion: Manifest Destiny. Though there were many opponents, the concept alone played an important role of motivating the United States to engage in war with neighboring countries as well as spearheading the acquisition of land which, as years passed, developed into many of the cities and farm land that the US economy benefits from to this day. Some keywords may not show great yields at first, especially when your rankings are low, but just as Rome was not built in a day, you can’t always expect instant results. That doesn’t mean that you won’t benefit from your investment at a later time. Have patience but always keep an eye out for opportunities that can help your business grow.

Though this is not meant to give specific investment advice, the purpose is to point out that there are many similarities between investments and keyword targetting. And it is up to you to decide whether or not you want to diversify your SEO profile or stick with one route. Whatever path you decide to take, I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.

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