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Ongoing keyword evaluation is critical to the long-term success of your SEO efforts, and it's really the last step of the keyword research cycle. With all of the great keyword data that we can look at, the one data point that we can't find out about those keywords is how they'll actually perform for us. Once we start ranking for the keywords that we've targeted, and we start to get traffic coming to our pages as a result of those search engine rankings, we'll need to see if those keywords are actually driving conversion actions and business objectives. Remember that blue 2010 toyota camry keyword that we thought would be so perfect for us? Well it might turn out that everyone typing that keyword into a search engine is looking for a place to take their car to get fixed for free as a result of some product recall.
All of our research told us that this would be a good keyword. But it might turn out in the end that it's not driving any car sales. The point is, we'll need to be able to adapt. You'll find that some keywords just aren't producing results for you. And don't be afraid to swap in new keywords in place of those that aren't working. And you'll only know this once you've already got traffic coming to your site from those keywords. A quick way to do some testing is through Paid Search. Using Google AdWords or Microsoft's adCenter, you can buy the keywords that you want to evaluate for a short period of time, and collect the data that will help you understand whether or not these keywords are going to provide business value for you.
While Paid Search clicks do tend to behave a little differently than clicks on organic search results. This can be a good proxy, and potentially save you months of work and lost opportunity. And don't forget that SEO isn't just a one-time, set-it-and-forget-it project. It's a continuous process that has to be maintained over the long term. This industry is constantly changing, and the way people use search engines is evolving, too. The keyword research that you did a year ago might not be valid anymore. So make sure that you're revisiting this exploration a few times a year to find new opportunities that may have come up.
By staying abreast of changes with fresh research and focusing on how your target keywords contribute to your website's organic traffic and business objectives, you'll be developing a better understanding of your visitors, their search patterns, and how you can serve them better with the pages of your site month after month and year after year.
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