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Making your page a good match for the query

Matching Flowers

When it comes to search engine optimization, one of the most important stages is the first one: choosing which keywords to target. If you get this wrong, you can spend months on a fruitless and frustrating SEO campaign. If you get it right, you can be on the receiving end of a flood of traffic, which can easily turn into a flood of sales or subscribers (if you’re building your list).

So, how do you choose the right keywords? There are of course many things you have to get right. In this article, we’ll consider just one of them – making sure you make a good match for the query. What do we mean by that? A couple of examples might help to clarify.

Suppose someone goes to Google and types in a phrase like “new iPad review.” We know from this that they are looking for a review of the new iPad (obviously). What this means is that if you want to rank well for that term, your site (or rather your webpage) will have to provide a review of the new iPad. Anything else will be inappropriate. If all you have on your webpage is a list of the new iPad’s specs, your page is not a “good match” for the query. If all you have is a picture of the new iPad and a big affiliate link, then again, your
webpage is not a good match for the query. On the other hand, if your page contains a complete, impartial review of the new iPad (discussing pros and cons), then it would be an excellent match for the search query: “new iPad review.”

Consider another example. Suppose that a lady types in “buy cheap iPad 2.” In case like this, a comprehensive review would not be a good match for the query at all. The lady who typed in “buy cheap iPad 2″ is almost certainly not interested in reading a lengthy review of the 2nd generation iPad. She wants to buy the thing, not learn about its features!

So we know that a review of the iPad 2 would not be a good match for the lady’s query. What would be a good match? Well, in some way or other the landing page should probably present the lady with a cheap ipad 2 for sale. For this would allow her to accomplish her goal of buying a cheap 2nd generation iPad. If you were selling cheap iPad 2 tablets and your page allowed users to buy directly from you, that would work. Alternatively, you could present a list of different merchants, all of whom sell the iPad 2 for a low price. That would also be a good match for “buy cheap iPad 2″ since it would facilitate the process of buying.

Whatever the search query is, you must ask yourself the question: “What does the user want?” What do they have in mind when they’re typing in that phrase? The closer you can come to delivering exactly what users want, the more likely it is that Google will consider you relevant. And relevance is one of the most important criteria for ranking high in the search engines.

But it’s not just about ranking high in the search engines. It’s also about conversions. If your landing page is not a good match for the searcher’s query, they will hit the “back” button asap. Your bounce rate will shoot up and you will hardly ever get subscribers or sales.
On the other hand, if your landing page gives users exactly what they wanted when they typed in their search phrase, then you can expect a much higher conversion rate. People will opt in to your list, buy your products, click your affiliate links or do whatever else you want them to do.

To sum up, then, if you want to do a good job or ranking in the search engines for a specific keyword (and gaining conversions as well), then you will need to make sure that your landing pages match the user’s query.

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