Any seasoned Adwords advertiser knows the difference between ‘buying keywords’ and ‘traffic keywords.’ Unfortunately, many in the SEO world think of keywords as a group of equal value items without considering their differences in intent and value.


The truth is that some keywords are worth more than others. We see this quantified in the Adwords auction system, where certain keywords – say, ‘buy insurance’ – are priced above others – say, ‘insurance’ on its own.


The reason for the discrepancy in pricing is that one keyword has commercial value – it’s indicative of a person that’s ready to become a customer – while the other has limited commercial value. It’s not indicative of any sale, merely of a desire for more information about a certain product or service.


As an SEO, the difference between buying keywords and traffic keywords should be at the forefront of your mind when you’re crafting new campaigns. Instead of simply optimizing for any niche-related keyword that brings in traffic, you should maintain a tight focus on buying keywords that will produce revenue for your clients.


This means targeting ‘buy t-shirt’ instead of simply ‘t-shirts.’ It means targeting ‘hire a SEO firm’ instead of just targeting ‘SEO firm.’ It occasionally means choosing a low-traffic keyword in favor of a high-traffic one, purely because it has more commercial value to your business.


Think about it – if you were a salesperson, would you approach someone that needs your service, or someone that’s just interested in it? We go where the opportunities are, and in the world of search marketing – whether it’s SEM or SEO – that means a focus on buying keywords.


By focusing your energy – and your SEO resources – on the keywords that actually matter, you can quickly gain an edge on your traffic-focused competitors. After all, it’s not about who can generate the most traffic, but who can convert the traffic into valuable customers and sales leads.