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The discipline of search engine optimization has marketing leaders around the world asking: “What do people search for when they are looking for my products or services?”

This is where solution-based SEO comes into play, and nearly any business can beef up its search rankings simply by thinking outside the box.

All too often, business owners insist on overloading their keyword strategy with industry jargon keywords. They assume that everyone is searching for their business in the exact same way that they are searching.

But, the fact of the matter is that everyone searches differently. Some people will search by industry jargon, some with long phrases, others with single words.

Some people ask a question, while others are searching for a solution to a problem and are not really sure what exactly it is that they are looking for.

The unique ways in which we search are limitless, and unfortunately there is no way to optimize for every keyword variation that someone may be searching for in relation to your business.

The goal should be to achieve the highest ROI for each first page keyword ranking. With the proper keyword targeting and analytics, you can essentially assign a dollar value to a first page ranking. One opportunity that is frequently overlooked by many businesses is solution-based SEO targeting.

Solve your consumers' problems through targeted keywords

You will make or break your SEO strategy with your keyword targeting. Many times, a searcher has no clue what they are looking for. All they know about their search is that they have a problem that needs to be solved.

If your business is able to fill their need and shows up at the top of the search results, you are one step closer to bringing in a new client and additional revenue. This is the beauty of SEO; It helps with brand awareness, and more importantly with lead generation and direct sales, but only when the proper keywords are targeted. 

To insure that you are including solutions based keywords in your SEO strategy, here are just a few things to consider before selecting your final keywords to optimize for.

  • What is your company’s expertise?
  • What types of problems do your products/services solve?
  • How do your clients view what you do?
  • What is a catalyst for someone to search for your types of products /services?
  • What do you most want to be known for?
  • Who is your ideal customer and why?
  • What types of customers are not a good fit for you?
  • What products or services are more profitable?
  • What keywords are currently converting best?
  • What aspect of your business do you enjoy the most?
  • What is the relative difference of cost to achieve rankings for the types of keywords under consideration?
  • What is your lifetime average profit per new acquired client/customer?

At the end of the day, businesses want visitors to take action and not simply browse the site. Companies are finding that with the proper keyword targeting, they are much more likely to achieve the desired conversion not just traffic.

High website traffic is great, but without conversions (profitability), it frankly doesn’t matter. 

If you don’t want to do a deep dive and want to keep it simple, think about these factors for a quick and dirty analysis:

  • Conversion estimate per keyword group type (products, etc.)
  • Rough traffic participation % once rankings are achieved. 
  • Profitability per transaction, Lifetime per new customer/client.
  • Cost of SEO per keyword group.

These approaches will allow you to determine your strategy to reach the consumer with a solution in mind. Your business is bound to uncover additional opportunities otherwise overlooked and help appropriate investment dollars that actually pay off.

Jennifer Dunphy

Published 19 March, 2012 by Jennifer Dunphy

Jennifer Dunphy is currently the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Vayu Media. You can connect with Jennifer on LinkedInFacebook,  TwitterGoogle+ and YouTube.

4 more posts from this author

Comments (8)

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This was very helpful and thorough. Never realized how much more there was to that...especially the question "how do your clients view what you do?" that is very important because not evetybody knows the specific name of what they are looking for.

over 4 years ago



Perfect, I have worked on optimising many websites and this is the first issue we cover within the keyword research. A lot of companies want to be first for a range of generic keywords that have a lot of search volume but are usually not very well converting keywords. The questions covered here is exactly what companies should focus on to find the converting keywords. Great article!

over 4 years ago


Peter Clarke

This is helpful. You are quite right with the search terms and a quick look at Adwords will show which are the best ones to target.

over 4 years ago



Jennifer, excellent consumer perspective. As you said, the beauty of SEO is, its consumer driven marketing. I would call SEO as consumer mind optimization!
In addition to your list, I would like to add a couple of points to the list.

1. Local Optimization - Local results are rapidly gaining attention. So it would be good to ask "where your customers are located?"

2. Looking at suggested searches when you start keying in your keywords can also be very insightful as these are not google's suggestions, but your customers'.

over 4 years ago


Mark Gavalda

It's also a good idea to test various keywords with a PPC campaign first, take the converting ones and optimize your SEO campaigns for only those keywords.

over 4 years ago


adrian branch

I'vs said this before.. you do not target keywords, you target your products and services.

Yes, you can add a landing page based on a particular phrase which is loosely based on your product.. but will it convert? unlikely. Will it rank? No (at least not as a one off).

over 4 years ago

Jennifer Dunphy

Jennifer Dunphy, V.P. of Sales & Marketing at Vayu Media

Thanks Everyone, I am glad that you found the article to be informative.

Robins, you also make some great points as well. Local SEO is very important, especially for smaller businesses trying to make the most of their strategy.




over 4 years ago


Graham Lomax

In our experience there is just a lack of rigour espaecially when it comes to measuring real outcome. Client of mine was spending a small fortune in this area and following a look at his actual ROI we were able to indentify more than 20 alternative and far more profitable tactics.
Graham Lomax

over 4 years ago

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