Lee Odden

Keyword Glossaries and Conversions

As I was discussing the challenges and opportunities with a new client SEO project recently with one of our staff, I realized how much times have changed in regard to how we generate and apply keyword research.

In the late nineties and ’01 it was pretty much a process of mapping keywords to web pages, citing popularity and competitiveness. We used the KEI information provided by the WordTracker keyword research tool to uncover opportunities with ideal keyword popularity to competitiveness ratios. Things like keyword density, prominence, position, etc were mulled over for each search engine in excessive detail.

Considering trends, seasonality and making keyword level optimzation more user friendly became more important as we took on more retail clients and as the realization that, as easy as ranking was to measure, it simply didn’t matter compare to clickthrough rates, traffic and conversions/sales. However, not many clients were doing a very good job at tracking web conversions and sales, especially BtoB companies with long sales cycles.

So now we spend a lot more time on developing keyword glossaries for segments of web sites based on the kind of content and where it fits in with the visitor’s stage in the buying cycle. Content producers on the client side can easily reference glossaries developed for their part of the web site (product / service categories, business units, etc) and take into account the kind of content and where it fits in with guiding site visitors towards the desired outcome.

For example, a top level category page(s) would be optimized for broader concepts intended to attract visitors conducting research or who are evaluating options and offer multiple options for the visitor to engage (white papers, newsletter, webinar, blog).

More specific product or solution pages would be optimized for specific phrases and copy designed to engage the visitor that is further into the buying cycle and looking to make a decision soon. Offers of a free consultation, direct contact with the sales team or similar calls to action are more appropriate here.

Our increasing responsibility as a SEO firm to provide usability and conversion consulting really makes the best use of the variety of talents required to be good at search marketing. How is that you ask? Good SEO benefits the user as well as the search engines.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Love that last paragraph! So true.

  2. Well Lee that’s one of the best descriptions I have see for the changing face of SEO/SEM.

    The keyword glossary concept, where you give the copywriters the option of what to use based on what’s best for the user is spot on. Care to give an example on how you lay out such a document for the client?

  3. If the client has a decent web analytic program installed, that can be a great help as well. This way, you can get a better picture of what pages trigger what (direct sales / calls to action as opposed to info gathering etc)

  4. Avatar Aaron Pratt says

    You are really working hard to rank for “SEO firm” eh Lee? Do people search for that?

    *Me runs over to overture to check it out*

    -=Weee 🙂

  5. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. SEO is automatic.

  6. I thought the same thing but hey, it’s Lee’s blog and darn it, why shouldn’t he try and rank for that term and use his blog to do so. More power to you, Lee.

  7. Aaron has a conspiracy theory sort of sense of humor, and likes to point things out.

    Want to know what I like to rank for?
    online marketing 265,000,000 serps, #5
    marketing blog 141,000,000 serps, #1

    Anything to do with “SEO” is just a game and not where the money is.

  8. I just checked inventory.overture.com as Aaron mentions for “SEO firm”. Ewwwwwwww! Maybe I should mind what I anchor from now on with this blog.

  9. Avatar Aaron Pratt says

    Some older gentleman with a BIG company who wants to find someone to market his badly ranking website might actually use the word “firm” in a search. So, it is not exactly incorrect bolded text or a bad cross site reference.