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Search Engines and Keywords: Marketing for Alpaca Breeders

Updated on February 21, 2015

What would you search for?

CloudyPass Peruvian Marcus
CloudyPass Peruvian Marcus | Source

Search Engines

Now that the dust has settled from the search engine wars, two giants are left standing: Google and Microsoft’s Bing. According to the September 2014, comScore Insights Market Rankings, “Google Sites led the U.S. explicit core search market in August with 67.3 percent market share, followed by Microsoft Sites with 19.4 percent (up 0.1 percentage points) and Yahoo Sites with 10 percent. Ask Network accounted for 2 percent of explicit core searches, followed by AOL, Inc. with 1.3 percent.” With a combined total of 86.7 percent of the search engine market, it makes sense to focus your keyword research and allocate any advertising budget with Google and Bing.

Search Engines and Keywords: Marketing for Alpaca Breeders

2014 search engine market share
2014 search engine market share | Source

Keyword Research

There are several free and paid tools to use for researching keywords for your marketing campaign. Google Adwords has a Google Keyword Planner Tool which can be used not only for buying ads, but also purely for research.

To use the Keyword Planner Tool, you supply a keyword, like “alpaca.” You can filter the results by country, date, language, and much more. When you click on “Get ideas,” you will get a bar chart with search trends, and keywords grouped into themes.

Google Keyword Planner Tool

Keyword Idea Results

When you click on the “Keyword ideas” tab you are presented with individual keywords and phrases. You can sort by the different columns by clicking on the column heading. In the image below, I have sorted by the “Avg. monthly searches.” Once you look over each keyword, you can click on the “Add to plan” for each, or you can do an “Add all” or download all to a spreadsheet or CSV file to then import into your ad campaign.

Keywords Sorted

Alpaca Listing Aggregators

So, you might be thinking, this is great information if I want to place some general direct ads, but what if I only want to sell my alpacas or stud services, can’t I just use OpenHerd or other listing services such as AlpacaNation? The answer is, yes, of course, you can use these for your sole marketing efforts. However, the issue with only using these listing aggregators or portals is that usually your farm name or specific alpaca has to be known ahead of time and explicitly searched on. This leaves out many potential new buyers who not only wouldn’t know your farm or business name, but may not yet know about these alpaca listing sites.

Keyword Testing

By using a keyword research tool, you can put yourself in the place of an interested customer and think about what you might initially search on were you new to the industry. For example, you might want to visit an alpaca farm for the first time and might type, “alpaca farms” in Google. As homework, do this both in Google and Bing and see what comes up on the first page. It is likely that you will only see farms that have their own website, or URL domain, and if they are on the first page, they have probably paid for the “alpaca farms” keyword phrase for impressions for a Pay Per Click (PPC) ad campaign. You will see OpenHerd and AlpacaNation on these searches, but it is only the link which points to the general farm search page.

What is Your Customer Searching For?

Search Engines and Keywords
Search Engines and Keywords | Source

Long-tail Keywords

Another benefit of trying general searches like this is that Google, Bing, and Ask.com will list related search keywords, which may help you find keywords and long-tail keywords you haven’t considered. For example, if you search on “alpaca farms” in Ask.com, it gives a list of related keywords. One of these is, “Costs of owning an alpaca farm.” Not only may you not have thought to use this as a keyword, but you can see that it consists of more words or is a long-tail keyword. This also means it probably has a lower amount of searches, but also has less competition for page rankings. The best balance is to find keywords that have the highest amount of searches with the lowest competition. And if you are going to bid on the keywords for ads, you’d also want consider the keyword bid price.

Related Searches and Long-tail Keywords

What kind of ads have you placed before?

See results

Your Turn

It is also a useful exercise to study these results and ads to see how they are worded. Study the top ones, do they appeal to you? Why or why not? Could you do better?

Your homework assignment is to use the Google Adsense Keyword Planner Tool to come up with a list of keywords to match your niche. To do this, you will need an Adsense account. If you are feeling ambitious, you can select some of these keywords and design an ad campaign and launch an ad.

Adsense PPC ads tend to be expensive, so an alternative is to use the Keyword Planner to download your keyword list to a spreadsheet and then create the ad in Bing. When creating the ad in Bing, you will see that when you put in your main keyword, it will suggest some additional ones.

If you do create an ad or two, it is important to check them once a day for a while to see which keywords are working and to delete those that are not. You can also always add new ones. Then do at least a once a week check-in.

Understanding keywords and how they work with search engines can be intimidating, but with some study and testing, you too can soon rank on page one (or two) and watch your clicks turn into sales.

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