Search Engine Optimization 101 – How to Choose Keywords: A Lesson from the Bayer Aspirin Marketing Team

Successful online marketers understand the need to talk about their products in terms customers recognize and respond to.

Search Engine Optimization 101 - Choosing Good Keywords - Low Dose Aspirin PackagingChoosing good keywords is hard – no matter what size your business is. Sometimes it’s a challenge to get my clients to see the importance of using language in their marketing materials – including their website – that they themselves wouldn’t necessarily use to talk about their products or services.

Sometimes C-level executives don’t like using words they feel have the wrong connotation. Sometimes this boils down to the fact that they see their product or service as unique, so unique that it can’t be described in standard terms. Sometimes the Marketing Department is concerned about the brand, about setting their company apart from the competition in a good way. These things are fine. You want to show that you are different from your competitors in significant ways. But there are a couple of serious problems with insisting on being unique when it comes to choosing the language you use for marketing.

First, if you brand your product or service using language that none of your competitors uses, you stand a good chance of not being found in search results for the keywords that really matter, the keywords that will bring success. Second, you risk being so unique, so innovative, in the way you talk about what you do, that customers and potential customers won’t see you as being able to solve the problems that matter to them, the problems they know your competitors can solve – because you are not using language that they recognize and associate with the needs of their business.

Some companies understand this, and they do the right thing. Here’s a concrete example. Look at the box for Bayer Low Dose Aspirin above. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Why does this low dose aspirin have a bottle with an Easy Grip Cap? Because the product is for elderly people. If it’s for elderly people, why does it say “Baby” Aspirin on the box? This aspirin is most certainly not for babies. The fact that “Baby” is in quotes is a clue. It means that this product is identical to baby aspirin. It’s what’s called “Baby” Aspirin. It’s the same dosage. This is the aspirin we have all heard so much about in the news and in medical studies. One tablet a day prevents heart attacks. Not in babies. Babies don’t have heart attacks. Bayer wants you to know that this product is for elderly people AND it is the “Baby” Aspirin dosage, just in case there’s any doubt.

This is exactly how we need to choose keywords – the language we use in web pages and in links to our web pages. Just as people will search for “Baby” Aspirin on a grocery store shelf, people will search for and recognize keywords they associate with what they need when they use Google or any other search engine. If your web pages don’t include those keywords, you’re missing a huge opportunity and you are not going to win at SEO.

If Bayer didn’t put “Baby” Aspirin on the box, shoppers might see the easy grip cap and think that’s not what they’re looking for. All the studies and all the news reports have said “Baby” Aspirin is the form of the drug that is most effective against heart attacks. Is it aspirin for babies? No. Should Bayer call it that? Absolutely.

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