Are you afflicted with KFS? (It’s nothing to do with chicken!)

As we work on our clients’ websites, we often see the same issues recurring across multiple projects. One particularly tricky issue that we frequently come up against is when a client is suffering from what we call ‘KFS’, or Keyword Fixation Syndrome. I asked our optimisation specialist Geoff about Keyword Fixation Syndrome – how to recognise the signs, and how to overcome it!

  • Keyword Fixation Syndrome can be diagnosed when a business attaches out-of-proportion importance to a particular keyword or phrase that they want to target in the search engines.
  • Out of proportion? What we mean by this is that the keyword is not as important as the business owner thinks it is. Often a client will have an assumption that a keyword is crucial to their business – that by obtaining a top ranking for that phrase, their business will be revolutionised overnight, when in fact the evidence suggests that this would not be the case.
  • Why would this be so? Sometimes your potential customers aren’t using the same terminology as you, and aren’t in fact searching for your chosen phrase at all. Sometimes the keyword is overly general and unlikely to convert well into sales. And sometimes the phrase would indeed revolutionise your business if you could achieve a top ranking – but the rankings are dominated by high-powered sites that have been around a lot longer than yours and have a lot more search engine ‘clout’ – meaning that in the short term you may be better off targeting other phrases, saving this target for a later stage in the campaign.
  • Can KFS be treated? A keyword fixation can be very difficult to treat – patients are sometimes too emotionally attached to their ‘pet’ keywords for treatment to be effective. However, with a healthy dose of realism, keyword research can be effective as a treatment. By looking at the evidence – which phrases attract the most traffic, which are least competitive, and which tend to convert best into sales (running a pay per click campaign can help you test which phrases convert best if you have no other data on this), a full recovery – and website success – can be effected.

Not targeting the right keywords? Contact Helen for more details about keyword research and search engine optimisation.

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