An SEO Keyword Research Tip – Acronyms or Full Phrase

SEO Keyword ResearchWhat do you get when you combine proper English and website publishing? Sometimes really low search engine referral numbers because you are using the wrong keywords. Remember you are not writing website copy for print. You are writing the copy for the Internet. Here is an invaluable SEO keyword research tip to help you improve your copy-writing for the web:

Actually research which keyword receives more search referral traffic; the full phrase or the acronym

Many enterprise content publishing websites have employed seasoned print media editors. These highly educated wordsmiths know the English language and proper grammar backwards and forwards. However, does that knowledge translate from paper to the digital frontier? Most of the time the print media editor will lose the traffic race to a savvy and experienced website copywriter.

If you do not already know about the Google Keyword Tool then let me get you acquainted with this wonderful research solution. This keyword research tool compiles data on every search term used in Google. You can see the Global Monthly Search Volume and Local Monthly Search Volume for each keyword you are researching. You also can see an Estimated Average Cost Per Click (CPC) and much more for each word. However, for this keyword research tip we are focusing on actual search volume numbers.

An editor told me that the proper way to write the phrase “sports utility vehicle” is to write the entire phrase like I just did. Writing “SUV” was not proper English and he was very hesitant to follow my advice on using SUV. To paraphrase he was concerned about, “sacrificing journalistic integrity and the User experience for crafting “keywords” for a search engine.” Keep in mind the website we were working for generates revenue through advertising. The more eyeballs your website has over the competition the more advertising revenue your website will generate. So it is all about the eyeballs which mandates you publish optimized content for increased search engine referral traffic.

My concerned editor was then presented with my findings using the Google Keyword Tool:

Google Keyword Tool

Which keyword do you think the editor decided to use in his article title and body? Sometimes it is best to use an acronym over writing the entire phrase. In this situation it was 415 times better to use “SUV” over “sports utility vehicle.” Everdyday human behavior is what drives search queries. We do not walk around speaking or writing in proper English. How many of your friends say, “I love driving my sports utility vehicle,” instead they use “SUV.” As an in-house SEO you must conduct keyword research training and provide hard evidence tied to revenue in order to break the print media editorial traditions. The newspaper reporters must be taught that they are not writing for one User; the reader. On the web you are writing for two Users, the reader and the search engine. The search engine supplies you with readers, so you must pay attention to the keywords.

Sometimes using an acronym is not the favorable approach. For example, is the acronym shared by many popular organizations or phrases? “AMA” is shared by the American Medical Association, American Marketing Association, American Motorcycle Association and the American Music Awards. There is massive search volume for “AMA” but check out the search volume for the full phrases that share this acronym:

AMA Keyword Research

Do you think most people use “AMA” as a reference to the American Medical Association or the American Motorcycle Association? I have my motorcycle license endorsement and have not heard of the American Motorcycle Association. They would benefit best using the full phrase whereas the other associations might want to use the full phrase in conjunction to using their acronym.

The next time you are focusing on a keyword that has an acronym I strongly suggest you properly conduct your keyword research.


Author: Garth O'Brien provides SEO, Social Media and Community Management consulting services. He can help boost the online presence of a small local business or global enterprise corporations in both Google and Bing.

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