Christine Churchill from Key Relevance was first up. KW Selection considerations; relevant to site, keyword popularity, stage in buying process, competition, and feedback. Stage in Buying Process: keywords indicate where consumer is in the buying process (problem recognition, information search, select alternatives, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision). Search behavior: navigational, informational and transactional. Getting inside the searcher's mind; understand the "why" behind the search and you can better target how to respond. Competition, from an SEO perspective, she liked to look at it from a pricing perspective. She looks at the number of campaigns in Google and Overture are running on a particular term. NicheBot is an other tool for competitive research, it gives her real quick backlinks, indexed, pagerank numbers. She also uses Google Traffic Estimator. She loves using PPC for testing purposes. Its not about the keywords that you want to be found on. It's about the keywords the end user.
Dan Thies from SEO Research Labs and a guest author at my blog. He does some pitching, as he calls it, "SEO Fast Start" is his book. Search Engine Marketing Business Kit, SitePoint.com will publish it soon. His company does great keyword research, advanced SEO/SEM coaching. Keyword modifiers, i.e. the tail end of keywords, half of search terms are 3 words or more. When it comes to the longer searches, you can easily rank for those organically, so do some keyword research. He showed a slide of words highlighted next to a term he plugged into keyword tracking tool. 8,539 for "web hosting" and an additional 12,281 with modifiers and thats just the top 30. The tail is bigger then the head. Assessing relevance, he gets the count of searches on a term, and then they go through and assign percentages to see if its relevant and then use a multiplier to give a "score". Keyword Density - ranks.nl. Then he mentions Dr. Garcia (Orion) for the second time, and discusses the EF Ratio (see the search algorithms research and development session, I explain it all pretty well there, I think). He then goes into term frequency, which I also summarized in that other session. Then c-index review, same deal, in my summary. STAT (Search Term Analysis Toolkit), keyword density analyzer, relevance assessment tool, keyword modifier and more too come with this tool.
Ren Warmuz from Trillian was next up, keyworddiscover.com is an advanced keyword research tool. NeedMoreBeer.com was the case study site he used. He typed in the term "beer" into the tool and it came up with over 7,000 unique beer related terms, and it shows the # of searches per term. Then you can cross relate the terms to a specific page, to see if you are organically optimized for a term. They also have an advanced "related search terms" function; type in related shoes, you get things like "sneakers" and even "socks." Once you got the keywords, you can do keyword analysis & KEI, it shows searches, occurrences, KEI and predicted daily traffic. Then he moves on to the seasonal trends page, where it shows you a graph of the ups and downs of a keyword like "valentines day" (funny; I am writing what he will say, before he says it, why? because I saw it before. well, I find it funny and it makes it easier to report on). They also have a spelling mistakes function; misspellings and typos. They took this one step further and added advanced phonetic algorithms that do sorts of soundex matches (I believe). KeywordDiscovery has an API as well and its sold on a monthly subscription. They have added language support in spanish, german, italian, french, dutch, swedish and english. He claims everyone uses the free tools, but not the paid ones, so to be competitive you need to pay. :)
Steve Dennen from ComScore is now up, with some damn cool tools (expensive too). Passive tracking of actual consumer search activity. He says there is a ton of good tools out there but there is a gap in knowledge that ComScore can fill (really looking at your competitors is a big one). They have two offerings; (1) "search marketer planning:" share of search term, searcher target demo profile, searcher target visitation and search term rankings and (2) "competitive search marketing:" He shows some screen shots of both. (1) He shows on the first offering the share of search term report which shows where are these searches taking place and how does that share compare to the overall market?. Searcher Target Demo Profile tells you about the demographics of these searches and how do they compare to all searchers. Searcher Target Visitation Report, what are the top sites visited by those who search on these terms? Search Term Ranking Report, what are the tip performing search terms within my evaluation set? (2) Competitive Search Marketing Module; sponsored ad share of voices, source of search traffic by term and source of search traffic by engine.