Keywords & Content: Search Marketing Foundations

Aug 20, 2008 • 7:19 pm | comments (0) by twitter | Filed Under Search Engine Strategies 2008 San Jose
 

How many keywords do you need in your paid search account? What keywords are your customers searching for? How do customers find products after they reach your site? How to target the right terms in your paid and organic search marketing, and where these keywords should be used. Moderator:

* Cory Treffiletti, President, Managing Partner, Catalyst:SF

Speakers:

* Jill Whalen, CEO, High Rankings * Christine Churchill, President, KeyRelevance * Frederick Vallaeys, Google AdWords Evangelist, Google * Jorie Waterman, Lead Program Manager, adCenter Keyword Research Platform * Jason Dorn, Senior Director, Network Quality Team, Yahoo! Inc.

Christine Churchill takes the floor.

Will be talking about keyword research. The idea is to have better ways to talk to customers who will be buying and create relationships with. Biggest mistake is when people become myopic and use words that are internal jargon or in house terms while not thinking about what the customer might be using.

Why do it if keyword research takes a lot of time and commitment?

Search engines are text based. Sure they can read other formats, but text is key. Keyword research is the fundamental step in search marketing. It also helps us correct mistakes. Back when Christine was at Net Mechanic, made a big mistake and had a site rank for the wrong terms. Terms the customers couldn't even spend! Started looking at the traffic to help make proper keyword research decisions.

Another reason to do research is to increase conversions. Increase conversions by speaking the customer's language.

Develop list of relevant terms to target in SEO, PPC, Blogs, Videos, Social Media, and offline documentation.

Competitive intelligence - insight on competition helps you identify key opportunities.

Keywords and usability. Helps give ideas for site design and navigation. Very overlooked part of the process.

Favorite reason to do the KW research is to discover new opportunities. If you have a content site, the more KW opportunities - the more chance you have for a sale, donation, or conversion.

The long tail - Based on frequency graph. Coined by Chris Anderson who wrote a book about it. What you find with this graph is that the popular keywords are in the front of the graph, and then reduce to infinity. It's a way for small sites, and sites such as Amazon or itunes to capture lots of unique traffic. Tail phrases are very descriptive queries that people use to search. It's been reported that 20% - 25% of queries are new to Google. People are using unique phrases all the time.

Brainstorming and building a keyword list- Goal is to cast your net widely and generate a broad list. Don't have someone negative in the room to ruin the creativity of group.

Another overlooked opportunity is to look at keywords within the company. Look within press releases or current site copy. But be careful of insider jargon. Product reviews, company reviews are great resources.

Log files - catch 22 situation. You need to be found first. But may give you a core phrase to give you insight for others. Google Webmaster tools and other similar tools are great too.

Site search box - Terms thrown into internal site search database.

Competitors - good place to get ideas.

Learn the lingo of the customer. So important. Customer interviews, surveys, focus groups, blogs, forums, discussion groups are great resources.

Keyword research tools - lists many different products out there - see lecture slides for entire list. Wordtracker, Trellian, Spyfu, Nichebot, Hitwise, Trends, etc.

In sum - the success of your campaign goes back to your keywords. Takes time and is an ongoing activity. Requires continuously looking at your lists. Use a variety of sources.

Thanks!

Frederick Vallaeys of Adwords takes the mic.

Adwords evangelist for Google. Talks about tips and tools to grow your business with keywords.

The agenda: -Best practices for keywords -Keyword tools at Google -Business intelligence tools

The long tail phenomenon is real and advertisers are aggressive. Shows a graph of two studies that were done. Strong correlation between long tail keywords and conversions. 2-3-4 keyword phrases is the sweet spot.

How many keywords do you need? Different for everyone. If have thousands of products - thousands of keywords. How do you structure this? Use ad groups. Recommends 10-50 keywords per ad group. Helps you break words into themes and match ad text. Mistake is having one keyword or ad creative per group. People think its more trackable, but not the case. Also a mistake is to duplicate the keywords with multiple match types. The reality is that is not the best strategy.

Finding words - use the Adwords keyword tool. Don't need an account to use it. You can put in terms, and it will generate similar terms. Gives up to 150 keyword refinements. Now has keyword volume data! Audience claps. Was a big request and finally implemented it. The other option in this tool is "keyword broadening". For example, "wireless router" will produce the suggestion for "linksys router". Great for finding negative keywords. Another option is to use the landing page URL to find keywords. Suggests new ad groups. Should use the search query performance reports. Tells you which queries people did when they saw your ad. Say you bough the term "anniversary flowers" and the ad is coming up on "anniversary gifts". Can help make a decision if you want that term or not.

Discovering new opportunities - Say you are watching the Olympics and you sell sports memorabilia. You see that Michael Phelps and Kobe Bryant are related terms. But in the last week, there was a huge spike for Michael Phelps. It's real time data that happens every day and lets you capitalize on potential seasonality and regional trends. Shows which month has highest volume. If you have a back to school campaign, you can use this data very effectively. If you look at the reports, you can see the differences amongst different regions. Can use different keywords in different regions to address what the market needs.

A new tool called Google Insights for search was recently introduced. It's a version of Trends built for advertisers. Plug in "north face backpack". Shows Canada is demanding this product and great place to unload them. Shows up-and- coming queries. Shows lots of interesting buying trends. Uses the term "breakout" which means a major spike in query volume.

Jorie Waterman from MSN is up.

Adcenter keyword research tool for Excel 2007 is what she will be talking about. This tool is great not just for Adcenter but for all SEM efforts. Jorie is a real keyword junkie. She loves keywords.

Why is keyword data important? It's a real gauge of user intent, a lense into your audience and a great way to help improve ROAS and expand reach. Highly recommends looking at different tools and comparing information.

The MS Excel add-in. There will be a version for 2003 coming soon. You can use it for up to 20k keyword per day, per account. A great way to be creative about keyword research. Delivering absolute numbers on exact match queries. Not showing unique users, but how many times has a term been searched. Fully committed to transparency.

Where does the data come from? Keyword services platform. 3rd party developers can tap into it. Comes from MSN, Adcenter, and the web itself. Can see monthly traffic, buzz, monetization data, and by vertical, extract keywords from URL - tremendous amount there.

Shows the demo live. There's a tab for "Ad Intelligence". Type in a URL in cell A1. Click Keyword Extraction. Extracts keywords. Great tool for competitive research!

Can see up to 100 keywords per URL! Another way to expand keywords is with "Keyword Suggestion". Returns data very rapidly within Excel and gives lots of long tail terms. Can easily create thousands of terms. Uses "travel" for example, and gets thousands of keywords. How do you prioritize terms? You can click on "Monthly Traffic" to forecast, and see how words are affected by seasonality. Great for budgeting. This data comes from exact match vs. paid so more representative.

Because it's in Excel, you can rapidly total things, sort, etc. You can also type in similar terms, and there is a great way to get concrete info to help which terms to prioritize. Couch vs. Sofa. Helps decide which gets more volume. Monetization data shows paid search info for specific keyword. Can look at data from last 30 days from specific position, or by match type. Puts data in a pivot table. Shows average CTR, CPC's for data range.

Encourages us to play with the tool and dig in! (Sorry, there is no Mac version yet!)

Next, we have Jason Dorn from Yahoo!

Talks about pitfalls to avoid.

Where to begin? The answer is - your business - your website. Content on your site. You know about your business to dig in and extract meaningful information.

A case study of a credit card merchant who bid on "loan", "credit card", "new car", "restaurant". Too broad. Audience laughs.

Keyword research tools - these can be great but can't tell you relative value of keyword to your business. Tools show search volume, and that's seductive. But with high exposure is high cost, and can also be over broad and more difficult to convert. It's important to match your budget with what you bid on. Shows an example of plugging in "Mac" and getting both computers and cosmetics. Important to review the generated terms.

Use internal search query logs is very attractive but also presents pitfall. Example of an auto dealer who imported everything from his logs into his PPC campaign. The term "discount" got in there. Maybe not the best term to bid on. A travel advertiser did the same thing and bid on "Italian history". Context is key. Might be a traveler, but most likely a research query - non commercial term. An electronics dealer plugged in "wwii" - World War II instead of Wii! And there was a lawyer who had the term "atomic bomb" in his list!

Collect all the right keywords but can still fail because of a poor ad group structure. Ad group structure is the foundation for success. Once you find the right keywords, structure them tightly so you can craft compelling creatives.

Lastly - chronology is important. Bid first on what you know you should bid on. Also, keyword de-selection is important. If something is not working - remove it. When content changes on a site - update your keyword inventory. Make sure you drive people to the best and most relevant landing page because people expect that nowadays. Don't pay for clicks to send people to the wrong landing page.

You can always check out help.yahoo.com/ss for tutorials, tips, and webinars.

Finally, we have Jill Whalen of High Rankings.

Switching gears. Keyword research is the cornerstone of a good SEM campaign. Jill specializes in organic, but can apply these strategies to paid.

Where do you put those phrases when you have these terms? Put them in title tags if nowhere else. Anchor text, alt tags, headlines, body text copy, and meta descriptions.

Home pages and main category pages - that's where you want to describe the site in general. Great to put your competitive broad phrases from your research. Homepages are great for competitive terms because get more PR. Don't just stick your keywords in the top where it doesn't make sense for people.

Product level pages are great for very specific phrases. Put good headlines and make sure that the anchor text uses the product name in the text.

Websites are not brochures! Assume visitors knows nothing about you! Many websites Jill reviews make the mistake of assuming all visitors know about you. SEO and paid is about getting people who don't know you. Make sure users know they are at the right place! Even just a sentence or two.

Good content - what is that? Don't need to always create special pages for SEO or PPC. Speak to your target audience. Solve their problems. Answer questions. Provide information.

Content that is king is written for users first, while also keeping engines in mind. It's a balance. It's about writing for both.

Don't fake real content. Don't write about the history of door stops. Fix your site. Don't use doorway pages that aren't part of your site. Still amazed people are using them.

Write clearly and descriptively for target audience.

How to be descriptive? Don't use words like "our product" or "our solution". Describe it. What is your solution? Avoid generic words, but don't stuff words.

Edit current text and replace with appropriate phrases. Sometimes you might have words in your existing copy, such as "restaurant" - can become "Martha's vineyard restaurant" or "Martha's vineyard cafe" or "where to eat in Martha's vineyard". Don't have to guess right keywords any more.

Have enough copy to support the phrases. No maximum amount of word per page. How many you need to say whatever you are trying to say.

Use plurals, past tenses, and -ings. Don't rely on "stemming". Better writing uses different forms of words. Don't be afraid of using variations.

Sometimes words have different forms or spellings. "websites" or "web sites", "email or e-mail". Be consistent though. Google is now smarter at detecting these discrepancies.

Writing really does matter!

Contributed by Avi Wilensky of Promediacorp.

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