Organic Keyword Research and Selection

Dec 6, 2007 - 4:49 pm 1 by
Filed Under PubCon 2007

WebmasterWorld PubCon 2007 Las Vegas Organic Keyword Research and Selection

Moderator: Detlev Johnson Speakers: Craig Paddock, Boost Search Marketing Ryan Smith, Lead Systems Architect, Beyond Ink Seth Wilde, Search Engine Marketing Manager, uShip

Craig Paddock

Developing keyword lists is the first important step in successful organic search engine optimization. This panel will review how to mine, research, expand, and refine your keywords.

Need guy's name

Keyword Discovery - Looking at log files -- converting keyphrases - 3rd party sampling (WordTracker, Trellian) - Track organic conversions vs. paid conversions

Competitive Intelligence - HitWise - Trellian

KWP Expanders/Variations - Best /online / buy / cheap / discount / wholesale / accessories

Defend your band names/terms - highest converting (2x+) - easiest to rank for - misspellings, variations (locale, etc) - affiliates will target branded terms you miss - target more than one result - Universal - include on ranking reports - don't assume

In determining which kwps are most important to you, let your customers decide. Organically, it's not easy to determine the most important if you're not ranking somewhat for those terms in the first place. What I do is starting a paid campaign just to get data. In as little as 48 hours you can get very good impression data. Use exact [keyword] and broad match in setup. Set no daily limit and bid high enough to be on the first page. Monitor impressions and CTRs specific to your site.

When you're running this test, minimize impressions for "broad" terms. Buy both broad and exact so you can see both what people are searching for and what people are clicking on.

Look at the competitiveness of KWPs. Wordtracker exports popularity and competing sites. Try to the SEO Quake plug-in for FireFox, the SEO for FireFox plug-in.

Check the current ranking for a particular keyphrase. Even if you're already ranking for a term, that doesn't mean you shouldn't target it. It's much easier to improve your ranking for a term you're already ranking for, than ranking for a new term that you currently do not rank for at all.

What is Google Clustering? If you have 2 pages naturally listed from the same domain on the same SERP, then Google will cluster them together. Example: If you have #1 and #9, they will appear as #1 and #2 (indented). If you have #1 and #14, they will not be clustered because they do not appear on the same page. It's basically a freeride up several spots for the less high ranking result.

For your research, create a spreadsheet to organize all of the data you're collecting on each term and then use that to make educated choices. Also, when making your keyword phrase selections remember it's better to be a big fish in a small pond than to jump into a big pond as a small fish.

Also, consider targeting some keyphrases on two pages to take advantage of clustering.

In summary, let your customers decide which KWPs you should target. Let your PPC data steer your organic campaign. KWP research is much more than just KWP popularity.

Ryan Smith

API means "Application Programming Interface". It lets you get information directly from the search engines without having to strip out the HTML and it can greatly speed up and automate a lot of your KW research. It can help you generate lists of keywords found on your site. Suggests keywords, etc.

To write an API, you need to know a web scripting language like PHP, Ruby, Python, ASP/ASP.Net, or Perl. You need to know how to make Web Service API XML requests, or how to hack their example code. You might need to know a little reexp voodoo for parsing HTML results. You'll also need some type of database like MySQL, SQL Server, or even Google Gears.

So let's look at Keyword Rank Tracking...

Advanced Web Ranking XML Reports - Cheap, reliable, east to manage for small jobs. - Will use G/Y API keys if available. - Pulls keyword data via API's - Will use proxy servers - Harder to develop automation cs. Web APIs - Bad for automating large and numerous projects with multiple keyword groups.

Yahoo Web Search API is great. Windows Live Search API is also great. Google SOAP Search API is a great... oh wait, they canned that. So if you have a key you're golden. If not, you're screwed.

Matt Cutts said he's working on it. He's "talked to people at Google" and is advocating opening it back up so people can get new keys and don't have to buy them off of eBay. If you'd like to, write to [email protected] to sign my little petition.

The Search API got killed shortly after Google killed theirs.

Let's look at Web Harvesting...

Web harvesting violates the SE TOS; however, closing the API access violates the trust of developers, so as far as I'm concerned is it serves them right. Proxy Services allows you to prepay for 1 million proxy requests ($1,000), and runs CIA-style front companies who own IPs. They do regular blacklisting detection to rotate out bad IPs. If they have to, they completely kill off front companies and start new ones to get around blocks and blacklists. Cool, huh?

For auto keyword extraction you can use the Yahoo Term Extraction API, Keyword Extractor API, or ClickTracks API.

For search volume estimates, the overture keyword selector tool is slightly unreliable in terms of availability and tends to scramble search terms. The Google Trends API and Microsoft AdCenter APIs are good. WordTracker is cool, it's cheap. But I get a lot of zero results so I'm not exactly sure I can recommend it. is really the be-all end-all, but it's $500 a month. It's worth every cent though.

[Lots of links you should look at to get up to speed on search and click behaviors... see slides online at ]

Seth Wilde

[Seth's presentation was made in the newest version of PPT, and wasn't compatible with the presenting computer, so he had to give his presentation from memory]

The internal search on your site is a wealth of information. You should be regularly mining that data to see what keywords people are actively searching for once they're on your site.

Go to your competitor's sites. Look at their metadata, look at their title tags, etc. It should be relatively obvious what they're trying to rank for. Check to see what terms they're buying.

One word phrases might send you a ton of traffic, but they really don't convert well. It's better to get a 1000 hits with a 15% conversion rate than 10,000 hits with a 1.5% conversion rate.

General rule of thumb, one to three keywords per page. If you go for too many, you won't do well for any of them.

Constantly refine your keywords. It's not something you can do once and forget about it. As your site progresses, adjust as you grow.


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