Keyword Research Tools & Techniques

Feb 27, 2008 - 6:06 pm 2 by
Filed Under SMX West 2008
Speaker Christine Churchill of

Moderator Detlev Johnson, Search Return

What is keyword research?  The processes of selecting keywords which are relevant to your site and are used by potential customers as query terms.  Keyword research for paid and SEO are done differently.

Find new concepts by using keyword terms when looking for keywords

There are 3 stages of keyword research, start with brainstorming.

Keyword brainstorming and discovery phase using multiple sources and tools

Brainstorming.  When brainstorming, don't judge your words, goal is to cast your net widely and generate broad list.  Use keywords the market is already using, look at printed collateral and website for clues on keywords.  Use their site search box from the web site;  give insight to the number of words being used as well as the word themselves.  You can follow a visitor's path and see if the site is converting.

Traditional print.  Look at online and traditional print magazine, company and product reviews as well as online thesaurus

Interviews.  Learn the lingo of your customers, conduct interviews with customers  and focus groups look for targeted keywords.  Talk to the support and customer service people and ask what they're hearing.

Forums.  Review discussion forums and blogs, how are they talking about products and what are they calling them.

Competitors.  Create keyword lists by using diverse sources such as looking at your competitors, review their sites and their print collateral as well as their keyword buys

Log files.  Look at your log files, captures the exact phrase of what searchers have entered.  Look at single words not just the phrases, people using single words are associating single words with a phrase.

Keyword Research Tools

There are many many tools out there.  A few…Word tracker, Trellian Keyword Discovery, Yahoo (Overture)  Keyword tool, Google keyword tool, etc .

Wordtracker is the granddaddy of search tools, data is pulled from meta search engines, eliminates most  skewing issues caused by robots, differentiates between singular and plural, does have a free trial

When you look at tools, don't go by the numbers.  Look at the overall trend, run your phrases through multiple tools look for trends.

Keyword discovery - pulls from multiple databases (global premium, historical global, international, news, and bay) Provides seasonal data and a suite of tools that takes misspellings, fuzzy and related words into account. It is easy to import and export data.

Yahoo Overture Keyword Tool - not updating the database at the moment.  Still a nice quick tool to go to  look for trends.  Doesn't do misspellings, or plural/singular.  Good for quick brainstorming.

The Google keyword tool is free.  or in your Adwords account.  Google webmaster tools are good for diagnostics on a website.

MSN adcenter tools does a good job coming up with tools, early in development, getting better.  Search funnel shows what searches happened first and what searche  n                                      bb                                                          s happened later.  Higher level viewpoint of what's happening to keyword.  Also give demographic predications, can tell you if it's men or women.

Vivisimo (Clusty)  Clustering search engines provides clustered results.  Ask does this as well

Quintura  not real well known but allows you to navigate by  clouds.

Google trends allow you to compare popular phrases.  Monitor trends using it by phrase, city and brand

Google hot trends shows hottest current search in close to real time.

SEOBook has a great suggestion tool - good tool to use.

MSN ad intelligence a plug in for excel 2007  data source and Adcenter, provides related keywords, extracts keywords from a URL givens insights on seasonal spikey keywords  shows geographic and demographic info on keywords.  Must have MSN account.

Technorati - is good for brainstorming terms shows related tag searches.  Also gives hot topics

Take the list of words you have and expand them by targeting variations of your keywords, apply actions to the keywords.

Seobook permutation tool

How do you know if a phrase is worth keeping on your keyword list?  It has to be relevant.  If the term isn't relevant to your site, drop it.  Is the term popular?  Is it an overrated popular term?  Wildly competitive term?  If yes, it might not be worth pursuing.  A less popular term may convert and provide higher conversions.

Try to get inside your searchers head and figure out what makes a person search for a phrase.    Searches are tied to stages of the buying cycle, there are stages of buying:

Problem recognition, information search, select alternatives, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision.    You can tell, depending on the phrase they searched on - where in the buying cycle the person was when he used the site search tool.

People search in three ways:  Navigational, informational, transaction.

Another way to evaluate terms is by competition.  You need to see how active the competitors are within the same marketing environment are they doing ppc, how much are the bids?  How optimized are their sites, look at linkage data and the anchor text they're using

Competitive intelligence tools to use:  Hitwise Comscore, Trellian's competitive intelligence tool, Spyfu, Keycompete, Keywordspy, Adgooroo, Keyword Analyzer

Once you've picked your terms, looked them over and done the research, it's time to do the test.

What are the performance considerations before picking keywords?  Run them through ppc before SEO'ing the sites.    Track the performance of the ppc campaign; use Google analytics if you can't pay.

Remember is not about the keywords you want to be found for, it's about the keywords the end user uses to find you.

The success to you search campaign depends on good keywords

Keyword selection takes time and is an ongoing activity

Don't use popularity as the only criteria

Get feedback.  And it a term isn't working - change it!

Contributed by Debra Mastaler from Alliance-Link.

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