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Competitive Keyword Intelligence for Search Marketing


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Learn how to collect intelligence for competitive keyword research and analysis in this detailed presentation from Larry Kim at the SEMPDX event.

Learn how to collect intelligence for competitive keyword research and analysis in this detailed presentation from Larry Kim at the SEMPDX event.

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  • 1. Competitive Intelligence in Search
    SEMPdxSearchFest: March 9, 2010
    Larry Kim, Founder, VP of Products, WordStream, Inc.
  • 2. Agenda: Competitive Intelligence in Search
    Gathering competitive intelligence (CI) for search marketing
    Interpreting CI data: Common pitfalls & misconceptions
    Suggested workflows for leveraging competitive intelligence data in paid & organic search
  • 3. Gathering CI Data: Plenty of Tools Available
    Alexa Search Analytics
    Google Keyword Tool
    Keyword Spy
    SEM Rush
    SpyFu (Mike’s company)
    WordStream (my company)
    … many others: too many to list out!
  • 4. Competitive Intelligence (CI) Data
  • 5. Interpreting CI data: Common pitfalls & misconceptions
    Wow. This is a TON of data!
    How do I interpret it?
    What should I do with all of this CI data?
    4 popular competitive intelligence blunders (and how to avoid them)!
  • 6. Competitive Intelligence Blunder #1
    Assuming your competitive intelligence data is relevant
    Never blindly assume what works for your competitors will work for you!
    Review the data, test it out and see for yourself.
    Repeat this process!
  • 7. Competitive Intelligence Blunder #2
    Too much analysis, not enough action!
    Don’t get overly hung up in analyzing CI data
    Ideally whatever CI data that you track is actionable (in a scalable way), and that your actions are data driven.
  • 8. Competitive Intelligence Blunder #3
    Mistaking estimated CI data for actual campaign data
    A PPC Example: Suppose CI data shows indicates that your desired target keyword has a high estimated competition and high average CPC
    Give up? Never!
    The actual CPC you pay in your campaign can be below average, depending on how well you structure your campaigns
    How? Focus on improving Quality Score!
  • 9.
    • Ad Rank = Bid * Quality Score
    • 10. Actual CPC = (Ad Rank to Beat/Quality Score) +$0.01
    • 11. Mary bids less than Tom but wins the top spot and pays just (16/10) + 0.01 = $1.61
    • 12. By improving Quality Score, Mary beat the average estimated CPC!
    How Estimated CPC is NOT the same as Actual CPC!
  • 13. How to Improve Quality Score
    Select specific keywords & negative keywords
    Group together closely related keywords
    Write relevant ad text and landing pages that speak to the intent of the searcher
    OK: Somewhat Related
    Awful: Too Broad!
    Better: Reflects Intent
  • 14. Estimated vs. Actual CI Data: Key Takeaway
    Don’t be deterred by unfavorable estimated CI data but rather take it under advisement.
    There are no set rules on how to interpret CI data
    Try to get a quick read on the true PPC or SEO competitive landscape by creating either an ad group (PPC) or content (SEO) and measuring the actual results.
  • 15. Competitive Intelligence Blunder #4:
    CI data is an important component of keyword research – should be used in addition to other keyword research tools
    Don’t forget to leverage your own Web analytics data to get a proprietary competitive advantage!
  • 16. The Problem with Keyword Tools
    Everyone Shares Same Keyword Data
    Keyword Tools
    How do you get a competitive advantage?
    How does a keyword tool know what’s relevant to your business?
  • 17. Use both CI Keyword Suggestions & Web Analytics Data
    Some of the BEST keyword opportunities come from your own web site.
    Successful Keyword Research integrates both Web analytics and Competitive Intelligence Keyword Tool data
  • 18. A workflow for using competitive intelligence data in PPC
    Assemble your keyword list (include CI data, keyword suggestion tool data, Web Analytics, etc.)
    Filter & organize your list into small keyword groupings of closely related keywords
    Building out themed ad groups & landing pages around your keyword clusters
    Get an read on actual PPC competitive landscape
  • 19. Workflow using Competitive Intelligence data for PPC
    Was your target PPC cost-per-action achieved?
    If YES:
    Mission accomplished. Move on to next keyword grouping.
    If NO:
    Try targeting sub-niches (long-tail keyword variations)
    Look for negative keywords to improve CTR
    Try out different bid strategies & match-types
    Ad text & landing page optimizations
  • 20. Targeting More-specific (Less Competitive) Keyword Niches
    • Typical “Head Term”
    • 21. Challenging from both a competitive PPC & SEO standpoint
  • Targeting More-specific Keyword Niches
    • Look for clusters of longer-tail variations
  • Finding sub-niches within a sub-niche
    • Group keywords by intent
  • Workflow for using Competitive Intelligence data in SEO
    Assemble keyword list (include CI data, keyword suggestion tool, Web Analytics, etc.)
    Filter & organize list into small keyword groupings of closely related keywords
    Try publishing a content page that targets your desired keyword
    Get a read on the actual SEO competitive landscape – how did your page end up ranking?
  • 22. Workflow using Competitive Intelligence data for SEO
    Google your target keyword.
    If your page is found on page 1:
    Great! Mission accomplished. Move on.
    If not found anywhere:
    Try working in long-tail keywords variations of your main keyword topic into your page copy
    Create content targeting more specific keyword niches.
    Do internal & external hyperlink building
  • 23. Competitive Intelligence for Search: Bonus Tip
    • Stop thinking of competitive intelligence in terms of individual keywords. Why?
    • 24. Wordstream’s internal keyword research consists of ~100k keywords – trying to track CI data on such a big list is a path to madness
    • 25. Tip: Instead try to break up your keyword research into categories/subcategories, then track CI data on a per-grouping basis.
    • 26. Target the “head terms”, exploit the “long tail”.
  • Competitive Intelligence in a Nutshell
    CI is important component of keyword research for PPC & SEO, but…
    Pick keywords relevant to YOUR site first, use CI to uncover possible gaps in your coverage or to help prioritize work
    Try not to get too mired in competitive intelligence data …
    Be Bold. Act. Don’t be deterred by challenging CI data – try it out, analyze, adjust your strategy (repeat).
  • 27. How I Use Competitive Intelligence
    Sizing up a competitor – where are they focusing their PPC & SEO efforts?
    How successful are they?
    Getting keyword & hyperlink ideas
    Stealing traffic / draining link equity
  • 28. For More Information, check out…
    The Ultimate Guide to Keyword Competitiveness –Tips from 35 Experts – Free!
    Todd Mintz (SEMpdx)
    Aaron Wall (SEOBook)
    Rand Fishkin (SEOMoz)
    Ann Smarty (Search Engine Journal)
    Many others!
    Free Keyword Niche Finder (WordStream)
  • 29. About WordStream
    A provider of keyword research & management solutions for PPC & SEO
    Tools for continuously discovering, filtering, organizing, analyzing and implementing campaigns based on your own keyword research.
    Your own, private hosted keyword research, plus integrated tools to help you understand and act on it.
  • 30. WordStream Keyword Management Tools
  • 31. Actionable PPC & SEO Tools
    Turn your organized keyword research into PPC ads or optimized SEO content.
  • 32. Spy on Competitor Keywords
  • 33. WordStream Negative Keyword Discovery Tools
  • 34. Thank you SEMPDX
    Thank you Search Engine Marketing Professionals of Portland!!
    Contact me:
    Twitter: @larrykim