Keywords, Keywords, Everywhere! Discovery, Analysis, and Strategies in Keyword Research


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One of the most critical skills a search marketer learns is keyword analysis – it’s how we “listen” to the search demand and semantic nuances of the digital population. While this free webinar focuses primarily on keyword strategy for SEO, the lessons are applicable to social media, PR and search advertising. We cover the basics of how to do a simple keyword analysis for websites, as well as how to prepare a seasonal keyword calendar for public relations activities and link building. All skill levels.

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Keywords, Keywords, Everywhere! Discovery, Analysis, and Strategies in Keyword Research

  1. 1. SEMPO’s Sponsors & Donor Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  2. 2. Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization Keywords, Keywords, Everywhere! Discovery, Analysis, and Strategies in Keyword Research December 10, 2009 Presented by: Dana Todd, Co-founder of SEMPO; CMO of Newsforce, Inc.
  3. 3. Quick slide: Definitions <ul><li>Keyword (KW) – represents words, phrases, and numbers that might be searched for by a person </li></ul><ul><li>Head/Tail terms – Refers to the “long tail” effect in marketing. Typically tail terms are longer phrases that have less traffic than head terms but the conversion rate is assumed to be very high, as searchers often land exactly on what they are looking for </li></ul><ul><li>CTR – click thru rate </li></ul><ul><li>CPC – cost per click </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  4. 4. “ The Long Tail” Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  5. 5. Successful Keyword Masters are… <ul><li>Good listeners </li></ul><ul><li>Creative </li></ul><ul><li>Organized </li></ul><ul><li>Detail-oriented </li></ul><ul><li>Diligent </li></ul><ul><li>Constantly revisiting assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>Helpful skills: Excel spreadsheet wiz – and if you can make databases in Access or other program, even better! </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  6. 6. <ul><li>High Level: Strategies </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization <ul><li>SEO keyword strategies </li></ul><ul><li>PPC keyword strategies </li></ul><ul><li>PR keyword strategies </li></ul>
  7. 7. SEO keyword strategies <ul><li>Hardest part is not keyword discovery – it’s PRIORITIZATION </li></ul><ul><li>Approach depends on your business model and resources </li></ul><ul><li>Most SEOs target tail terms, but hope for head terms </li></ul><ul><li>Requires the highest level of multi-department cooperation and agreement </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  8. 8. Factors to consider in SEO keyword targets: <ul><li>Value of product or service associated (profit margin, upsell opportunity, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Competition (go head to head? Or target holes?) </li></ul><ul><li>Relevancy (do you really qualify for this phrase? Really?) </li></ul><ul><li>Broad vs. narrow </li></ul><ul><li>Local vs. national/global </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  9. 9. PPC Keyword Strategies <ul><li>Know how you’ll manage KWs before you make final selections/investments </li></ul><ul><li>Budget often impacts strategy most </li></ul><ul><li>How many? Depends on your business model and available resources </li></ul><ul><li>Use as testing ground for SEO KWs </li></ul><ul><li>Can get complex in large organizations (Who owns what terms?) </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  10. 10. Factors to consider in PPC keyword targets: <ul><li>Critical to have good tracking in place </li></ul><ul><li>Critical to know your margins and pain threshold for CPA </li></ul><ul><li>More KWs is typically better (long tail), but not always </li></ul><ul><li>Branded terms – buy or not? </li></ul><ul><li>Potentially different strategy for each search engine </li></ul><ul><li>Different age groups and regions may use different vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>Irrelevance will ultimately cost you more money </li></ul><ul><li>Always mine your analytics to keep feeding this list </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  11. 11. PR Keyword Strategies <ul><li>Coincide with PR and promotional calendar </li></ul><ul><li>Search terms should influence PR strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Need baseline, seasonal and breaking news (realtime) KWs </li></ul><ul><li>These will be used in press releases, social media and article marketing </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  12. 12. Factors to consider in PR keyword targets: <ul><li>Short life span for most KWs in news search </li></ul><ul><li>Can only optimize for 2-3 KWs in most news articles/releases </li></ul><ul><li>Competition can be fierce in News, and ranking algorithms aren’t that sophisticated yet </li></ul><ul><li>Social media is often better resource than Google for real-time KW research </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  13. 13. <ul><li>Now, the nitty gritty… </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  14. 14. Discovery Phase Approaches <ul><li>Good : Find lots of keywords using various tools, and put them in a big multi-tab spreadsheet with various data points such as search volume, competition and PPC price to sort and prioritize </li></ul><ul><li>Better : Use a robust tool or build a database to allow for more flexible analysis and organization </li></ul><ul><li>Best : Let your strategies guide your research and discovery, use one or both of the above, AND create a perpetual feedback loop to refine constantly </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  15. 15. One Strategy: Asset Expansion <ul><li>Good for new projects, but also a good exercise for anyone as a “checkup” </li></ul><ul><li>Start with where you are now – not just in terms of ranking reports for your top terms, but “Who does Google think I am right now?” </li></ul><ul><li>Your strategy is to expand, and to correct misconceptions! </li></ul><ul><li>Free and fairly easy: use to export a report showing suggested PPC keywords mapped to specific URLs </li></ul><ul><li>There are lots of other keyword extraction tools, some of which can add semantic suggestions (e.g. Calais, Digger) </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  16. 16. Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization If there are no suggestions for your URL – you’re in trouble! Export
  17. 17. Look for Opportunities and Challenges Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization This company doesn’t sell hearing aids – oops!
  18. 18. Other Creative Discovery Methods <ul><li>Customer “search focus groups” (by email and phone both) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask them not just what nouns describe your product, but also what were the last 5 problems they were trying to solve using search engines? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>, for Youth and slang terms </li></ul><ul><li>Your mom, cabbies, and the neighbor </li></ul><ul><li>Use keyword extraction tools on trade journal, forums or vertical news pages </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  19. 19. Competitive KW Discovery <ul><li>This is where PPC and social media tools come in handy, along with specific competitive KW tools </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of “spy” tools: Spyfu, KeywordSpy, Trellian, KeywordCompetitor </li></ul><ul><li>Competition shouldn’t be your main focus, but it’s an obvious place to start adding to your list </li></ul><ul><li>Warning: the more “enterprise” your company/competition, the more likely it’ll be a mess to sort through </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization Keyword
  20. 20. Social Media Monitoring <ul><li>Use social media monitoring tools to “listen” for your industry terms, your brand and your competition’s brand names </li></ul><ul><li>Pull keywords for PR campaigns </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Always have “crisis content” ready to attach to negative terms and hashtags on social media </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mine for new PPC KWs </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  21. 21. Example Keyword Management Tool Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization WordStream Explorer shown above. WebCEO and other paid SEO/PPC tools also facilitate keyword grouping.
  22. 22. How to Prioritize <ul><li>Remove incorrect stuff and “wishful thinking” stuff </li></ul><ul><li>Put aside any KW with less than 50 monthly searches </li></ul><ul><li>Group remainder into main “buckets” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>not super granular at this point </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>add columns or database field so you can easily sort </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Add custom data so that the list becomes more meaningful to you: high profit margin, product groups, seasonal, CEO’s favorite, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Assign numerical values to the above and you’ll see patterns and priorities emerge </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  23. 23. Example Organization Spreadsheet Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization SE Analyst report from Position Research
  24. 24. Common Strategies <ul><li>SEO: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you have very limited resources and can’t make lots of content, focus on less than 100 KWs (mixture of head and tail terms) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decent budget, love to make content? Target more KWs and try to find expansion points like “local” to build around </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remember, if you target a KW, it has to be somewhere visible either on your site or in an inbound link </li></ul></ul><ul><li>PPC: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Long tail is your friend, even if you have a small budget </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Start large, then cull quickly before your Quality Score is affected </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>BUT, if you are very limited in time/resources, don’t start large – start small and expand as you learn what’s profitable </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Run the math before you pay for clicks (predict ROI scenarios), and drop any KW that will not bring profit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negative KW discovery every week or month </li></ul></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  25. 25. <ul><li>How to Make a PR Keyword Calendar </li></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  26. 26. Step 1: Start Old School <ul><li>Editorial calendars are a goldmine of predictive intel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assemble 12-20 of the print pubs that your audience(s) read most </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Look online for their editorial calendars, or request one from an ad sales rep </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some online-only sites also issue editorial calendars </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Look at terminology used by writers in print and online </li></ul><ul><li>Writers will be researching 60-90 days in advance of print deadlines </li></ul>
  27. 27. Sample Editorial Calendar: eWeek Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  28. 28. Why This Step? <ul><li>Opportunities to reach out to journalists ahead of time </li></ul><ul><li>Predicting upcoming topic bubbles that will influence search </li></ul><ul><li>Finding gaps where there’s little competition in the News space </li></ul>
  29. 29. Look for Commonalities <ul><li>Map potential topics in a spreadsheet </li></ul><ul><li>Look for: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Alignments (more than 3 pubs on same topic in same month) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Topics where you have a potential tie-in </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gaps compared to Google Trends </li></ul></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Step 2: Google Trends Although most sales of Florida real estate occur in Q3, and that’s where most ad dollars are spent in print, the “search season” is actually Q1! Bonus: there’s very little news competition! Opportunity: heavy search activity in Q1, but most of the news competition in is Q3 and Q4
  31. 31. Opportunity: Search Spikes Breast Cancer Awareness Month causes search spiking, but also lots of news coverage. Potential tactic: release multiple stories w/multi-channel coverage (YouTube video, text, etc.)
  32. 32. Step 3: Add SEO Baseline KWs <ul><li>Go back to your SEO priorities list </li></ul><ul><li>Include 1-2 baseline targets in every release as a best practice (can put them in boilerplate) </li></ul><ul><li>Remember, PR KWs must be visible in the </li></ul><ul><li>press release or article, so get legal/CEO approval </li></ul><ul><li>on the entire list upfront! </li></ul>
  33. 33. Step 4: Opportunistic or Responsive KWs <ul><li>Listen for rising opportunities to grab some search traffic! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social media (Twitter, Facebook) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Daily news </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yahoo Buzz </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Note: you may want to do a “140 character press release” (Twitter) and/or blog post instead of a full news release </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google’s new “real time search” includes relevant Tweets </li></ul></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  34. 34. Calendar Your Targets   Aug-09 Sep-09 Oct-09 Nov-09 Dec-09 Baseline KWs key opinion leader pharmaceutical marketing research social networking analysis software key opinion leader profiles pharmaceutical market research social network analysis influence mapping social network visualization marketing segmentation analysis advocacy continuum Editorial Opp KW KOL Knowledge Leaders breast cancer lymphoma clinical trials PharmaMed Marketing breast cancer research lymphoma cancer Trending KW Managed healthcare
  35. 35. Real Outcome: SEO Impact, Business Impact After 60 days and only 2 releases with paid wire service distribution. Previously had very little visibility in Yahoo and Bing. Lost some positions in Google but gained others. They noticed a measurable increase in qualified leads as well.
  36. 36. <ul><li>Thank You! </li></ul><ul><li>Questions? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization
  37. 37. Question and Answer Join SEMPO today at SEMPO, Inc. 401 Edgewater Place, Suite 600 Wakefield, Massachusetts 01880 +1 781.876.8866 [email_address]