Getting it Right with Keyword Research - Stukent Expert Session
with Perrin Carrell
• I work for Long Tail Media (NichePursuits.com)
• Manage a portfolio of Web properties
• I’m responsible for creating, acquiring and growing our sites
• Since I’ve come on, I’ve increased traffic 50%
• I also run my own business
• Including my flagship property, apennyshaved.com
• Took it from 0 to 50,000 visitors/mo
Keyword research is mission-critical for most of this stuff.
Modules for this lesson
• Keyword Research Overview & Business Case
• Analyzing the Competition & Good Keyword Metrics
• Research & Keyword Strategy
• Tools, Methodology & Live Examples
• PA (Page Authority): a metric created by Moz, which can be found on
Open Site Explorer. As far as we know, this is the most accuarate
measure of authority for any single page. Most of the time, we use
this metric instead of PR (Google Page Rank).
• DA (Domain Authority): same as PA but for the domain as a whole.
• SERPs: Search Engine Results Page, or the results you see in Google
after typing in a keyword
What is keyword research?
• First, what’s a keyword?
Not all keywords are created equal
• Some are more/less valuable
• Some are more/less difficult
• Some will yield more/less traffic
Keyword research is the process of finding a set of keywords that:
• Are possible (or easy) to rank for
• Will yield targeted traffic
• Will product some sort of ROI and/or drive an action
Quick Refesher on SEO
• SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the art of ranking for certain
keywords in google
• At its most basic level, that requires two things:
• Links pointing to your site from other sites
• Good content
Why is keyword research important?
• Makes everything else more powerful by reducing the required input
• Never-ending supply of ideas
• Puts a finger on the pulse of your competitors
Why is keyword research hard?
• Most people don’t understand it
• We don’t know enough about Google (and probably never will)
• It’s very subjective
• There’s a learning curve
Analyzing the Competition &
Good Keyword Metrics
Who is your competition?
• Not every website on the Web
• Not necessarily your business competitors
• Not every search result
Your competition is ONLY the top 10 results for any given keyword.
What makes a good keyword?
• KC (keyword competitiveness) under 35 – the lower the better
• Good balance between search volume and competitiveness
• Targets a specific type of visitor
• Worthy of a piece of content
• Already competitors in the SERPs (competition is good!)
• Very little SERP ‘lean’ unless your site fits the lean
What I like to see from competitors in the SERPs
• PAs below 35
• Fewer than 10 juice links
• Few exact-match titles
• Few root domains
• Relatively young pages
What kinds of keywords to target: The
incredible power of long-tails…
Should you go after one amazing keyword or a bunch of easier ones?
Go after the easy ones!
• The majority of traffic almost never comes from one, gigantic
keyword (they can even be a waste of time)
• A mature website typically gets over 90% of its traffic from long-tail
• The key, then, is to build a content strategy around long-tail keywords
• Target one or two big ones as a gamble, but don’t count on them
• Build a great set of keywords
Finding a primary target
• If you’re just starting a campaign, finding a primary keyword (or
several) is a good idea. You can even build a site around it.
• Benefit: It takes longer to find, but the reward is more traffic quicker
• What’s it look like?
• More volume
• Still low competition
• Very targeted question/problem/intent
• Those things are usually really hard to find all in one keyword… but
• Using modifiers can help you laser-target user intent
• Examples of informational modifiers
• Examples of eCommerce modifiers
• …For sale
The most important thing is to choose modifiers that jive with your
Merge your keywords with content!
• Your keyword strategy should be nearly inseparable from your
• If they don’t directly drive each other, they should at least be
informing each other
Examples of types of content strategies:
• 100% keyword-driven
• Mostly keyword-driven + problem-solving content
• 50% keyword-driven, 25% social, 25% industry news
• There are lots more!
Do you really need to use tools?
• Doing keyword research without tools takes 100x longer
• There are no free tools that do what you need
• And no, Google AdWords keyword tool won’t cut it!
My preferred tools
• Long Tail Pro
• SEM Rush
Here’s what they look like…
Remember, there are plenty of other tools out there!
Methodology 1: Long Tail Pro Brainstorm
Good for: finding primary keywords, finding a strong initial set of
• Brainstorm seed keywords
• Scout some good ones using the KC metric as a rough estimate
• Detailed analysis of the keywords that look promising
• Export and organize
Here’s an example…
Methodology 2: Long Tail Pro + SEM Rush
Good for: competitor keyword research, high-volume research, finding
stuff you would have never found otherwise
• Find several blogs/sites similar to yours (ideally your competitors)
• Plug them into SEM Rush & look at their positions
• Plug promising keywords into Long Tail Pro to do detailed analysis
Here’s an example of this one…
• What is the best way to separate search volume into intent? Example: knowing how many of
those searching for 'cat' are looking for animals vs. the industrial company.
• How can I identify search volumes for keyword queries on Amazon.com? How do these trends
differ from normal Google searches?
• Does keyword search provide insights on conversion rates too?
• High search volume is a positive thing when determining which keywords to target, but how do
you determine the searcher intent. We want paying customers!
• What is the methodology behind determining what keywords people will use to search for a
• What are the resources for a company that wants to engage in keyword research in order to
increase its website visits and what is the cost?
• How does the use of keywords help attracting the right kind of visitors?
• How do I optimally bring together my product benefits with the keyword rankings and how my
target searches for problem solutions?