Keyword Research: Beyond The Ordinary

March 2, 2010
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Okay, we’re about to hop in and talk keywords. Ready? Of course you are! Jennifer Laycock is moderating this one with speakers Christine Churchill, Alex Cohen, Cady Condyles, Stoney deGeyter, and Taylor Pratt.  I’m hoping Jennifer doesn’t start taunting me with pancakes again. She’s been talking about them for days because she knows I can’t eat them.  You know, and you think you’re friends with someone. ;)

Okay, it’s time to start.  I’m warming up my fingers, you put on your thinking caps. We have A LOT of speakers to get through so let’s go!

First up is Christine Churchill.

She talks about creating keyword calendars and pimps Outspoken’s post on editorial calendars (Thanks, Christine!) to help explain the idea.  Creating a keyword calendar helps you to plan out what you want to be covering so that you can take advantage of when rankings are at their peak.

Why use a keyword calendar?

  • Proactive planning
  • Pre-publish content
  • Allows you to react faster
  • Think strategically
  • Coordinate across media outlets – blogs, PPC, articles, SEO, graphics, videos, etc all working together

It doesn’t have to be real formal, just use Excel. Excel is your friend.  Break out different seasons or months. Identify seasonal, event or trend phrases. Develop separate keyword lists.

Tools for Keyword calendar

Google Real-Time Search: Will show you Google Trends for a term if you hit on one that happens to be popular.

Who Benefits from a Keyword Calendar?

Everyone in publishing! Knowing the best words to target can help you get the most out of published content.  Search marketers can use them in paid and organic campaigns. Content writers can put them in what they’re writing.  There are significant traffic opportunities on seasonal and event related phrases. Consider making seasonal content evergreen. Think ahead. Having content waiting in the wings makes you more responsive.

Next up is Taylor Pratt.

Taylor warns us that his presentation may attract zombies. And in the event of a zombie attack, here is how you kill one:

  1. Destroy the brain
  2. Decapitate
  3. Remove an arm
  4. Remove a leg

See all the fun things you learn at SMX? Bet you didn’t see that coming.

Analytics Insight

Abuse Custom Reports

You need to sent two Dimensions:

  1. Set “Dimension” to “Keyword”.
  2. Set “Sub Dimension” to desired time frame.

Reports to Run

  • Bounce Rate: Look at the things that are negative, not just what’s positive.
  • Exits
  • Goal completions
  • Goal abandonment funnels
  • Pageviews
  • Average time on site
  • Exits
  • Revenue (products and/or ads)

Taylor says to match your keywords with your landing pages.  This helps you to find the keywords that specific pages are already getting traffic from.  Are the keywords you are targeting sending traffic to the right pages?  Are those visits converting?  He says you can learn more at LunaMetrics blog.

How to do it:

Go down to Traffic Sources and highlight Keywords.  Then select Landing Pages from the drop down menu. When  you do, filter out branded keywords.

End Keyword Bias

We all have a keyword that we want to win. To prove to people that a keyword is working or not, export all your data and then black out each keyword so you’re just seeing the number.  This will force you to only look at the metrics and help you prove the value.

PPC Testing For Clicks:

Step 1: Identify potential keywords to target on each page (as many as you can).

Step 2: Identify conversion points and ensure they are set up.

Step 3: Set up broad match campaigns that direct traffic to each specific page on your site.  You should also consider running ads on AdWords Content Network.

Step 4: Analyze the data

PPC Testing – No Clicks

Goal: Spend very little and still collect data

Use “exact match” and “phrase match” campaigns

What you’ll get: More accurate impression numbers for the specific keywords you are considering targeting.

Tip: Make sure to run a Campaign Report with Impression Share IS and Exact Match IS for better accuracy. This gives you the percent of times your ad was shown vs overall impressions.

User Testing

When conducting user tests, ask these questions

  • How would you describe what this site sells?
  • What would you be looking for if you came to this site?
  • Have you ever been involved in a zombie attack? [Fine. I laughed. ]
  • What other products/services do you think you might sell?
  • How would you describe this product/service to a friend?
  • What would you expect to find on this particular page?

Other Opportunities;

  • Facebook Ad Testing
  • Twitter Search
  • Interviewing key stakeholders
  • Interview customer service reps and secretaries – they know language better than anyone because they’re the people talking to your customers.

His Favorite Trick

Abuse the Adwords tool! Go down to Web site content and instead of putting in your URL, use a different URL.

What URLs to Use?

  • Google Search results – Google will scan the results and tell you what keywords to focus on.
  • Wikipedia Pages
  • Amazon Product Pages
  • eBay Pages
  • Directory Pages

Next up is Stoney deGeyter.

When you do keyword research there are things you’re trying to discover about your audience:

  • Who are they?
  • What are they interested in?
  • What needs to they need met?

Not all the keywords you’ll get will be good.

  • Single keywords: They got a lot of volume but they’re not targeted. They rarely bring ROI.
  • Multi-word terms: Less search volume but the ROI and targeting is better.
  • Phrase variations: Use these once you have some keywords.
  • Localized: Geo-targeting improves conversions. Add geo-qualifiers.
  • Convertability: Just because people are searching for it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to get it to convert.
  • Search volume: Actively searched for.
  • Info Queries: Answers “about” type questions. Target these as secondary terms.

Visitor Search Cycle

The first time someone searches for something usually isn’t the last time they search for it. They learn to focus their queries. You want to make sure you’re targeting people for where they are in their search cycle. First, find all of the core terms. These are usually 2-3 word terms. They’re not too broad. Look through your site and pick the 2-3 words that that page is about. Get rid of all the additional qualifiers that you don’t need.

Map Out Content/Keywords

Once you have your lists, map them out through the site. Create a plan for your terms before you do the optimization. Figure out which keyword fits which page.

Qualifiers and Variations

Take your core term and add qualifiers to it.   Look for quality. what is the searcher looking for? What’s their intent? Consider trends.  Look for seasonal trends.

Organize For Performance

Figure out how to optimize. What is going to be the most achievable? Don’t go after the words that are the most difficult because you may not be able to get them ranked right away. Figure out what’s going to be the most profitable vs. what’s going to give you the quickest result.


Look at:

  1. Search Volume
  2. Target Audience
  3. Profit Margin
  4. Meet Demand

Segment Keywords

Decide if it’s a Research Keyword, Shopping Keyword, Buying Keyword or Informational? Group related qualifiers.

Next up is Alex Cohen, who I got to meet last night at the Meet and Greet. w00t! He rocks.

He thinks you should STOP doing keyword research.  You want to find the words that have the highest volume. But high volume brings high competition. You want to find the balance. The most interesting part of keyword research is intent – what’s the goal of the person searching?  Intent is what makes you money.

If you use tools like Keyword Tracker, they buy access to databases to gather the information. If you use WordStream, they buy their data from ISPs. There’s no cost or conversion data. None of these tools tell you if it’s worth your time to go after that keyword. He thinks you should focus on search queries.

A search query is a question. Your job is to figure out what questions you want to attract. Once you know, you have to use your bid to value those keywords. How much are you willing to pay to answer that question?

Where can you find search queries?

  • In Google & Microsoft: The Search Query Performance Report
  • Yahoo: Call your rep. Heh. Fail.

How can you use data to improve conversion

  1. Find the Biggest Leaks: He creates a report of all the search queries that haven’t generated a conversion or an assist for a particular time period. Gather the ones that aren’t generating profit and see if it makes sense to add them as negatives.
  2. Improve Keyword/Query/Text Ad Alignment: If you run the phrase ‘Porsche’, it’s going to attract a lot of searchers.  The result is gonna be a low clickthrough rate, low quality score, etc. Use the search query data to create separate ad groups. Then you can see where they’re going and make more educated decisions about how you spend your budget.
  3. Use this data to identify obviously bad grouping
  4. Promote your winners to exact match: Exact Match beats Phrase Match beats Broad Match.

Last up is Cady Condyles.

Use a product feed to create all permutations of:

  • Manufacturer
  • Category
  • Product Name
  • Color, size, material
  • SKU, model, catalog IDs,
  • Be sure to include common misspellings and synonyms for products

Product Specific Keyword Techniques

With a product feed, you can monitor new product additions for keyword opportunity. Use stock status and inventory to make bid adjustments.  If you know you average selling ten products in a given week, and you only have 5 left, maybe you should slow down on your bidding so you don’t run out.

For out of stock and backordered items: You may want to delete or lower the bids for these products. With good site suggestions, these terms might still convert.

What if you don’t have a product feed? Try Google Reader. You can add your new products page to GR and it will alert you to new products for keyword build-out

Common Mistakes

  • Using only automated lists
  • Putting long tail and product specific keywords on exact match
  • Deleting keywords for items that are out of stock
  • Using competitor term lists

Yowsa. That was a lot of information.  The Social Search session starts in just a few minutes so it’s time to run. Stay with us!

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