Aug 20, 2010 113 reads by Navneet Kaushal

The topic for the fourth session of the day was “Advanced Keyword Search.” the agenda of the session was “How to target keywords in a proper manner using better tools and techniques, to get better ROI.”



Ron initiated the session and he talked about the importance of keyword research, the role of keyword research and how it works with different campaigns and the methods that work for any campaign.

Keyword research is crucial because it is the fundamental building block of Web content, SEO, PPC and social media, said Ron. If wrong words are picked, a significant amount of resources are wasted. There is less possibility to reach the target audience. The main goal is to pick keywords that provide the premium value. The key is to understand that the most popular may not be the best one. So, performance goals are needed to be established to get the most out of the keywords.

Keyword relevance is another vital thing across the board, emphasized Ron. It is important to have keyword relevancy across PPC, SEO and social, so as to have a constant flow of messages to visitors and search engines. Also, important is to understand what the audience wants. Speaking to the audience in the language, that is comprehendable by the audience is also necessary, pointed Ron.

How many terms should be targeted?

It is the million-dollar question. In SEO, the need is to think in terms of group or individual Web pages, not the whole site. 1 to 3 keywords per page is a good number to target. Moreover, the requirement is to use core or foundational keywords. In case of PPC, as many keywords can be used and for social media it depends upon the conversations that take place.

Should the strategy be broad or narrow?

Which is better long-tail or short-tail? Branding or acquisition strategy. The would primarily depend according to how the approach is towards research. Comparing phrases, like a single word broad term vs. a slightly more focused term is critical. The broader terms may get a lot of traffic, but are likely to have a lower conversion rate. On the other hand, a focused term is the one that a user will type-in, who is ready to buy. It may get low traffic numbers but the conversion rate is high. Besides this, seasonality, economic and social trends, holidays, events should be considered, while doing keyword research.

Use of a spreadsheet and brainstorming session can be used initially for finding resources. Also, Use of brochures, company catalog, analytics, competitor sites, magazines and trade journals can be of help. Competitive analysis is a good resource said Ron, because it gives a fair idea, what the competitor is up to. Social media and blogs also can be good source for keyword research.

Some sites to do some competitive research with:


Finally, he said, the point is to refine the list of keywords with keeping parameters like relevancy, competition, popularity and specificity. PPC is a great tool to test them before doing SEO with those keywords.

Stacie was next, who talked about tools that help in keyword research.

Stacie gave three-step process to determine keyword targets for search:

  1. Understand your customer
  2. Gap analysis (theme)
  3. Ongoing maintenance

To get an understanding of the consumer, basic level research on demographics can be done and to do, this are some tools:

  • Quantcast

Gives a high level summary of a site

  • Microsoft adCenter

URL or keyword give demographic information

  • Google Insights for Search

Can be used to determine where consumers come from Fee-based tools:

  • comScore

Gives information about consumer location (home vs. work)

  • Hitwise

Ideally, investing in a CRM system is apt, only if the company can afford it, said Stacie. According to her, Google Insights for Search is quite a good tool to know when people are searching. However, it is also important to know, when the conversations are happening. Stacie said, she uses Google Ad Planner, to know what sites the target group frequently visits. Similarly, comScore helps to specify, what sites are also visited before and after a target site. After, going through all the data, a personality of the target segment can be defined using – age, salary, martial status, education and living situation. This makes it easier while selecting keywords.

Moving onto Gap Analysis, Stacie recommended, using word clouds further help to refine categories and structure. She also recommended constant monitoring for ongoing maintenance. Also, use of actual keyword performance from analytics or PPC reports can be a better choice.

Aaron Lauper from Bing was the next speaker. He spoke about 6 core principles that he uses.

Six core principles for PPC:

  • Flipping switches vs. adjusting dials – According to him, it is not essentially about the longest list of keywords, it is more about dialing-in on the right keywords
  • Planting seeds vs. gardening and weeding – There has to be a balance, to not only do the research but to maintain the list as well.
  • Total cost vs. cost per click – There is need to consider optimizing issue, complexity issue and manageability issue.
  • Ratio of landing pages: # of keywords – The keywords must be relevant to the landing page.
  • Words and user intent – Key is to understand the user’s intent and the keywords need to reflect that. If the user’s intent is captured, then some valuable keywords can be known.
  • Sandbox Performance View vs. the Holistic Performance View – Testing keywords is the major requirement.

Wister Walcott was the final speaker of the session. He covered keyword tips and techniques for large scale PPC programs. He talked about how large advertisers face unique problems, such as, in the case of the volume of keywords that make analysis and management difficult. Keyword building is a continuous process for positive and negative keywords, said Wister. In his opinion, quality score is a vital element in competitive marketplaces.

4 sample techniques:

  • Impression fraud and negative keywords
  • Isolate keyword match types for improved measurement and QS
  • Generating keywords from a product catalog
  • Get keyword set ready for the Yahoo! and Bing transition

Wister believes, use of negative keywords can be a powerful thing in PPC. The negative keywords help in improving quality score and positioning of a PPC campaign.


  • Need for complete research for keywords
  • Understanding the user personality is the key of the matter
Advanced Keyword Research - SES San Francisco 2010, Day 3, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal
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