Dec 5, 2007 115 reads by Navneet Kaushal

Keywords are still the foundation that build all search marketing campaigns. This session will look at researching and developing a killer keyword list for a site or special project. It will also look at tools available to automate the task of finding keywords and phrases.


  • Christine Churchill


Moderator Christine Churchill, kicks off the discussion stating the importance of keyword research and how if this is done well, the rest of SEO will go well.

First speaker of the day is Ken Jurina, President, Epiar Inc. Ken says he's certain he's at the right place as the carpet has mouse patterns. Heh heh.

What exactly is keyword research and how should it be done?

  • Used to data-mine possible keyword search behavior around the hundreds of phrases from manifold sources.
  • Get rid of skewed results such as inconsistencies, non-seasonal irregularities, and clear-cut data errors.
  • Pinpoint core relevance or non-relevance of potential phrases based on demographics, geography and other ad-targeting parameters.

Uses of Advanced Keyword Research

  • Business Research: Use it to research products, competitive intelligence.
  • Social Research: Political issues, publish topics, celebrity branding.
  • Brand Equity: Select relevant words for your core. If you 'sell t.v. sets, find out which models are popular.

What are people looking for?

  • New Product Ideas: Find out what are people want? This opens many new opportunities.
  • Consumer Feedback: Find out what users are saying, problems they face,, parts they are seeking for, service problems & issues.
  • Celebrity Brand: Find PR issues.

Ken shows a case study of a music store.


The client has a store selling brick and mortar music equipments. Online presence is almost nil.

After some keyword research, they learned people wanted new product lines, there was a gap for a new vertical, demands changed seasonally, including searches for discontinued products.


Sales reach $90,000 from virtually nothing. Big rankings on over 85 percent of key phrases.

Conducting Advanced Keyword Research:

Use multiple sources – WordTracker and Trellian. Find out keyword difficulty based on search in Google which will tell you how big the competition is. Ken pinpoints keyword research tools offered by SEOmoz, We Build Pages and Trellian.

Free Keyword Research Tools

Google Trends: Shows useful comparative data on keyword phrases. Results break it down depending on geography, date range, language while also finding news stories based on trend. Google Trends give you the option of seeing search results chronologically. Find peaks and valleys.

Microsoft adCenter: Good for keyword forecast, demographic prediction etc .

The panel's second speaker is Larry Mersman, Vice President, Trellian who is herre with a case study for

Larry says that keyword research is all about identifying keywords and phrases that your customers use to find your site, business, its products or services.

This site was optimized for 'finest beer in Germany online.' after some research, they found that the search phrase (German beer) had a big number of searches performed. What they did next was, update their content. This resulted in a 200% hike in sales.

  • Keyword Discovery Phrase: Create your keywords list, including misspellings, typos etc.
  • Evaluation Phrase: Organize your your keyword list in such a way that more significant terms and phrases get more attention.
  • Implementation: Use the terms on your site.
  • Optimization and Performance Tuning: Tweak your content accordingly.

Create lists based on brainstorming, finding out what your competitors are using, go through what your customers say, use log files and also from keyword generators.

Keyword research should be used to find relevant search phrases and words, recognize potential spellings and misspellings, find out the search phrases and terms your competitors find significant etc. Always keep track of what your competitors are using.

Wil Reynolds, Founder, SEER Interactive, is up for an interactive discussion. He starts by asking the audience to write down a few keywords for the images he has running on the projector. After which, he asks everyone to read out their keywords. Moral of the story: Everyone uses different keywords and search phrases.

The best way to stay in business is to buy your own product. To this effect, he uses a Mercedes. Apparently, the German car company do not like to call their pre-owned cars as used. However, this is the term that search engine users type. To overcome this dilemma, Wil had to do some keyword research.

Selecting wrong keywords is detrimental to your career. Further, Wil mentions a few companies who were replaced when their keywords didn't evolve. Some of the comparisons he made were of:

  • Tabloid vs Perez Hilton
  • Home Depot vs Tim the builder
  • Business 2.0 vs TechCrunch
  • AAA vs Mapquest vs Google Maps

Wil's Favourite tools for keyword selection and research

MSN adLabs' Search Funnel: This site tells you what users look for or go to after they type in your keyword. Wil thinks it's the best tool to find intent though it still lacks data. Nevertheless, it's best for broader and bigger terms rather than small and niched items.

AdLabs: Focus on broader search, keep a check on updates, drill down.

Yahoo! Suggest: Wil finds this better than Google's. How it differs from Google is that, Yahoo! Suggest doesn't bring up suggestions based on the first four letters like how Google does.

Up next is Stoney deGeyter, from Pole Position Marketing who will throw some light on gathering, sorting and organizing keywords for an SEO campaign. These he divides into three phases.

Phase 1. Gathering Keywords.

Find out what your campaign's core terms are. Core terms are unique, 2-3 search phrases that appropriately present the focus of any webpage on your site. While findign out your core terms research, you have to take time and think of ideas. Think about your site, find its meta tags, log files, content, link structure to reach core terms. Stoney recommends using keyword research tools.

Sort out the search phrases/core terms on the basis of which are significant to you. Ask yourself which terms will help your target audience, what are users using to get to your page, which products & services brings you most benefits, which are the keywords/ terms/ search phrases that have the most volume.

The next step is to study the phrases that stands for those phrases. All in all, it's your core search terms. Don't over-do anything. You will probably end up with hundreds and thousands of search phrase results. Do the analysis later.

Phase 2: Sorting & Selecting

Keep the keywords you know will help in converting visitors and users into consumers. These keywords should be able to pull your customers in. also, the search phrase should directly represent your content and not be relevant for someone else's. Search phrases should be specific and not too broad. Leave the info queries for later.

Study the search volume of the phrases. Aggressively search for keywords both long tail and short tail. If they convert visitors then optimize them. If it's too short then there will be no conversions. Rule of thumb says two-four words query is more than enough.

Phrase 3: Organizing Process

  1. Find out the intentions of the search engine user and divide terms appropriately. Ar the terms you are using for research, purchase or buying.
  2. Recognize key pages. Decide which webpages are best suited for which kind of keywords. Each page of the site has an exclusive purpose. If more pages are require, build them.
  3. Collect groups based on same underlying theme. For eg: You cannot put 'elegant' and 'cheap' together.

Last speaker for this discussion is Natala Menezes, Product Manager, Microsoft adCenter. She starts off by talking about some initiative going on in adCenter. People at adCenter want users to gain easy access to real information and simple to use tools. Here, she brings up the Keyword Service Platform. This is the holy grail for keyword information. Algorithms to extrapolate new terms from a set, define categorical relationships. Access to real data. Developmental platform. Apparently, adCenter has a team of industry experts who help and guide them with their own personal insight.

Better Together: adCenter + Excel 2007. These two created an application using the Excel platform as they know that search marketers spent a lot of time using the software. Natala states that keyword research is not so much about 'cut and paste' nor do you have to be an Excel or search engine optimization master as these aim at keyword research, forecast etc. Natala runs through the better together tool.

Hence, the panel comes to an end.

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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