SES Chicago: Search Term Research & Targeting

Filed in Conferences/Educ., SEO by Matt McGee on December 4, 2006 4 Comments

SES ChicagoMy notes from the Monday, 10:30 am session on “Search Term Research & Targeting”

Christine Churchill, KeyRelevance

Keyword research: not about the keywords you want to be found on; it’s about the keywords the end user uses to find you.

Keyword Discovery Sources
– brainstorming; don’t judge words at this stage; cast a wide net
– lists from within company; print brochures, press releases (watch for insider lingo)
– online and print magazines
– company and product reviews
– log files; exact phrases, but only shows what’s currently working
– Google Webmaster Central – tells what search queries return your site
– site search box
– online thesaurus
– competitors; careful, because they may be wrong

Learn the Lingo of Your Customer
– customer interviews, surveys, etc.; “CD duplicator” vs. “CD burner”
– talk to sales people
– blogs, message boards, etc.

Keyword Tools

WordTracker
Overture (lumps singular and plural together)
Google Keyword Tool – offers “site related keywords”)
Keyword Discovery – new premium database
NicheBot
Google Webmaster Central
GoodKeywords.com
SEObook.com Keyword Tool

Evaluating Keywords

1) Relevancy
2) Popularity – overrated; popular terms may not be realistic
3) User Intent – are they buying or browsing?

Search Behavior – three types
Navigational, Information, Transactional

4) Competition – how active are your competitors; tools include HitWise, comScore, Trellian, AdGooRoo, SEOmoz Keyword Difficulty Tool, Keyword Analyzer
5) Performance Considerations – use PPC to test keywords; gives you real data to use for organic SEO

Home vs Internal Pages

Home — use main phrases; hardest phrases might work here, but don’t try to cover everything
Internal — pick specific words for each page

Dan Thies, SEO Research Labs

Complex terms are rarely used more than simpler terms.

Evaluating Relevance

* Some terms have multiple meanings; i.e. – “windows”.
* Be careful with generic search terms; i.e. – “brake repair” by itself is probably a search for information; add a city name and it’s a search for services.
* What % of searchers want what you have?
– “weighted popularity” — # of searches x relevance% = weighted popularity
* Quality traffic depends on relevance

The PPC Metric
* a term is competitive, or will be, if there’s PPC competition
* PPC bids can define value of a top ranking
* click-thru rate is key indicator of relevance

Entry & Landing Pages
* map your SEO & content strategy to the visitor; where do you want to take them?
* don’t optimize home page for sub-page terms
* your goal – get the visitor closer to THEIR goal

Keyword Modifiers – one of the best ways to expand your keyword list
“cheap” web hosting; “PHP web hosting”

Q&A

Christine: Don’t put misspellings into content; put it in the keywords tag
Dan: a glossary page can list all the misspellings, and the misspelling can link to the page where the content is

Christine: keyword in URL is a small factor, but there are many more important things
Dan: keyword in URL is a factor in retrieval mostly

[tags]seschicago06, seo, keyword research[/tags]

Comments (4)

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  1. robstroy says:

    Attending SES conferences is a good way to learn more strategies about SEO and I am looking forward to have the opportunity to attend even once someday. But America is such another world from me, so I only get some ideas thru reading articles like this and SEO forums.

    I learned a lot about how and why keywords are important in SE and to your online business through this. and also used wordtracker, KeywordDDiscovery, overture and google adwords. But there are a huge competitions in the web. So, I tried keywordspy.com which gives me an opportunity to immediately track down my competitors and gather keywords for the promotional campaign of my Blog.

    What can you suggest about this tool? since I rarely seen comments about this tool because it is just launched this year and it is not that popular yet for a beginner like me to acknowledge its usefulness.

    Cheers,
    Rob

  2. Matt McGee says:

    Hi robstroy – welcome, and thanks for your first comment. I’m not familiar with the site/tool you mentioned. If I get time, I’ll have a look and post about it.

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