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

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


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)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  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 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.


  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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *