Keyword Research “Ninja” Tactics – SMX 2011

Keyword Research “Ninja” Tactics – SMX 2011

17th May 2011

Good morning again folks. Here with Christine Churchill of Key Relevance, Rich Baxter of SEOgadget,  Lasse Clarke Storgaard of MediaCom Denmark and Kev Gibbons of SEOptimise. Really excited for this panel as it was one that I spoke on last year and I think they may even have been paying homage to the title of my presentation (though I take little pride in the “ninja” term a year later :)).

Should be really good and hopefully some exciting tips to come out of this one!

Top tips from Christine

1. There are lots of tools out there. The free ones are largely from Google (Keyword Tool, Wembaster Tools, Content Targeting, Insights, Trends) as well as adCenter Labs Tools and adCenter add-in for Excel.

2. Paid tools offer a whole suite of tool rather than the traditional free tools.

3. Make sure you’re using Google Instant results and suggest and pulling this into your research.

4. Check out for suggestions from different perspectives.

Top tips from Rich

1. The problem with keyword data is it is a bit of a jumble. You should try to group keywords together so that they make some sort of sense. Group and identify segments to construct new types of keywords.

2. First step is about coming to terms with the long tail. We can categorise this in such a way to create great charts.

3. Understand the following Excel queries (FIND(), ISERROR() and NOT()). These queries will allow us to find markers and keywords that tell us that a keyword belongs to a group.

4. To do this you start by creating a table in Excel with keyword types (e.g. colour, model). You then look at this using an array formula that allows excel to look beyond just a row and will look across an entire column to check for certain keyphrases. The query is {=NOT(ISERROR(FIND([Keyword – Types],$a2)))} in the example Richard gave. His deck will be available after the presentation to see how to put this into action.

5. The end result lets us see keywords that belong to a group and lets us make a decision about how to create content groups and structure our content on a website.

6. All keywords that drive traffic to a website can also be brought into this methodology to help you make better decisions as well.

7. This list could be expanded using the Google Suggest API.

8. This methodology helps you answer the fundamental question: how do users search for products on my website. It also may help you find quick wins, new keywords, new types of searches and what terms are most important to your site.

9. Rich’s favourite keyword tools bundle.

Rich flew through this a bit, but he will  make the slides available to allow you more time to let this digest.

Top tips from Lasse

1. We should still focus on the core, rather than doing things the fastest or doing things first.

2. Clients have three mindsets Purchase (6-8% of searchers) Consideration (10-15%) or Researching (60-80%). We need to bear this in mind.

3. You need a scalable strategy that takes into consideration pay-per-purchase intent. Brand is the core of the onion but there are a number of layers with consumer interests being the outer most layer.

4. ALWAYS defend your brand. It is worth investing because purchase intent is very high. Then expand into other keyword areas. Then conquer these new areas.

5. Come up with your own framework and plot where different keywords fit relative to ROI and CPO and figure out which keywords are of the highest value.

Top tips from Kev

1. 20-25% of Google queries have never been searched before… how are you going to optimise fort the long tail? It is still worth chasing becasue it makes up 94.3% of keywords (according to Hitwise data). Don’t miss out on the bigger picture.

Image via: SEOmoz

2. Quality of Long-tail traffic is better. Less competitive, lower cost and lesser risk.

3. Pick out popular themed keywords and expand your focus around these.

4. Use segments to separate out the long tail and monitor how this improves.

5. Use PPC data as a test! And make sure to look at the impression share column to estimate the true volume that might well be out there.

6. Never use just one tool make sure you use others to verify the results of the estimations that you’ve seen. Kev also mentioned checking out WordTracker’s Strategizer as well for longtail stuff.

7. If your budget allows you should definitely invest in Hitwise – they are great for longtail and market information and provides actual data (search volume numbers) since being updated.

8. Use Google Webmaster Tools to see click through rates (CTR) for individual words and specific to your market rather than relying on the guesses provided from some of the others!

9. Use Excel to predict that actual value of your traffic based upon the estimated avg. CPC. Try to integrate this with conversion data if you have Analytics data.

10. Much like Rich suggested you should also make sure you create keyword groups.

11. Don’t OVERTHINK it and go too long tail. The goal is not to rank first it is to maximise return for amount of effort.


Written By
Sam Crocker is SEO Associate Director at OMD UK. Sam focuses on increasing traffic and conversions for websites whilst always keeping his eye on a company’s bottom line.
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