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Keyword Research Advice from the SMX West 2012 Experts

Published: Feb 28, 2012

Keyword research is often thought of as one of the foundational steps of website development, and after your website has gone live, it’s never to be revisited again. On the contrary, the experts at SMX West 2012 advise that keyword research is never complete. In fact, it is to be practiced and fine tuned during the entire duration of a website being live. Below are tips on how make the most of ongoing keyword research.

  • First, understand the keyword research cycle. It consists of the 3 following stages.
    • Brainstorming and discovery – Develop a pool of new keywords that are relevant to your website
    • Keyword evaluation – Assign keywords to different pages on the site where they make the most sense
    • Keyword expansion – Look at different tools to gain insight (like trends and synonyms) on how your users search. Then incorporate those keywords into the website by updating metatags, body content, headers, etc. Finally, test, measure, and repeat.
  • Tips for Brainstorming and discovery
    • Do not limit yourself to one keyword research tool. Use a combination of following:
      • Google keyword tool – Google will provide you a longer list of results if you’re logged in. Also, make sure to check off exact match. If you are doing keyword research for mobile website, make sure you check off mobile devices.
    • Google Keyword Tool

      • Google Trends and Google Insights – These tools will show spikes in trends. For example, there will be high search volume not only for the day of an event, but also the anniversary date of that event. These tools are great for blogs.
      • Yahoo Clues – These demographic information. This is a good for social media pages.

    Yahoo Clues

    • Industry recommended paid tools for organic strategies include Word Tracker, WordStream, and Keyword Discovery.
  • Tips for Keyword Evaluation
    • Do not hold yourself back during the brainstorming session.
    • Later, organize all your keywords into different themes. Develop a keyword matrix. The variety of themes and the complexity of your matrix will determine how you should architect your website. It will also provide you insight on what keywords to include on each page.
  • Tips for Keyword Expansion
    • Once your website is live, use tools like Google Webmasters and Analytics to gain insight on user behavior. The query will be one of the follow three types:
      • Navigational terms occur when the user is searching, and is in the beginning stage of the buying cycle. They type in things like the brand name, like “Reebok”.
      • Informational terms occur when the user types in a question and a phrase, like “What is the cost of a Reebok shoe?” The user is close to converting.
      • Transactional terms occur when the user types in a verb and wants an action, like “Buy Reebok basketball shoe.” The user is ready to convert.
    • Look for variances of your original keywords and update metatags, descriptions and body content accordingly. For example, if the user enters transactional terms but lands on an informational page, you can increase the conversion value of that page by changing the keywords so to match more closely with the queries.

Keyword research never stops. In fact, it’s an essential tool to maintain the overall health, relevancy and conversion rate of your website. Look at a variety of analytic tools as well as examining how your users behave will provide you insight on how to best optimize your keyword.

Moderator: Debra Mastaler, President, Alliance-Link

Speakers:

Christine Churchill, President, KeyRelevance

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Contributed by Nelson Toriano, Sr. eStrategist

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