At SMX West this year, the session “Keyword Research: Beyond the Ordinary” provided attendees with advanced strategies to implement while conducting keyword research for SEO optimization or PPC campaigns.
Christine Churchill of KeyRelevance.com spoke first in the session. She stressed the importance of thinking ahead of the game, and suggested that marketers create an “editorial calendar” to map out their future plans to create new pages or blog posts throughout the year. The editorial calendar will help you plot out your intended keyword targets, based on seasonality, projected trends, or the anticipated travel plans of your target audience. Churchill suggested using Google Hot Trends, Google Keyword Tool, Twitter Search, Yahoo Buzz, and Google Real Time Search to look for your target keywords by geographic market or even by a specific date range. The calendar will provide your PR or Marketing Department (or whichever individuals manage your website or blog copy) a clear keyword targeting plan and allow them to generate some great ideas for the core content ahead of time.
Taylor Pratt of Raven Internet Marketing Tools stressed the importance of using your existing analytics and traffic reports while composing your keyword research strategy. He suggested using Google Analytics to sort your existing keywords by bounce rate, number of exits, pageviews, goal tracking, and average time on the website. He also suggested an interesting tactic when reviewing the analytics to cut down on what he called “Keyword Bias”. When reviewing the analytical reports, black out the actual keyword and only look at the data points. Sometimes marketers get too focused on the actual keyword, and not at the pure data, and this can help you focus on what keywords will convert the best, rather than what you expect to be the best keywords.
Stoney deGeyter of Pole Positioning Marketing spoke next about your target audience playing a critical part of your keyword research process. He suggested that before starting keyword research, you clearly define who your audience is for the website, blog, or PPC campaign. Generate a list of everything you think your audience is interested in. What are their needs when using the internet to find hotels? How do they speak? What words are they using to find what they need? You can use Twitter Search or Google Real Time Search to find out words that users are using against your brand or geographical location. After you have generated a list of your target keyword phrases, deGeyter suggests that you break them down into the four segments of the consumer buying cycle: preliminary research, rate shopping, ready to buy, and seeking information. This will help you assign the proper keyword phrases to specific adgroups or organic landing pages.
Alex Cohen of ClickEquations also stressed the importance of understanding the target audience while compiling keyword research. He suggested that you get into the shoes of your searcher. A necessary part of SEO is to truly understand what the intent of the search user is. If you can understand their thought process and ultimate goal, you will have the largest chance of converting them into a buyer. He suggested downloading Microsoft Ad Intelligence Program´s Excel add-on tool. This tool will help you generate more keywords and search for more synonyms when you are compiling your keyword lists.
Cady Condyles from The Rimm-Kaufman Group and she offered detailed insight into keyword research for retail goods online. She also stressed the value of using social media tools to search for keyword trends or anticipate new keywords or user language for your brand in the future. She ended the session on a high note, stating the current advantage marketers have today with social media research tools giving us live time data about our brand or our target audience’s needs.
In conclusion, the Keyword Research: Beyond the Ordinary session was extremely informative on best practices when compiling your website, blog, or PPC keyword strategy. The speakers all shared the common ground that there are lots of sources available to us online to collect and analyze data. The key is organizing the keywords by the user´s intent / projected outcome, and assigning the keywords to the proper landing pages and relevant enticing content.
Christine Churchill, President, KeyRelevance.com
Alex Cohen, Senior Marketing Manager, ClickEquations
Cady Condyles, Director of Marketing, The Rimm-Kaufman Group
Stoney deGeyter, President, Pole Position Marketing
Taylor Pratt, Product Marketing Manager, Raven Internet Marketing Tools