Live from SES Chicago: "Advanced Keyword Research"

By Mark Browner | Oct 21, 2010
More Articles by Mark


In this session, Ron Jones, President and CEO of Symetri Internet Marketing, gave his insights into how to do successful keyword research. He started by stating that keyword research is strategic. By using keywords, we are setting or reinforcing the searcher’s expectations. And as marketers, we must deliver on those expectations. He then gave a formula for getting conversions.

Conversions= Right Keywords + Relevant Destination Content

Here’s how search queries tend to differ based on position in the buying cycle:

  1. Initial Research: Broad search terms means users are at the beginning of the buying cycle.
  2. Refine Search: Narrow search terms means they have done the research and are closer to converting.
  3. Content Research: Reviewing website content.
  4. Decision/Conversion

Keyword Research Process:

  1. Blue Sky: The sky is the limit.  Find all possible keyword ideas- you don’t want to leave anything out.
  2. Refine: Look at the large list and narrow it down to identify the best performing keywords.
  3. Categorize: Break down keywords into categories or themes. (This is especially important for paid search, because this will help build campaigns and ad groups).
  4. Testing: Test the effectiveness of keywords so you can find out early on what is/isn’t working.

Think Outside Your Own Industry: It is extremely important to understand your target audience. Speak the customer’s language rather than your own. They may use different words than you do, so you must get into the heads of the searchers.

Keyword Tools:

  • Google AdWords Keyword Tool
  • Keyword Discovery
  • Wordtracker
  • Wordstream
  • Forecast/Trend Tools (Google Traffic Estimator, Google Search Insights, Google Trends, Google Sets, MSN Keyword Forecast)

Competition: Analyze the competition and find out what they are doing. Look at what keywords they are going after and what they are trying to rank on. See what they are missing and take advantage of that opportunity.

Refine Keyword List: Take all of your keywords and weigh them by various factors such as popularity, relevance, specificity and competition.

How many terms should you target?

  • SEO- Think in groups of individual pages, 1-3 keywords per page. (If you have too many you delude the relevancy of the page per keyword).
  • PPC- Use as many as you want or can afford, but you still need to think in terms of ad groups.
  • Social Media- Think in terms of conversation themes.

When should you use negative keywords?

If you have adopted a…

  • Branding Strategy, then you may or may not want to use negative keywords.
  • Conversion Strategy, then use negative keywords so you can filter out people who do not convert.

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